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Nalchik: most favourites through, Zhukova, Sachdev falter

9/1/2008 – Most of the top seeds in the Women's World Championship won their round one matches without much difficulty, with a few long struggles (Elisabeth Paehtz squeaked through in the fifth tie-break game) and a few shockers (13th seed Natalia Zhukova was knocked out by 52nd seed Katerine Rohonyan). We bring you a big pictorial report and some new dramatic Armageddon footage.
 


The Women's World Championship 2008 is taking place from August 28th to September 18th in Nalchik, in the Kabardino-Balkaria region of Russia. 64 players were eligible to play in the knock-out event, which has a prize fund of US $450,000. Due to the tensions in the region the Georgian players and a few others decided not to participate.

Round one report

Most of the top seeds went through without too much difficulty, which is not surprising, since the strongest are pitted against the weakest in the first round. The shocker was the elimination of 13th seed WGM Natalia Zhukova of Ukraine, rated 2489. She lost int the rapid chess tiebreak games to 52nd seed, US WGM Katerine Rohonyan, rated 2321. Another upset was the elimination of Indian Women's Champion IM Tania Sachdev, 28th seed rated at 2432, by Chinese player Zongyi Tan, who is untitled but sports a 2387 rating. Similarly WGM Natasa Bojkovic of Serbia, rated 2423, was knocked out in the tiebreak games by untitled Wenjun Ju of China, rated 2389.


Down and out: 13th seed WGM Natalia Zhukova (left) against WGM Katerine Rohonyan


Untitled Chinese player Wenjun Ju, 2389, eliminated WGM Natasa Bojkovic, 2423


What a pity – out in round one: Indian Champion Tania Sachdev

Other strong players who dropped out of the Championship were WGM Natasa Bojkovic, SRB, 2423; IM Iweta Rajlich, POL, 2417; IM Eva Moser, AUT, 2383; IM Ketino Kachiani-Gersinska, GER, 2374. A number of top players lost by default by not appearing in Nalchik – IM Marie Sebag, FRA, 2529; GM Maya Chiburdanidze, GEO, 2489; IM Irina Krush, USA, 2470; IM Lela Javakhishvili, GEO 2461; WGM Ekaterina Korbut, RUS, 2459; IM Maya Lomineishvili, GEO, 2414; IM Nino Khurtsidze, GEO, 2413; WGM Sopiko Khukhashvili, GEO, 2408; IM Tea Bosboom-Lanchava, NED, 2358. A full list of the drop-outs is given below.


Struggling to stay in the tournament: Elisabeth Paehtz (left) vs Ilaha Kadimova

There were some tough battles. Former Junior World Champion WGM Elisabeth Pähtz, rated 2481, required two regular games, two rapid chess games, two blitz games and then the Armageddon blitz decider to defeat WGM Ilaha Kadimova, 2324, of Azerbaijan. None of their games were drawn.


What a relief! Elli Paehtz in the press conference

Armageddon drama in Nalchik

Polish IM Monika Socko, rated 2473, and Romanian WIM Sabina-Francesca Foisor, 2337 went all the way to the Armageddon game as well, where Socko had white and six minutes aganist Foisor with black and five minutes. White has to win, a draw is counted as a win for Black.


The two players in an earlier, less dramatic tiebreak game

The tournament bulletin reports:

Both players used her available time up to the maximum and then Foisor's flag fell when only two kings and two knights (one for each player) were on the board. The situation immediately triggered debate whether the flag-fall or the drawish position should be taken as the basis of the decision of the arbiters. After long discussions and official appeals provided by the players, the Appeals Committee made the final decision: the winner is Socko (Poland).

In the final phase of the games pieces were flying and the sensor board could not keep up with recording them. The game in the PGN file at the bottom of this page is therefore incomplete.

The game ends in the time default against Sabina-Francesca Foisor. The relevant section start at 1 min 20 sec in the video below, and after the wild action the position is reduced to king and knight vs king and knight. Foisor signals with a hand shrug (1 min 36 sec on the video) that the game is drawn. But she plays on until her clock run out. Her final move is ...Nf6-d5 and the final position is the following:

In the ensuing discussion with Chief Arbiter Zsuzsa Veroci Monika Socko shows that a mate that can theoretical be executed with the remaining material. Indeed it can, e.g. with the moves 1.Nd3 Nb6+ 2.Kb5 Kc7 3.Nc5 Kb8 4.Kc6 Ka8 5.Kc7 Ka7 6.Nd7 Ka8 7.Kd8 Nc8 8.Kc7 Na7 9.Nb6# (a helpmate, not a selfmate, as was suggested in the discussion).

