Kateryna Lahno – Women’s World Blitz champion

9/20/2010 – In its second edition in history, the Women's World Blitz championship took place from September 15-18. The final included players who had survived online qualifiers to the live semi-finals. In the end, Ukrainian GM Katerina Lahno, a known blitz specialist, overcame the women's elite and was hailed champion a round in advance. WGM Yana Melnikova provides a deeply illustrated report.

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Kateryna Lahno – Women’s World Blitz champion

By WGM Yana Melnikova

The Russian State Social University and the Moscow Chess Federation in co-operation with the Russian Chess Federation and under the aegis of FIDE organized the 2010 FIDE Women's World Blitz Championship from September 15 to September 18, 2010.

The final tournament was a double round-robin between the 16 finalists, for 30 rounds total, held September 17 and 18th.


The participants and dignitaries of the 2010 Women's World Blitz championship

The leader of the Ukrainian national team, grandmaster Kateryna Lahno (2539) was crowned the Women’s World blitz champion, after winning the event on Sunday in Moscow, taking home 10 thousand Euros for her efforts.


Kateryna Lahno with her winner's plaque

Lahno is well-known for her blitz skills, having won a tournament in Youzhy near Odessa at the age of fourteen, ahead of a strong field including GM Efimenko, Kruppa and others. In the world championship, she led throughout, and in the latter half maintained a two-point lead, securing gold with a round in advance, despite a 1.0/5 finish, and ended on 20.0/30.


Tatiana Kosintseva leap-frogged Valentina Gunina in the last round to take silver.

Russian Tatiana Kosintseva, who ended with one point less, took silver. This finish was actually very fortunate, since entering the last round, she trailed Muscovite Valentina Gunina with 18.0 to the latter’s 18.5, and faced tournament winner Lahno no less. However, Gunina ended up losing her game to Zhukova, while Lahno blundered into a mate in one, allowing Kosintseva to leap frog her rival and take clear second, and 8000 Euros. Valentina Gunina came third and took home 6000 Euros for her result. 


Valentina Gunina receiving a lovely basket of flowers along with her third place prize.

This particular event in Moscow is the first of its kind in recent history. The previous edition, the actual first in history, took place in 1992, and was won by ex-world champion Zsuzsa Polgar (Susan Polgar as she is known in the US).

The tournament’s prize fund was very generous, and one hopes that this will instigate a welcome tradition in female tournaments.

 
Recap of the first day of the Women's World Blitz finals.(video courtesy of Europe Echecs)

Final standings after 30 rounds


2010 champion, Kateryna Lahno, in action.


Nadezhda Kosintseva was also voted the FIDE Caissa Award
for 2009 Female Player of the Year after playing through 2009
without losing a single game!


Top-seed GM Humpy Koneru was unable to convert her Elo favoritism and finished 5th.


Vera Nebolsina, who had finished second in the qualifying stage, was the caboose
in the final.


Ukrainina IM Mariya Muzychuk


The playing hall with large displays to allow spectators to follow the non-stop action.


Players and dignitaries at the opening ceremony of the final.


The tournament arbiters


The tournament poster


French GM Marie Sebag


IM Irina Krush was unable to reproduce her form from the semi-finals
and finished on 12.0/30.


Nazi Paikidze


The Kosintseva sisters, Tatiana and Nadezhda, ranked 4th and
5th respectively in the world.


Valentina Gunina facing Vera Nebolsina


French champion Almira Skripchenko

Pictures By WGM Yana Melnikova and Vadim Zukov

About the photographer

WGM Yana Melnikova, Russia, is:

  • a graduate of the N. Bauman Moscow State Technical University, management faculty;
  • an organizers of chess events for the Moscow Chess Federation;
  • a member of German chess club Bad Konigshofen;
  • a Woman Grandmaster since 2005.

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