Euro Teams Women: Russia in front

by Macauley Peterson
11/3/2017 – The European Women's Team Championship tournament has familiar names at the top: Russia leads, but Georgia, Ukraine, Poland and Turkey are all close behind. Spanish board one Sabrina Vega was all smiles at the start of Round 5, and in fact held her opponent Alexandra Kosteniuk to a draw, but Russia took the match 3 : 1 to become the only team in either tournament with a perfect match record at the half. | Photo: www.euroteams2017.com

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Round 5

Russia are proving to be the favourites in the Women's tournament for good reason. Although they have not won their matches by overwhelming margins (all but one has been 2½ : 1½), they are the only team with the maximum 10 match points through five rounds in Crete. Kateryna Lagno has the best performance for Russia, scoring 4½ / 5. Russia has already beaten both Georgia and Ukraine and will face Poland in Round 6.

Alexandra Kosteniuk, coach Sergei Rublevsky, and Kateryna Lagno

Alexandra Kosteniuk, coach Sergei Rublevsky, and Kateryna Lagno | Photo: euroteams2017.com

In Round 5, Russia scored won by a larger margin 3 : 1 over Spain, putting and end to their impressive run of three wins and a tie with Poland. Lagno's queen showed off some dance moves to reel in a pawn and the point soon thereafter.

 

Play through the moves on the live diagram!

39.Qg6. With h3 looming Garcia tries to run 40.Kf1 but runs into 40...Qb1+ 41.Ke2 Qh1! White can take one h-pawn, but the other one will decide the game. 42.Nf3 Qxg2 43.Nxh4 Qg4+ 44.Nf3 h5 0-1

Among the teams trailing them, Georgia, Ukraine and Poland come as no surprise, being the next three teams by rating, however tenth seeded Turkey are overperforming. Their third board Kubra Ozturk stands out having played all five games and scoring 4½ points. In the fifth round she executed an almost textbook attack against her opponent's Benoni, as Black never got in any queenside counterplay. White quickly developed a promising position, and Kaps' hesitant 14...Qd8 is a novelty not likely to develop future adherents.

 

An ambitious setup against the Benoni

The topic of this 60 minute video clip is the major idea of the 8.h3 0-0 9.Bd3 line. It has not won much love among defenders of the Benoni - White players are coming dangerously close to realising the dream of squeezing the opponent.

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Turkish women Betul Yildiz Kubra Ozturk Cagil Arda

Turkish women Betul Yildiz, Kubra Ozturk and Cagil Arda | Photo: euroteams2017.com

One other player has a near-perfect 4½-½ score: Stavroula Tsolakidou from Greece. At an Elo of 2340 she is the top-ranked Greek woman, and number five in the world under-18. She upset Russia's Valentina Gunina in the first round and has been on a tear since. In Round 5, she had Serbia's Jovana Eric dead to rights in the middle game:

 

Black, in dire straits, played 28.Rxf2 which could have been most-crushingly refuted by 29.Bf6+ Kf8 30.Bxg5 threatening mate on h6, with the rook still hanging. Instead Tsolakidou's 29.Bd6+ Kd8 30.Kxf2 wasn't nearly as effective, although she still won 20 moves later — with mate on the board, no less!

Results for Round 5

Team MP Res. : Res. MP Team
Russia 8 3 : 1 7 Spain
Italy 6 2 : 2 7 Poland
Armenia 6 0 : 4 6 Georgia
Ukraine 6 3 : 1 6 France
Turkey 6 : 4 Slovenia
Romania 4 : 4 Germany
Israel 4 : 4 Azerbaijan
Belarus 4 3 : 1 4 Netherlands
Serbia 4 : 4 Greece 1
Hungary 4 : ½ 4 Lithuania
Croatia 3 2 : 2 4 Switzerland
Norway 3 0 : 4 3 Czech Republic
England 3 : 2 Slovakia
FYROM 2 2 : 2 2 Austria
Finland 2 2 : 2 1 Greece 2
Montenegro 0 1 : 3 1 Belgium

An ambitious setup against the Benoni

The topic of this 60 minute video clip is the major idea of the 8.h3 0-0 9.Bd3 line. It has not won much love among defenders of the Benoni - White players are coming dangerously close to realising the dream of squeezing the opponent.

More...


Current standings (Top 10)

Rk. Team  TB1 
1 Russia 10
2 Georgia 8
3 Ukraine 8
4 Poland 8
5 Turkey 8
6 Spain 7
7 Italy 7
8 Greece 1 6
9 Hungary 6
10 Belarus 6

All games (Rounds 1-5)

 

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Macauley is Editor in Chief of ChessBase News in Hamburg, Germany, and producer of The Full English Breakfast chess podcast. He was an Associate Producer of the 2016 feature documentary, Magnus.
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