Socko gets into a debate with Deputy Chief Arbiter Mikko Markkula of Finnland, who initially says that the above mate is only possible with the cooperation of Black (not actually the point) and then starts getting annoyed and argues that the principals had disturbed the final position which was no longer available for adjudication. In the end he discusses the matter with Georgios Makropoulos, FIDE Deputy President and Chairman of the Appeals Committee, while Monika Socko calls experienced arbiter Andzhey Filipowicz back in Poland. After that a decision was apparently taken in favour of Socko, who proceeds to the next round.


Watch the final Armageddon game between Sockov and Foisor and the discussion with the arbiters. Much of it is in Russian, but there are passages in English that make the arguments comprehensible.

WGM Sabina Francesca Foisor, 2337, is the youngest member of the Foisor family, a notable clan in Romenian chess, and the strongest talented young female player in Romania. Here she is congratulated on her 19th birthday by the Sports Minister in Nalchik.


Round one results (complete)

Nat. Name Rtng
G1
G2
R1
R2
B1
B2
SD
Tot.
Round 1 Match 01
CHN Xu, Yuhua 2483
1
½
         
1.5
RSA Solomons, Anzel 1895
0
½
         
0.5
Round 1 Match 02
EGY Alaa El Din, Yorsa 1959
0
0
         
0.0
IND Koneru, Humpy 2622
1
1
         
2.0
Round 1 Match 03
CHN Hou, Yifan 2557
1
1
         
2.0
EGY Khaled, Mona 2007
0
0
         
0.0
Round 1 Match 04
PER Zapata, Karen 2180
-
-
         
0.0
BUL Stefanova, Antoaneta 2550
+
+
         
2.0
Round 1 Match 05
SWE Cramling, Pia 2544
1
½
         
1.5
VEN Sanchez Castillo, Sarai 2202
0
½
         
0.5
Round 1 Match 06
POL Gasik, Anna 2211
+
+
         
2.0
FRA Sebag, Marie 2529
-
-
         
0.0
Round 1 Match 07
CHN Zhao, Xue 2522
1
1
         
2.0
ARG Zuriel, Marisa 2231
0
0
         
0.0
Round 1 Match 08
UZB Muminova, Nafisa 2242
0
0
         
0.0
RUS Kosintseva, Tatjana 2511
1
1
         
2.0
Round 1 Match 09
RUS Kosteniuk, Alexsandra 2510
1
1
         
2.0
IRI Pourkashiyan, Atousa 2269
0
0
         
0.0
Round 1 Match 10
CRO Golubenko, Valentina 2271
0
½
         
0.5
LTU Chmilyte, Viktorija 2508
1
½
         
1.5
Round 1 Match 11
SLO Muzychuk, Anna 2504
1
1
         
2.0
BUL Velcheva, Maria 2281
0
0
         
0.0
Round 1 Match 12
RUS Zakurdjaeva, Irina 2308
0
½
         
0.5
CHN Ruan, Lufei 2499
1
½
         
1.5
Round 1 Match 13
UKR Zhukova, Natalia 2489
0
1
½
0
     
1.5
USA Rohonyan, Katerine 2321
1
0
½
1
     
2.5
Round 1 Match 14
VIE Nguyen, Thi Thanh An 2323
+
+
         
2.0
GEO Chiburdanidze, Maya 2489
-
-
         
0.0
Round 1 Match 15
HUN Hoang Thanh Trang 2487
1
½
         
1.5
CUB Arribas Robaina, Matza 2323
0
½
         
0.5
Round 1 Match 16
AZE Kadimova, Ilaha 2324
1
0
0
1
0
1
0
3.0
GER Paehtz, Elisabeth 2481
0
1
1
0
1
0
1
4.0
Round 1 Match 17
UKR Ushenina, Anna 2476
1
½
         
1.5
VIE Le Thanh Tu 2325
0
½
         
0.5
Round 1 Match 18
ROM Foisor, Sabina-Francesca 2337
½
½
1
0
1
0
0
3.0
POL Socko, Monika 2473
½
½
0
1
0
1
1
4.0
Round 1 Match 19
USA Krush, Irina 2470
-
-
         
