Europe's rapid and blitz champs: Muzychuk and Kosteniuk

by André Schulz
10/28/2017 – Last weekend, in Monte-Carlo, the European Women's Rapid Chess Championship was held. Anna Muzychuk, already World Champion in this discipline, won. The Blitz Championship followed, and there the Russian Chess Federation celebrated a threefold success as Alexandra Kosteniuk, Kateryna Lagno and Valentina Gunina finished in the top three spots. | Photo: Nadja Wittman

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Rapid and blitz in Monte Carlo

Monaco was host to the European ACP Women's Rapid and Blitz Championships, played between October 20th and 24th at the Novotel Hotel in Monaco. The rapid competition saw the participation of 91 women, a bit more than completed the blitz 77. The favorite in both disciplines was the current World Rapid and Blitz champ, Anna Muzychuk (rapid Elo 2594 and blitz 2663), of Ukraine, followed closely by the former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk (rapid Elo 2612 and bitz 2477), of Russia.

Other notable grandmaster names included the former European Champion Valentina Gunina, Kateryna Lagno, former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova and current European Champion Nana Dzagnidze.

Almost a stone's throw from the Mediterranean Sea

The tournament was held under the auspices of the European Chess Union (ECU), however the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) increased the prize fund by € 5,000 (euro) and thus became the main sponsor of the championship. And there's a catch — only premium members (annual dues of € 100) of the ACP (functioning a bit like a players union) could benefit from the extra prize money.

The rapid tournament, including the ACP bonus yielded the following top three prizes:

1st prize: € 2,000 
2nd prize: € 1,400 
3rd prize: € 1,000 

The blitz tournament meanwhile had a prize fund of € 5,800 euro, with € 1,250 for the first place.

Muzychuk's moment

Tournament logo

Muzychuk's impressive final tally in the rapid was 9 points out of 11 games, played at a rate of 15 minutes plus 10 seconds per move for the whole game. The Ukrainian gave up four draws, against Almira Skripchenko, Marie Sebag, Monika Socko and Olga Girya — three of them coming in a row in the middle of the tournament. As a result, after the fourth draw in the 7th round, she had fallen back as far as eighth place. Valentina Gunina had leaped out to a lead with 6½ from 7 after winning her first five games. Natalia Pogonina followed with 6 points.

Alexandra Kosteniuk, started poorly. After dropping a half point against WGM Pauline Guichard in the second round, she then then lost in very direct fashion to the young and little known Estonian WIM Mai Narva, in the third round. After a further draw against Andreea-Cristiana Navrotescu and with that, Kosteniuk was already far behind in the race for the title.

Expect to hear more about Mai Narva in the near future. The 18-year-old was the U16 European champion in 2016 and won the Estonian Women's Championships in 2014, 2016 and 2017. She is now the best player in her country. Her father is a FIDE master, her mother a correspondence chess Grandmaster. Other prominent victims of Narva in Monaco were Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant and Alina Kashlinskaya. Narva finished in 20th position.

Behind Anna Muzychuk, Kateryna Lagno was second a half point back. Russian rising star Aleksandra Gorychkina, with 8 points, finished third ahead of against Pauline Guichard and Alexandra Kosteniuk. For Frenchwoman Guichard, whose starting rank put her at number 24, this is a raid success.

Standings after 11 rounds (top 40)

