Atatürk Istanbul: double victory for Turkish ladies

3/16/2008 – Betül Cemre Yildiz, 18-year-old Turkish talent, had a single draw in the first four rounds of the women's super-tournament in Turkey. In round five she scored an attacking win against IM Irina Krush of the US. Meanwhile IM Ekaterina Atalik, Turkey's strongest female player, defeated Ukrainian IM Anna Ushenina. Celebrations all around in Istanbul. Round five report.

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İş Bankası - Atatürk International Women Masters Chess Tournament

The tournament, announced in December last year, will take place from March 10th (arrival) to March 21 (departure) 2008. The venue is the İş Bankası Towers Complex, which has a total area of 225,000 square meters. It is the largest of its kind on the European continent. Games start at 14:30h local time (= GMT +2h). March 19 is a free day. The games are being broadcast on Playchess.com.

Round five report

Ti. Name Rtg
Res.
Ti. Name Rtg
IM JAVAKHISHVILI Lela 2470
½-½
GM CHEN Zhu 2548
IM USHENINA Anna 2484
0-1
IM ATALIK Ekaterina 2408
WIM YILDIZ Betul Cemre 2207
1-0
IM KRUSH Irina 2473
GM CRAMLING Pia 2524
1-0
IM DRONAVALLI Harika 2455
WGM YIFAN Hou 2527
½-½
WGM XUE Zhao 2517

Zhu Chen scored her first half-point today, in a game where she was under tremendous pressure from her Georgian opponent Lela Javakhishvili.


Former women's world champion Zhu Chen ended a terrible streak in round five


Unable to convert her advantage: Georgian IM Lela Javakhishvili


GM Pia Cramling in her game against Indian WGM Harika

Cramling,Pia - Dronavalli,Harika
Isbank Ataturk Women Masters Istanbul (5), 15.03.2008
Notes by Özgür Akman, based on a Playchess interview with Pia Cramling

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 c5 8.Be3 Qa5 9.Bd2 0-0. Another possibility is 9...cxd4 10.cxd4 Qd8. 10.Be2 cxd4 11.cxd4 Qd8 12.Rc1. Another well-known path shown by Pia Cramling during the press conference on Playchess is: 12.Be3 Qa5+ 13.Qd2 Qxd2+ 14.Kxd2 Rd8. A further possibility is sacrificing the exchange and playing with active minor pieces and holes on dark squares for Black: 12.d5 Bxa1.

12...Bg4. 12...Bxd4 does not work due to 13.Rxc8 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxc8 15.Qa1. While the black pieces are yet to be developed White's men are ready to start attacking. We did not even mention the material balance for White.

13.d5 Nd7 14.h3 Bxf3 15.Bxf3 Rc8 16.0-0 Rxc1 17.Qxc1 f5 18.exf5 Ne5. 18...gxf5 would not be that good since white would easily make her own two bishops work efficiently. 19.d6 exd6 20.Bxb7. White has to keep her two bishops, intending to transfer her bishop to the a2-g8 diagonal.

19.Bd1 gxf5. 19...Qxd5 of course fails to 20.Bb3. A better way to continue would be getting the rook in the play and placing the knight at f7 blocking the vital diagonal and later transferring the knight to d6. 19...Rxf5 20.Bb3 Nf7

20.Bb3. 20.Qa3 Nc4.

20...Qd6? This is a decisive mistake on black's part. In the post-mortem black showed she was afraid of 20...Kh8 21.Bc3 Qd6 22.Re1 Rc8 23.Qe3 Nf3+ 24.Qxf3 Rxc3 (24...Bxc3 25.Re6) 25.Qxf5 and White has the upper hand, but it is still less evil than the game.

21.Bf4 Qf6. 21...Qg6 22.Qe3 Nf7 23.Qxe7. 22.Bg5. Another path to the victory for White would be 22.Bxe5 Qxe5 23.Re1 Qd6 24.Re6 Qd8 25.Rxe7. 22...Qd6. 22...Qg6 23.Bxe7 Nf3+ 24.Kh1 would not make much difference. 23.Bxe7 Qxe7 24.d6+ 1-0. [Click to replay]


WGM Harika Dronavalli, who lost in round five to Pia Cramling


Turkey's top female player Ekaterina Atalik in her game against IM Anna Ushenina

Ushenina,Anna - Atalik,Ekaterina
Isbank Ataturk Women Masters Istanbul (5), 15.03.2008
Notes by Özgür Akman

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.Qe2 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.0-0 0-0 8.d3 d6 9.c3 h6 10.Rd1 Re8 11.h3 Bb6 12.Nbd2 Be6. In this position Black has an easy game, since Nh5-Nf4 is perfectly possible. Our silicon friends say exchanging the bishop is a better way to continue, but nevertheless it is difficult for White to play d4 here and play for the centre. Apparently, there does not seem to be a very good and effective manoeuvre in the closed position.

