1st FIDE World Online Women Blitz Ch.

by Alina l'Ami
12/1/2015 – Flying in from all over the world, the top female online blitz players came to Rome, Italy to fight for the final prize: the title of the First FIDE World Online Women Blitz Championship (Gesundheit!). At stake was also a top prize of US$3000, with names such as Harika Dronavalli, who took gold, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and more. Illustrated report by Alina L'Ami.

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If we think of chess as a permanent search for perfection, the longer the time control the better. But in our day by day busy life we frequently need just a bit of entertainment for which one could hardly find anything better suited than blitz games. Drawing a parallel between these extreme ways of playing our game, not to mention bullet chess, classical chess offers the highest intellectual fulfilment whereas in blitz sporting factors prevail, including automatism, reflexes, intuition and last but not least: strong nerves.

We have a further division even in the relatively narrow world of blitz. We can do it in the classical way, sitting in front of our opponent, with the possibility of making all kinds of amusing comments if it is just a friendly match or reaching a deep level of concentration if it is a tournament game. But the advance of technology made possible another form of blitz play, doubtlessly the most popular nowadays: internet games. Online games allow people from different countries and continents to meet and practice their favorite game and communicating through our common chess language in the true spirit of FIDE’s logo - Gens Una Sumus.

Final check-ups for the competition: Mouse-checked! Wifi-checked!; Headphones-checked!;
Good moves - that remains to be seen...

The 1st FIDE World Online Women Blitz Championship featured a combination of several elements mentioned above. It gathered together for official competition many players spread over a wide geographical area, with attractive prizes at stake, so no wonder that more than 300 participants from 39 countries gave it a shot. The eight qualifying groups offered the access to the semifinal, from which eight players moved on to the final, including two wild cards from FIDE and WOM, the FIDE Women Commission.

Finalists from India and USA flew over only for this special day and enjoyed it a lot, as they
shared in the closing ceremony interviews

Only Padmini Rout was unlucky with a missed flight connection, which made her online task
more difficult...her fighting and uncompromising playing style remained intact though!

Online and Live final in the exclusive Circolo Canottieri Aniene, Rome

Since “all the qualifiers lead to Rome”, the final took place in the eternal capital, while also maintaining the online character of the competition. Indeed, all the games took place in Rome but the opponents were making their moves on a computer screen instead of sitting against their opponents with a 3D board between them.

For most players, a very good mouse is a must...

...not for everyone though! Adriana Nikolova prefers her touch-pad; she also felt that headphones
would be in the way.

Movie time?! Sorry to disappoint but it is just the sound check-up...

The fight for the medals mainly involved the following players (in the order of their final position): Harika Dronavalli (handle Elegance on the online Arena platform, 13,5 points), Nana Dzagnidze (nanuchka, also 13,5 points but with an inferior tie-break) and Alexandra Kosteniuk (AlexandraK 12 points).

Final Standings

For the handles where it is not quite clear which players were behind, here is a guide:

  • Elegance – Harika Dronavalli
  • nanuka – Nana Dzagnidze
  • Fenyx1989 – Valentina Gunina
  • Olghita – Olga Zimina
  • nejashka – Irina Vasilevich
  • torpedo_88 – Adriana Nikolova

Prizes

Final rank
Prize
1st
3000 USD
2nd
2000 USD
3rd
1000 USD
4th
750 USD
5th
550 USD
6th
500 USD
7th
400 USD
8th
400 USD
9th
200 USD
10th
200 USD

The 1st Women World Online Blitz Champion!

The winner wasn't the only one in good spirits

In the first half of the competition, Nana Dzagnidze was in the lead, but had to face the assault of the champion while Alexandra Kosteniuk's high performance could have been predicted after having defeated in blitz the likes of Carlsen and Kramnik.

Nana Dzagnidze loves Rome and Rome loves her back! She shared first with 13.5/18 but with
a slightly inferior tie-break. The direct match against Harika was equal, with two decisive games.

The bronze medalist – Alexandra Kosteniuk

And here are two examples (because it is not all about blunders or who makes the last mistake in blitz) from the very much coveted World Online Blitz title:

Fenyx1989 – Gvetadze

I liked a lot Gunina's aggressive approach in this position: 19. g4! b4
20.axb4 Bxb4 21.g5!
With a crushing attack and indeed, White won a
couple of moves later. 1-0

Padmini – AlexandraK

16...Bxh3! is a beautiful way to exploit the white king, who didn't
survive for long after 17.gxh3 Re8 0-1

Tough matches but chess is fun nonetheless!

There was almost no time between the games, which were played at a non-stop pace. And
still...the best way to “relax” was to follow the other games, either on the laptop screen or...

...on the live projected board from the tournament hall...

...as most of the players and the audience did. The renowned Blitz player, Valentina Gunina, made
it hard for herself to win the event after a less fortunate start of the tournament and finished fourth.

A good event for the local star, the Italian IM Olga Zimina, who finished fifth

The winner of the 1st FIDE World Online Women Blitz Championship, Harika Dronavalli confessed during a short interview she explained she had traveled all the way from India for just one day without any special expectations apart from enjoying the games and... dedicating a few hours to visiting Rome!

Her favorite online time control is three minutes flat, but apparently the two-second increment in Rome worked out quite well for her. Harika's chess motto is: "When winning: never ever relax! When losing: never ever give up!" However, it has been quite a while since she had won a title so she is particularly happy to win this one.

Harika is a hard worker, dedicating to chess 6-7 hours a day. "I don't have any other job so I should better work on chess!" For more insight into Harika's chess world, you may want to have a look at the recent interview.

If you thought four hours of blitz was more than enough, professional players would disagree

More games in the after party!

A special event with online kibitzers....

...and live kibitzers!

But what strikes most through its revolutionary character is the fact that the 1st FIDE World Online Women Blitz Championship is the first sport online event ever recognized by the Olympic Committee, with  the respective assigning of  a World Title!

Taking all this into account the championship is a milestone in chess and sports  history, making the presence of many officials headed by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov no surprise.

It happened that the FIDE President was kibitzing the games of the World Online Women Blitz Champion!

To many readers there may remain just one question of principle, though: why was it necessary to gather the finalists together if there was an online championship anyway? First of all, the organizers wanted to mark this historic moment, offering the media's full and direct access to the event. Moreover, many players (including the winner) confessed they felt safer knowing that even that infinitesimal risk of cheating was eliminated.

The elegant Elegance!

And finally, how else could we convince ourselves that there could hardly be a better handle to describe the player than Harika's "Elegance".

All games in PGN



Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.
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daftarche daftarche 12/2/2015 11:36
what is the point? if i can play chess with my opponent in real life, i never play online. i never lose the real experience.
Philip Feeley Philip Feeley 12/1/2015 01:48
Great report. Is there a men's online blitz championship?
eltollo eltollo 12/1/2015 01:25
It seems weird to play online against a person sitting opposite to you.
Denix Denix 12/1/2015 06:42
Beautiful report!
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