1
 
GM Muzychuk Anna 2594 UKR 9,0
2
 
GM Lagno Kateryna 2577 RUS 8,5
3
 
WGM Goryachkina Aleksandra 2462 RUS 8,0
4
 
WGM Guichard Pauline 2285 FRA 8,0
5
 
GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2612 RUS 8,0
6
 
GM Socko Monika 2390 POL 7,5
7
 
WGM Pogonina Natalija 2447 RUS 7,5
8
 
IM Savina Anastasia 2376 RUS 7,5
9
 
WGM Girya Olga 2405 RUS 7,5
10
 
IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2457 GER 7,5
11
 
WGM Kulon Klaudia 2296 POL 7,5
12
 
WFM Gvanceladze Anna 2225 RUS 7,5
13
 
GM Gunina Valentina 2577 RUS 7,0
14
 
IM Skripchenko Almira 2423 FRA 7,0
15
 
GM Dzagnidze Nana 2528 GEO 7,0
16
 
GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2536 ECX 7,0
17
 
IM Gaponenko Inna 2383 UKR 7,0
18
 
IM Milliet Sophie 2375 FRA 7,0
19
 
WIM Navrotescu Andreea-Cristiana 2130 FRA 7,0
20
 
WIM Narva Mai 2155 EST 7,0
21
 
IM Collas Silvia 2269 FRA 7,0
22
 
WIM Boric Elena 2236 BIH 7,0
23
 
GM Sebag Marie 2452 FRA 6,5
24
 
WGM Dornbusch Tatiana 2302 MNC 6,5
25
 
IM Cornette Deimante 2310 LTU 6,5
26
 
WGM Maisuradze Nino 2287 FRA 6,5
27
 
WFM Haussernot Cecile 2254 FRA 6,5
28
 
WGM Leconte Maria 2196 FRA 6,5
29
 
  Ivanova Tatiana 2078 RUS 6,5
30
 
WGM Srebrnic Ana 2143 SLO 6,5
31
 
IM Kashlinskaya Alina 2385 RUS 6,0
32
 
IM Szczepkowska Karina 2271 POL 6,0
33
 
GM Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan 2437 SCO 6,0
34
 
  Shivacheva Donika 1746 ECX 6,0
35
 
WCM Pribylova Sofie 1968 CZE 6,0
36
 
  Kolba Anastasiya 2011 UKR 6,0
37
 
WIM Zvereva Marija 2159 RUS 6,0
38
 
WGM Agababean Naira 2161 MDA 6,0
39
 
WFM Choisy Mathilde 2162 FRA 6,0
40
 
  Muetsch Annmarie 2118 GER 6,0

...91 players

All games

 

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Kosteniuk tops Russian blitz trio

Alexandra Kosteniuk was the top seed in the Rapid category, yet Anna Muzychuk won. The Blitz Championship reversed the roles. Anna Muzychuk was the Elo favorite, by some distance, ahead of Kateryna Lahno. Kosteniuk was ranked just seventh, and yet she won the title.

This time it was a 13 rounds Swiss (just two more than the rapid competition) played at a rate of 3 minutes plus 2 seconds per move for each game. The top places went to the troika of Russian champions Alexandra Kosteniuk, Kateryna Lagano and Valentina Gunina.

Kosteniuk took 10½ out of 13 possible points and only dropped a single game.

Video highlights

Final Standings

Rg. Name Pkt.  Wtg1 
1 Kosteniuk Alexandra 10,5 91,5
2 Lagno Kateryna 10,0 92,0
3 Gunina Valentina 9,5 97,0
4 Haussernot Cecile 9,0 96,5
5 Paehtz Elisabeth 9,0 87,5
6 Dzagnidze Nana 8,5 93,0
7 Stefanova Antoaneta 8,5 90,5
8 Gaponenko Inna 8,5 89,5
9 Sebag Marie 8,5 88,5
10 Kulon Klaudia 8,5 88,0
11 Kashlinskaya Alina 8,5 85,5
12 Turova Irina 8,5 82,5
13 Goryachkina Aleksandra 8,5 82,0
14 Srebrnic Ana 8,5 76,5
15 Muzychuk Anna 8,0 92,5
16 Savina Anastasia 8,0 89,5
17 Szczepkowska Karina 8,0 88,0
18 Skripchenko Almira 7,5 90,5
19 Collas Silvia 7,5 87,0
20 Pogonina Natalija 7,5 86,5
21 Girya Olga 7,5 86,0
22 Milliet Sophie 7,5 84,5
23 Leconte Maria 7,5 84,0
24 Narva Mai 7,5 84,0
25 Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan 7,5 81,0
26 Cornette Deimante 7,5 77,5
27 Navrotescu Andreea-Cristiana 7,5 73,0
28 Socko Monika 7,0 88,0
29 Cramling Pia 7,0 84,0
30 Maisuradze Nino 7,0 81,0
31 Narva Triin 7,0 77,5
32 Dornbusch Tatiana 7,0 75,5
33 Gvanceladze Anna 7,0 75,5
34 Zvereva Marija 7,0 74,0
35 Froewis Annika 7,0 70,5
36 Doluhanova Evgeniya 6,5 86,0
37 Sirotkina Nina 6,5 82,5
38 Muetsch Annmarie 6,5 80,0
39 Soubirou Oriane 6,5 77,0
40 Lomandong Noela-Joyce 6,5 73,0
41 Agababean Naira 6,5 70,0
42 Dengler Dijana 6,5 66,5

All games

 

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Live commentary


Translation from German: Macauley Peterson

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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genem genem 10/29/2017 11:15
Anna Muzychuk continues to prove she is as strong as any of her competitors. Alexandra Kosteniuk continues adding successes to her already stellar career.
Justjeff Justjeff 10/28/2017 05:53
It took me a while to realize that "Elisabeth Pähtz was tithe" meant she finished in tenth place.

In English, "tithe" refers to the old custom of giving one-tenth of one's income to the local church.
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