13.Bc2 Nh5 14.Nf1 Qf6 15.N3h2 Ne7 16.Qf3 Nf4 17.Bxf4 exf4 18.a4 Ng6 19.d4 Qg5. Now Black has even better position, very close to winning a pawn after Nh4. White tries to make it difficult for Black to achieve more.

20.Qd3 Nh4 21.g4 fxg3 22.Qxg3 Bxh3 23.Ne3 Be6 24.Nhg4 Ng6 25.axb5 axb5 26.Rxa8 Rxa8 27.Nf5 Re8 28.Bd3 Bd7 29.Kf1 d5 30.f3 dxe4 31.fxe4 Bxf5 32.exf5 Nh4 33.Kf2 Nxf5 34.Nxh6+ Qxh6 35.Bxf5 Qf6 36.Qf3 b4 37.Rh1 g6 38.Bd3 Qxf3+ 39.Kxf3 bxc3 40.bxc3 Kg7 41.Bb5 Ra8 42.Ke4 f5+ 43.Kd5 Rd8+ 44.Ke5 c5 45.dxc5 Bxc5 46.Bc6 Bf2 47.Rh3 Bb6 48.Bd5 Bc7+ 49.Kd4 Bb6+ 50.Ke5 Re8+ 51.Kd6 Kf6 52.c4 Be3 53.Rh7.

53...f4. According to GM Viktor Bologan, who was following the game with us at this point, this is not most the accurate plan here, since Black should place the connected passed pawns on light squares. 53...Rf8 54.Rd7 with the idea of advancing c pawn since (the immediate 54.c5 fails to 54...Rd8+ 55.Kc6 Rc8+ 56.Rc7 Rxc7+ 57.Kxc7 Bxc5) 54...g5 55.c5 Bf4+ 56.Kc6 g4 would be one way to continue following the advice in this position.

54.Rd7. Nevertheless Black finds a way to advance her connected passed pawns and win her third game in the tournament. 54...Rc8 55.Rf7+ Kg5 56.Kd7 Rb8 57.Kc7 Rb6 58.Re7 Rf6 59.Bf3 Kh4 60.Re5 g5 61.c5 g4 62.Bd1 Bxc5. Black can now sacrifice her bishop for the pawn, since her pawns are sufficiently advanced, her king is very active and supporting those pawns together with the rook, while the white king is misplaced away from the heat of the battle. 63.Rxc5 f3 64.Rc4 Kg3 65.Kd7. 65.Rc3 Kh2 66.Rc2+ Kh3 67.Rf2 Kg3 should be easily winning for Black. 65...Rf4 66.Rc1 f2 67.Be2 Re4 68.Bb5 Re1 69.Rc3+ Kh4 70.Kd6 f1Q 71.Bxf1 Rxf1 72.Ke5 g3 73.Rc2 Kh3 74.Ke4 0-1. [Click to replay]


IM Anna Ushenina of Ukraine


Turkish talent Betul Cemre Yildiz, 18, who won her first game in this tournament

Yildiz,Betul Cemre (2207) - Krush,Irina (2473)
Isbank Ataturk Women Masters Istanbul (5), 14.03.2008
Notes by Özgür Akman after Playchess discussions with the players

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Re1 0-0 7.h3 d5 8.e5 Ne8. One of the basic routes for the knight in this variation is e8-c7-e6. 9.d4 c4 10.b3 cxb3 11.axb3 Nc7 12.Bf1.

This position seems to be equal, but Black's pieces are more reserved. In the positions when black bishop on g7 is controlled by the central pawn chain ending on e5, White generally has a slight advantage.

12...b5 13.Be3 a5 14.Nbd2 Ba6 15.h4 Ne6 16.h5 Qc7 17.g3 Rfd8 18.hxg6. 18.h6 is another way to continue the game. Still White would have retained some advantage, but the text is also quite logical.

