It has started – the North Urals Cup 2008
The opening ceremony of the “North Urals Cup 2008” took place on Saturday,
the 26 of July 2008. The concert hall of Krasnoturinsk was full of warm emotions.
The organizers prepared a magnificent concert of local groups for participants
and the audience. Slide shows about Krasnoturinsk, the tournament and the wonderful
people living here were demonstrated on screens on both sides of the stage.
A presenter at teh openings ceremony
The drawing procedure took place during the ceremony. Participants had to choose
the box they liked most of all among those that were brought to the stage by
After their presentation the drummers organised the drawing of colours
Girls with curls: WGM Natalija Pogonina, Russia, and GM Antoaneta Stefanova,
The players were offered a choice of boxes with numbers corresponding to a place
in the tournament table. Here reigning Women's World Champion Xu Yuhua picks
... and gets the number two.
The Chief Arbiter of the tournament Ashot Vardapetyan announced the results.
They are as follows:
|Round 1: Sunday, July 27, 2008
| Anna Muzychuk
| Marie Sebag
| Antoaneta Stefanova
| Anna Ushenina
Russian player Natalija Pogonina was welcomed with a storm of applause. She
confessed without false modesty that her aim was to become the first in the
tournament. And that’s right! Every sportsman must aim at the best results.
Evidently other participants hold to the same opinion. And it means that we
are in front of exciting rounds, tense struggle and unpredictable results.
WGM Pogonina Natalija, Russia, rated 2469
The first press-conference of the tournament took place before the opening
ceremony. Except for Marie Sebag, who didn’t manage to come on time because
of some technical problems, all participants were present at the ceremony.
The press conference before the start of the event
The organizers of the tournament also took part in it. Among them are Anatoly
Sysoev (President of Sverdlovsk Chess Federation, Head of groups of companies
“SAVIAK” that is the General sponsor of the tournament); Andrey Selivanov (Vice-president
of the International Chess Federation FIDE); Alexander Levin (Head of the Administration
of the Sverdlovsk region Governor); Viktor Mikhel (Head of Krasnoturinsk); Ivan
Gramatik (Head of the Northern Administrative district) and Ashot Vardapetyan
(Chief Arbiter of the tournament, internationally certified arbiter).
A. Levin Head of the Administration of the Sverdlovsk region Governor, speaking
Alexander Levin was the first who took the floor. He said, “On behalf of the
Governor I greet all the organizers who managed to keep this wonderful tournament
at this difficult time. The 19 FIDE category is not the limit for the “North
Urals Cup” and we hope that once it will reach the highest 20 category”. Anatoly
Sysoev pointed out that this tournament contributed to the chess propaganda.
Andrey Selivanov informed, “This is the main super tournament of the year. A
lot of world leading chess players would like to participate in the “North Urals
Cup”. This tournament served as an example for many other countries. Now similar
competitions are held in Baku and Istanbul. The world championship will be soon
in Nalchik. I am sure that the future world champion is now sitting in this
Ivan Gramatik, GM Xu Yuhua, Viktor Mikhel, GM Koneru Humpy in the press
Viktor Mikhel shared his thoughts, “Always we tried to make Krasnoturinsk famous,
to demonstrate that our town is wonderful and people that live here are friendly.
Of course “North Urals Cup” contributes to it very much. Now Krasnoturinsk is
famous not only because of industrial victories but also victories on the chess
board. At last our town is famous all over the world. And if before somebody
made sometimes a mistake and pronounced the name as KrasnotUrinsk, now everybody
says it correctly KrasnoturInsk. “This tournament gave the great impulse to
the chess development in Sverdlovsk region”, noticed Ivan Gramatik.
Sverdlovsk region Governor Alexander Levin with GM Antoaneta Stefanova
Answering the question to play with whom men or women is more interesting Antoaneta
Stefanova, who takes part in great deal of men competitions, said that it was
easier to play with men. But at the same time she considers victories in women
tournaments her main achievements.
IM Anna Muzychuk, Slovenia, 2504
Anna Muzychuk who on the contrary mostly plays in women tournaments is of the
same opinion. Andrey Selivanov emphasized that he and Anatoly Sysoev decided
to create exactly women super tournament six years ago because there were just
a few chess competitions for women and this situation appeared to them extremely
unfair. Participants are glad to come to the hospitable Ural land again. “People
here are very friendly and the Ural is the place where I am so lucky”, said
the current world champion Xu Yuhua.
