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Natalija Pogonina wins Bykova Memorial in Vladimir

1/2/2006 – The event, in honour of the third women's world champion, was held in the ancient Russian town of Vladimir and saw 37 Snegurochkas ("Snow Whites") battling it out in three groups. In Group A WGM Natalija Pogonina took first place, narrowly ahead of G20 world champion Elisabeth Pähtz. Spectacular pictorial report by Valery Golubenko.
 

37 Snegurochkas and First Father Xmas

Report by Valery Golubenko

The 3rd Memorial of World Champion Elizaveta Ivanovna Bykova was held in the ancient Russian city of Vladimir. It was most representative this time: 37 beauty participants from seven countries in three groups: A, B, and C.


Welcome to Vladimir and its famous Golden Gate from 1164

The organizers stated that the main tournament “A” is the second strongest women’s event in the world chess calendar, after super tournament in Krasnoturyinsk. Really, nine WGMs, of which five have rating over 2400. That speaks for itself. The A-group was attended as well as by the Istanbul piping-hot G20 World Champion Elizabeth Paetz from Germany.


The “Electropribor” factory was the main sponsor and provided the playing venue

Vladimir is a very ancient Russian town founded in 1108, 39 years earlier than Moscow. The third Women's World Champion Elizaveta Bykova was born in 1913 and lived all her life in the little town of Bogolyubovo, 8 kms from Vladimir.


Elizaveta Bykova, World Champion 1953-56 and 1958-62. [Photo: chess.port33.ru]

Vladimir is one in the historical chain of ancient Russian towns named as “Golden Ring”. The main orthodox cathedrals of Vladimir are the Assumption Cathedral (1158-1161):

and the Cathedral of Dmitry (1194-1197):

Great Russian icon-painter Andrei Rublev (14th century) participated in 1408 in frescoing of the Assumption Cathedral.


Monument to Andrei Rublev

Vladimir is a very tolerant ancient place – in the same central architectural ensemble you’ll see a Polish Roman Catholic Church

Ad interim all three competitions were beginning. In the main tournament after four rounds Elizabeth Paetz and Natalija Pogonina shared the lead with 3 points each. From the 7th round Natalija Pogonina took the sole lead and kept it to the end of tournament.


The playing hall in Vladimir

One of main weapon of WGM Pogonina is the Dragon Variation:

Shadrina,T (2386) - Pogonina,N (2401) [B76 Sicilian]
Bykova Memorial Vladimir (8), 15.12.2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Qe1 e5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Bc4 Be6 14.Ne4 Qc7 15.Bc5 Rfd8 16.g4 Nf4 17.Bd6?

This is still from the game Simacek 2210 vs Tupy 2195, Plzen Open U18, 1995. It is known that 17.Bd6 is a doubtful move in this variation of the Dragon. 17...Rxd6! 18.Nxd6 Bd5! 19.Nb5 Qb6 20.Bxd5 cxd5 21.Nc3 Rb8 22.b3 Qc5 23.Nb1 Rc8 24.c3 d4 25.c4 Ng2 26.Qe2 Ne3 27.g5 e4 28.fxe4 Nxd1 29.Rxd1 Qxg5+ 30.Kc2 Qe5 31.Kd3 Re8 32.Re1 f5 33.Qg2 Bh6 34.Qf3 Qxh2 35.Re2 Qg1 36.Nd2 Qc1 37.Kxd4 Qb2+ 38.Kc5 Bf8+ 39.Kb5 Rb8+ 0-1. [Click to replay]


The participants of the A-Group during the round

Future grandmaster Pogonina passed this test with flying colors after a great free day all participants spent in the neighboring city of Suzdal, in 28 kms from Vladimir, another unique historical place. The ancient Russian town was founded in 1024, and with only 11.5 thousand inhabitants, it is today preserved in about the same conditions as several centuries ago.


The first cathedral from the side of Vladimir
is the Cathedral of the Sign of Our Lady, 1749


In this Cathedral President Putin celebrated the Orthodox Christmas in January 2004. [Photo: kremlin.ru]

Some Suzdal’s cathedrals are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage, for example:


The Temple of Christmas of the Virgin (1222) of the
Suzdal Kremlin, after a long-term restoration

A stave church of Nicola Glotovsky near the Suzdal Kremlin is built without even a single metal nail:

It was a really nice day – sunny and frosty (minus 15 ºC), and the participants congregated to the museums:


The Vaulted Chamber of the Suzdal Kremlin

A panorama of the ancient Suzdal is impressive – innumerable historical and architectural treasures around!