18...hxg6 19.Bh3. Betül says here that she is already planning to play on h-file. Black is definitely going to play on the queen side, fixing the pawns by playing b4 and looking for holes. 19...Bc8 20.Kg2. With the intentions on playing on the h-file. 20...b4 21.cxb4 Nxb4 22.Rc1 Qb7 23.Rh1 Bd7 24.Qg1 f6 25.Bxe6+. 25.Nh4 would be another way to continue the game, but getting rid of the bishop and removing some defensive pieces is quite logical way to continue.]

25...Bxe6 26.Bh6 Kf7. Another option would be keeping the white bishop in the path of heavy pieces but it does not seem to bring happiness to Black: 26...Bh8 27.Qh2 Kf7 28.exf6 exf6 29.Bf4. Both the open h-file and ideas like Rc7 are very dangerous for Black.

27.Ng5+! A spectacular sacrifice, not objectively winning according to the computer, but nevertheless difficult to refute on board. 27...fxg5 28.Nf3 Bxh6. This seems to be the only defence. If the second knight comes to g5 then Black's king would be in a big trouble. Therefore, Black should find a way to prevent this. Giving back the extra piece looks like the only logical way to do it. 28...Bf6!! 29.exf6 exf6 30.Bxg5 Rh8. 29.Rxh6

29...Ra6. This seems to be the decisive mistake. Computers suggest a better defence here might be 29...Qb6 30.Nxg5+ Ke8. However, White can still maintain the initiative and the upper hand. 31.Qh2. This is a multi-task move, getting the queen into the play. The queen is now supporting the rook on h file and the idea is that White can capture g6 pawn without having to worry about discovered checks on h3. (31.Rc5 Nd3 32.Rc3 Bf5 33.Rh8+ Kd7 34.e6+ Bxe6 35.Rxd8+ Rxd8 36.Rxd3 Bf5) 31...Kd7 32.Rxg6 Rh8 (32...Bh3+ 33.Qxh3+) 33.Rh6 Rxh6 34.Qxh6;
29...Kg7 30.Nxg5 Kxh6 31.Qh2+ Kg7 32.Qh7+

30.Qh2 Rg8.. 30...Ke8 and trying to escape does not save the game either: 31.Nxg5 Bg4 the other moves fail to Qh3 (31...Rc6 32.Nxe6 Rxe6 33.Qh3; 31...Nd3 32.Nxe6 Rxe6 33.Qh3) 32.Qh4 Bf5 33.g4 Be4+ 34.f3 and now e6 is coming so Black has huge problems.

31.Rh8 Ke8 32.Nxg5 Rxh8 33.Qxh8+ Kd7 34.Nh7. Now there is no accurate defense against the devastating check on f8:

34...Rc6. 34...Ra8 fails to 35.Nf6+ exf6 36.Qg7+ and the black queen falls. 35.Nf8+ Kc7 36.Nxe6+ Kb6 37.Qd8+. An inspired attack by the Turkish player against a much higher rated opponent. 1-0. [Click to replay]


Her first loss, in round five: IM Irina Krush of USA

Standings after five rounds


Picture Gallery


Chinese junior Hou Yifan, who is feeling a bit ill and exhaused


Obviously not quite herself, Hou Yifan plays her round five game...


... which she draws against her compatriot Xue Zhao


Afterwards the two analyse in the press center


GM Viktor Bologan, trainer of Zhu Chen, gives his opinion to the Chinese girls


Bologan follows the analysis of his charge Zhu Chen with Lela Javakhashvili


Irina Krush checks out the latest news on her notebook


Later in the evening a meeting of two high-level Turkish Chess Federation board members: Ali Nihat Yazici, President, from Ankara, and Ferit Çömez, industrialist and sponsor, from Izmir


A night-time view from the playing hall that towers over the city of Istanbul


The venue is at the top – the 41st floor – of the İş Bankası Tower


A dinner is arranged for us at a seaside restaurant


The choice of fresh fish from the Bosporus is mind-boggling


The main course is fish baked in a heavy salt crust that is flambéed before serving


The salt crust has to be chiseled open by the head waiter


Late night dinner with Ali Nihat, Ferit and TCF board member Özgür Solakoglu, national team manager

Pictures Özgür Akman and Frederic Friedel in Istanbul

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