GM Pia Cramling, Sweden, rated 2544
Pia Cramling shared her impressions, “It’s my first time here. When I got the
proposal to participate in the “North Urals Cup” I didn’t hesitate at all and
agreed because it is the strongest women tournament in the world! It is indeed
the strongest women chess competition. We are surely in front of bright tournament.
And it started!
Top seed and second strongest female player in history:
GM Koneru Humpy, 21, India, currently rated 2622
Press contact: Anna Burtasova, Press-attache
of the “North Urals Cup 2008”
Email: Anna_burtasova(at)hotmail.com; Tel: +7-922-1462301 (Krasnoturinsk)
||25 July 2008
||Arrival of participants
||26 July 2008
||27 July 2008
||28 July 2008
||29 July 2008
||30 July 2008
||31 July 2008
||1 August 2008
||2 August 2008
||3 August 2008
||3 August 2008
||4 August 2008
||Departure of participants
90 minutes for the whole game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move,
starting from move one.
The North Urals Cup 2008 is being held in Krasnoturinsk. The city is located
in the north of Sverdlovsk area, 426 kms from the regional center Ekaterinburg
(Yekaterinburg). It is the cultural center of Northern Ural and the home of
a number of outstanding Russian scientists.
Aluminum plant in Krasnoturinsk (photo Kostya for Wikipedia)
Interview with World Champion Xu Yuhua
In 2006 Xu Yuhua became
the Women's World Champion. Xu, whose Chinese name is written 许昱华
許昱華, is 31 years old and a law graduate. She won the title
by beating Russian IM Alisa Galliamova in the final of the 64-player knockout
event. Xu Yuhua was three months pregnant at the time. The following interview
was conducted by Elena Golovushkina from the press centre “North Urals
Cup – 2008”.
It is not your first visit to the Urals. What are your impressions of
I like it very much here. I’ve been to Yekaterinburg, and it is my second
visit to Krasnoturinsk. The people here are very friendly. They radiate warmth
and kindness. I was very glad to see the people that I’ve already met
among the organizers.
In 2006 you became the world chess champion among women. What were your
impression of the victory?
I was very happy and proud of my country and people. It was one of the best
moments in my life. At that time I was going to become a mother, and the victory
at the Championship made me twice happier. But the time is passing by. And the
sky is the limit. I should move only forward.
In which large competitions did you take part after the World Championship?
In 2007 I took part in the European Club Championship held in Turkey. I played
for the Russia club AVS that became a runner-up. I enjoyed playing for this
club very much. I have good relations with my team mates and coaches. This year
at the Russian Club Championship I played for another Russian club Spartak,
Vidnoe. We also became runners-up but we should have become the champions. It
was my fault. I lost in a crucial game. But I hope that in the future I will
Share your feeling on the Women’s World Chess Championship in Nalchik
this August. How do you evaluate your chances to win?
I am not in the position to make predictions. I’d like only to say that
I will try to do my best and show the best chess but I don’t know what
the outcome will be. A lot has changed during the last two years. I have become
a mother. During a year I was taking care of my son and family. But now I am
coming back to chess.
In one of the interviews you mentioned that Anand is your idol in chess.
Do you have any idols among Russian chess players?
Among Russian chess players I like chess of Alexander Morozevich. He has a
lot of interesting and exciting games. Among women I’d like to mention
Alexandra Kosteniuk. In 2001 I played her in a semi-final of the World Championship.
She is a very strong player. I know that she is in a similar position. After
birth of her child she is gradually coming back to chess. In general, intelligence,
excellent tactics and persistence are characteristic features of Russian chess
This November the Chess Olympiad will be held in Dresden. Are you going
to participate in it?
I am not sure that I’ll go there. The time will show. But in general,
regardless of the fact whether I will take part in it or not, the Chinese team
has very good chances to win.
In 2005 you already took part in the tournament “North Urals Cup”.
Describe your impressions of that tournament.
I enjoyed the competition very much. Last year I was taking care of my little
son, and it prevented me from visiting you hospitable town. That is why I was
very happy to get an opportunity to come here again.
And the last thing, please share with your fans what we can expect of
the tournament “North Urals Cup 2008”?
It is impossible to predict the course of events. I think the players will
play interesting and tense chess. As for me, I will try to play excellent chess,
and make my fans happy.