Chief Arbiter IA Mikhail Kryukov (left) with his beautiful Snegurochkas or "Snow Whites"


Winter fairytale of Suzdal

Okay, let’s get back to our chess boards and pieces. After her victory in the 8th round Natalija Pogonina (6.5) was a full point ahead of Elizabeth Paetz (5.5). Moreover WGM Irina Sudakova, the first winner of Bykova’s Memorial, caught up with the German grandmaster. It was clear these three beauties would share the main prizes. But suddenly Elizabeth Paetz was offering a draw in a simple winning position...

Paehtz,E (2408) - Kononenko,T (2423)
Bykova Memorial Vladimir, 17.12.2005
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 Ne7 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.h4 Qc7 8.Nf3 b6 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Bd3 Ba4 11.Ra2. The first time this unusual move was made was by Ralf Lau in 1992. 11...c4 The novelty. In the game Lau-Grimm Black played 11... Nd7 with an equal position. 12.Be2 Nbc6 13.h5 h6 14.Bf4 0-0-0? After 14... b5 or 14... Qd7 the position is equal. 15.Qd2 Rdg8 16.Nh2 Qd8 17.Bg4 Nf5 18.Nf1 Nce7 19.Be2 g5 20.Bh2 Nc6 21.Ne3 Nxe3 22.Qxe3 Ne7 23.g4?!± 23.Bg4! with a decisive advantage. 23...Nc6 24.f4 gxf4 25.Bxf4 f6 26.exf6 Qxf6 27.Rf1 Re8 28.g5 hxg5 29.Bxg5 Qg7 30.Bf6 Qh6 31.Qxh6 Rxh6 32.Bg7 Rh7 33.h6 Rd8

34.Kd2 ½-½?? 34.Bg4 and Black should resign. [Click to replay]

Before the last game Pogonina had 8 points, Paetz and Sudakova were a point behind. But in the last round Irina Sudakova played against Natalija Pogonina with white and, in case of a victory, could win the first prize on Sonneborn Berger tiebreak. Regrettably the game was a quick draw, and Natalija Pogonina had an unattainable 8.5 points.


Sudakova-Pogonina: the Chief Arbiter couldn’t prevent a quick draw

In the meantime Elizabeth Paetz won her last game with the black pieces and came clean second with 8 points. Irina Sudakova finished third with 7.5 points.


Last round game Sandugach Shaidullina-Elizabeth Paetz


Prize winners in the A-group: WGMs Paetz, Pogonina, and Sudakova


The winner: Natalija Pogonina [Photo: mir-foto.ru]

Final standings

In B-group there were 14 participants from five countries. The WGM norm required quite high score, 9.5 points from 13 games. This competition turned into a wall-to-wall ralley between Russians WIM Elena Tairova, 2293, from the city of Ryazan and a local champion from Vladimir, Margarita Schepetkova, 2124. Yet before the last round both had scored 9.5 points and fulfilled the WGM norm!


14-year-old WIM Elena Tairova won the B-group,
WIM Margarita Schepetkova from Vladimir took the 2nd place

The aggressive style of Margarita Schepetkova is dramatically shown in the following game with WIM Turkan Mamedjarova, who just shared the third place at the world’s G20 Championship in Istanbul:

Mamedjarova,Turkan - Schepetkova,Margarita [A48]
Bykova Memorial B Vladimir (4), 10.12.2005
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.e3 Bg7 4.b3 d6 5.Bb2 0-0 6.Be2 Nbd7 7.0-0 Re8 8.c4 c6 9.Nc3 Qc7 10.e4 e5 11.d5 Nc5 12.Qb1 a5 13.Rd1 Nh5 14.g3 f5 15.Nh4 Rf8 16.dxc6 bxc6 17.exf5 Bxf5 18.Nxf5 Rxf5 19.g4 Rf4 20.gxh5 Qe7 21.Bc1 Rh4 22.Be3 Rf8 23.Qc1 Rf5 24.Kf1 Rxh2 25.Ke1 Qh4 26.Kd2 Rfxf2 27.Bxf2 Qxf2 28.Kc2 Qf5+ 29.Kb2 e4 30.Rd2 Rxe2 31.Qd1 Nd3+ 32.Kc2

