Saturday, June 5th, 2004 – She won the first two games of the Women's World Championship convincingly, and needed only a draw in this four-game match (not six games, as we previously reported) to clinch the title. But Antoaneta Stefanova, top Bulgarian female player, found herself a pawn down in the third game against WGM Ekaterina Kovalevskaya of Russia.
For a long time it looked, to spectators on the Internet, as though the 30-year-old Russian would win the game and come in striking distance of her 25-year-old opponent. However Stefanova defended very tenaciously and with a lot of imagination, and on move 48 won the pawn back with an advantageous position. Three moves later Kovalevskaya realised that she had no chances left of winning and a draw was agreed between the players.
The final battle for the Women's World Championship in Elista
This means that Antoaneta Stefanova, the charming and charismatic player from Bulgaria, is the new women's world champion. Congratulations to Antoaneta, who incidentally has been very well known to the ChessBase since June 2002. At that time she won the European Women's Championship with the incredible score of 9 points in 11 games, which translated to a performance of 2671 Elo. Who can forget the video interview with "Etti" Stefanova, produced by Almira Skripchenko for ChessBase Magazine 80, entitled "Girls, girls, girls".
After the game and match were over Stefanova said she did not yet fully understand what had happened to her. "Maybe I will understand this tomorrow, or even later. For the moment I only know that I have won the final match."
She gave a lot of the credit to her father, who was her first chess coach. "I can say that he has played a great role in winning the World Champion’s Crown as well."
Her second Vladimir Georgiev was also vital to her success. "Vladimir helped me not only theoretically, but he was the one to whom I talked to during the whole period of the championship, and he also always supported me as a friend. Fifteen days is a long period of time and it is not possible to survive this all on your own."
The games for the Women's World Championship were covered live on the FIDE web site, where you can also find great pictures, reports of the entire event, and analysis by GM Yuri Yakovich of the final game. The pictures on this page are brought to you by courtesy of FIDE.
Vice champion Ekaterina Kovalevskaya
A bird's eye view of the women's world championship final
The winner in deep thought during the game