0.0
ITA Sedina, Elena 2344
+
+
         
2.0
Round 1 Match 20
CHN Zhang, Jilin 2344
½
0
         
0.5
UKR Gaponenko, Inna 2468
½
1
         
1.5
Round 1 Match 21
GEO Javakhishvili, Lela 2461
-
-
         
0.0
ARG Amura, Claudia 2345
+
+
         
2.0
Round 1 Match 22
RUS Nebolsina, Vera 2350
0
0
         
0.0
IND Harika, Dronavalli 2461
1
1
         
2.0
Round 1 Match 23
RUS Kosintseva, Nadezhda 2460
1
1
         
2.0
IND Mohota, Nisha 2354
0
0
         
0.0
Round 1 Match 24
GEO Gvetadze, Sopio 2355
-
-
         
0.0
RUS Korbut, Ekaterina 2459
-
-
         
0.0
Round 1 Match 25
USA Zatonskih, Anna 2446
+
+
         
2.0
NED Bosboom Lanchava, Tea 2358
-
-
         
0.0
Round 1 Match 26
GER Kachiani-Gersinska, Ketino 2374
½
0
         
0.5
CHN Shen, Yang 2445
½
1
         
1.5
Round 1 Match 27
ARM Mkrtchian, Lilit 2436
½
½
½
½
½
1
 
3.5
AUT Moser, Eva 2383
½
½
½
½
½
0
 
2.5
Round 1 Match 28
CHN Tan, Zongyi 2387
½
1
         
1.5
IND Tania, Sachdev 2432
½
0
         
0.5
Round 1 Match 29
SRB Bojkovic, Natasa 2423
½
½
½
0
     
1.5
CHN Ju, Wenjun 2389
½
½
½
1
     
2.5
Round 1 Match 30
MGL Mongontuul, Bathuyang 2406
1
1
         
2.0
POL Rajlich, Iweta 2417
0
0
         
0.0
Round 1 Match 32
GEO Lomineishvili, Maya 2414
-
-
         
0.0
GEO Khukhashvili, Sopiko 2408
-
-
         
0.0
Round 1 Match 33
RUS Matveeva, Svetlana 2412
+
+
         
2.0
GEO Khurtsidze, Nino 2413
-
-
         
0.0

Players who have dropped out of the Championship

Zhukova, Natalia UKR 2489
Tania, Sachdev IND 2432
Bojkovic, Natasa SRB 2423
Rajlich, Iweta POL 2417
Moser, Eva AUT 2383
Kachiani-Gersinska, Ketino GER 2374
Mohota, Nisha IND 2354
Nebolsina, Vera RUS 2350
Zhang, Jilin CHN 2344
Foisor, Sabina-Francesca ROM 2337
Le Thanh Tu VIE 2325
Kadimova, Ilaha AZE 2324
Arribas Robaina, Matza CUB 2323
Zakurdjaeva, Irina RUS 2308
Velcheva, Maria BUL 2281
Golubenko, Valentina CRO 2271
Pourkashiyan, Atousa IRI 2269
Muminova, Nafisa UZB 2242
 
Zuriel, Marisa ARG 2231
Sanchez Castillo, Sarai VEN 2202
Khaled, Mona EGY 2007
Alaa El Din, Yorsa EGY 1959
Solomons, Anzel RSA 1895
The following players did not appear
in Nalchik and lost by default
Sebag, Marie FRA 2529
Chiburdanidze, Maya GEO 2489
Krush, Irina USA 2470
Javakhishvili, Lela GEO 2461
Korbut, Ekaterina RUS 2459
Lomineishvili, Maya GEO 2414
Khurtsidze, Nino GEO 2413
Khukhashvili, Sopiko GEO 2408
Bosboom Lanchava, Tea NED 2358
Gvetadze, Sopio GEO 2355
Zapata, Karen PER 2180

Picture Gallery


The playing hall on the second day of round one in Nalchik


No surprises here: Tatjana Kosintseva and Alexandra Kosteniuk both won 2-0


Eliminated: Iranian talent Atousa Pourkashiyan, 2269


Through to round two: World Junior Champion IM Harika Dronavalli


Eliminated by Harika: 18-year-old WGM Vera Nebolsina, 2350


Eliminated: IM Iweta Rajlich (yes, she's part of the Rybka team)


Through by default: fourth seed (and former World Champion)
GM Antoaneta Stefanova, whose opponent from Peru did not participate

All photos courtesy of FIDE

Video reports by FIDE

There are a number of press conference interviews with players (Tatiana Kosintseva, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Elisabeth Paehtz, Natalia Zhukova). Most are in Russian, with English translations that are not easy to follow. The interview with Natalia, who is, incidentally, the wife of Alexander Grischuk, is the easiest to follow.


One can visit Nalchik any time

An interview with the German participant Ketino Kachiani-Gersinska

Surov: Ketino Kachiani is the only chess player from Georgia who came to Nalchik. She represents Germany. We thank her for her agreement to talk after her loss, which means the end of the Championship for her. Ketino, you were among those shess players who supported the Georgian chess players who wrote an open letter with a request to change the venue of the Championship because of the reasons of security. But in the end you cam to Nalchik. Why?


Ketino Kachiani-Gersinska, Georgian IM who now lives in and plays for Germany

Ketino: When we were writing this letter we were in Tbilisi and that was the territory of Georgia. Things like that don't happen very often in capitals. Not only me but other chess players from the different countries backed this letter. There were eight Georgian chess players who were to participate in this tournament. I think the Championship would have been more interesting if they had been here. The Georgian chess school is one of the best. Moreover it is not only a Georgian chess school. It was famous in the times of the Soviet Union. Maya Chiburdanidze has so many titles that I can't even enumerate all of them. So I think we must support such people, such legends. But later the situation improved and I am happy about that. I think such problems must be solved peacefully. That's why I have come here. We sports people understand each other perfectly. I am sure the same will be with politicians. They will negotiate and solve some problems. Important problems.

Surov: So you differentiate politics and sports?

Ketino: Yes, I do, because I am a sportsman, a chess player. Politics is not my cup of tea.

Surov: Why do you think Georgian chess players haven't come?

Ketino: I think it was difficult for them psychologically to play, especially when such things happen to your town. I think nobody can imagine that. I myself can't imagine that because I wasn't there at that time. This psychological factor is very important in sport. I believe they wouldn't be able to play comfortably. They had to solve a lot of problems within the last two days: visas, flights, problems of security, etc. These things are of utmost importance. I think that it was psychologically difficult for the Georgian sportsmen to play. I understand them perfectly. I think a tournament like this Championship is planned beforehand. We must train, we need silence. I grew up in the Soviet Union. All my titles I got being a citizen of the Soviet Union. Now I play for Germany.

Surov: So you have come to Nalchik. Did you see the town? What do you think about Nalchik? Do you feel secure here?

Ketino: I was sure that everything would be okay. It is not only Russia and Georgia that are trying to solve these important problems, but the whole world is involved. I think everything must be decided peacefully. Nalchik is a very calm and peaceful city. One can come here any time. I decided to come at the last moment. Many other chess players did the same. We thought that it would be impossible to hold the Championship if we didn't come. I can say that the Championship was organized on a high level. FIDE has done its best to provide our security. People here are so friendly and hospitable. That's why I am here. I am all for peace.

Surov: Unfortunately you are leaving the Championship. If you had known beforehand that you would lose in the first round, would you have come?

Ketino: I think nobody knows beforehand if he will lose or win. The strongest athletes from different sports don't know either whether they will win or lose. I don't regret coming here. I participated in the Championship among the top 64 chess players.

Surov: Thank you.


Round two pairings

Nat. Name Rtng
G1
G2
R1
R2
B1
B2
SD
Tot.
Round 2 Match 01
RUS Matveeva, Svetlana 2412
         
CHN Xu, Yuhua 2483
         
Round 2 Match 02
IND Koneru, Humpy 2622
+
+
         
2.0
  Bye  
-
-
         
0.0
Round 2 Match 03
MGL Mongontuul, Bathuyang 2406
         
CHN Hou, Yifan 2557
         
Round 2 Match 04
BUL Stefanova, Antoaneta 2550
         
CHN Ju, Wenjun 2389
         
Round 2 Match 05
CHN Tan, Zongyi 2387
         
SWE Cramling, Pia 2544
         
Round 2 Match 06
POL Gasik, Anna 2211
         
ARM Mkrtchian, Lilit 2436
         
Round 2 Match 07
CHN Shen, Yang 2445
         
CHN Zhao, Xue 2522
         
Round 2 Match 08
RUS Kosintseva, Tatjana 2511
         
USA Zatonskih, Anna 2446
         
Round 2 Match 09
  Bye  
-
-
         
0.0
RUS Kosteniuk, Alexsandra 2510
+
+
         
2.0
Round 2 Match 10
LTU Chmilyte, Viktorija 2508
         
RUS Kosintseva, Nadezhda 2460
         
Round 2 Match 11
IND Harika, Dronavalli 2461
         
SLO Muzychuk, Anna 2504
         
Round 2 Match 12
CHN Ruan, Lufei 2499
         
ARG Amura, Claudia 2345
         
Round 2 Match 13
UKR Gaponenko, Inna 2468
         
USA Rohonyan, Katerine 2321
         
Round 2 Match 14
VIE Nguyen, Thi Thanh An 2323
         
ITA Sedina, Elena 2344
         
Round 2 Match 15
POL Socko, Monika 2473
         
HUN Hoang Thanh Trang 2487
         
Round 2 Match 16
GER Paehtz, Elisabeth 2481
         
UKR Ushenina, Anna 2476
         

There are two byes in this round, since in two matches in round one produced no winner when both player failed to appear.

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access to the server. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse the PGN games.

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