32...Nb4+? Here Schepetkova misses a mate in four: 34...Qe5 35.Qxe2 Qxc3+ 36.Kd1 Qxa1+ 37.Kc2 Qc1#. 33.Kc1 Nd3+ 34.Kc2 Re1? 35.Qxe1 Bxc3 36.Qf1 Bxa1 37.Qxf5 gxf5 38.Rg2+ Kf7 39.Rg5 Ke6 40.h6 Nb4+ 41.Kd2 Bf6 42.Rg8 Nxa2 43.Re8+ Kf7 44.Rc8 Nb4 45.Ra8 Kg6 46.Rxa5 c5 47.Ra7 Kxh6 48.Rf7 Kg6 49.Rf8 f4 50.Ke2 Nc6 51.Re8 Nd4+ 0-1. [Click to replay]

Margarita Schepetkova was just in one move from the first prize but in the following position she couldn’t find one spectacular move for the immediate victory:

Shukurova,Meihriban - Schepetkova,Margarita [D00]
Bykova Memorial B Vladimir (13), 17.12.2005
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 d5 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.e3 c6 5.c3 Qb6 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Bd3 g6 8.Nf3 0-0 9.Nbd2 Nd7 10.h4 Re8 11.h5 Nf8 12.hxg6 fxg6 13.0-0-0 Qa5 14.Rh6 Re7 15.Rdh1 Rg7 16.Nh4 Bd7 17.Nxg6 hxg6 18.Bxg6 Nxg6 19.Rxg6 Bf8 20.Rxf6 Qxa2 21.Rfh6 Qa1+ 22.Nb1 Re8 23.Rf6 b5 24.Qd1 Be7 25.Rf4 Bg5 26.Qh5 Bxf4 27.exf4 Re6 28.f5.

28... Rf6. A missed opportunity to win brilliantly: 28...Rh6!! 29.Qxh6 Bxf5 threatening 30...Qxb1+ and mate to follow, so 30.Qh8+ Kf7 31.Qh5+ Bg6 32.Qf3+ Kg8 33.Rd1 Qxb1+ 34.Kd2 Qxb2+ 35.Ke1 Rh7–+. 29.g4 b4 30.Qh8+ Kf7 31.Qd8 Bxf5 32.gxf5 and it is all over for Black. 32...bxc3 33.Qd7+ Kg8 34.Qe8+ Rf8 35.Qe6+ Rff7 36.bxc3 Qa2 37.f6 Rg5 38.Qe8+ Rf8 39.Qe7 Rf7 40.Qd8+ Rf8 41.f7+ Kxf7 42.Qxg5 Qe2 43.Rh7+ Ke8 44.Qg6+ 1-0. [Click to replay]

It seems that Margarita prefers to play a rook down, not ahead! She ended half a point down to Elena Tairova, who scored 10 from 13! The third in the B-group was WIM Tatiana Kostiuk from Ukraine with 8 points.

Finally, in C-group eleven players from Russia, Ukraine and Estonia were participating. The WIM norm was 6.5 points from 10 games. From the fourth round the sole lead was captured by 15-year-old Estonian WFM Valentina Golubenko. After very hard draw in the first round Valentina won five games at a row and held the lead to the end of competition, securing the first prize already before the last round. Valentina scored 8 points and over-performed her next WIM norm. Second with half a point less was WIM Eugenia Chasovnikova from Moscow, and the third WIM Svetlana Ivanova from Ukraine with 6.5.


Valentina Golubenko in snowy Vladimir

In the 3rd round Valentina outplayed a rating favorite of C-group Eugenia Chasovnikova:

Golubenko,Valentina (2148) - Chasovnikova,Eugenia (2304) [E62]
Bykova Memorial C Vladimir (3), 12.2005
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.g3 d6 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.0-0 e5 8.d5 Ne7 9.e4 Nd7 10.b4 a5 11.bxa5 Rxa5 12.a4 h6 13.Ba3 f5 14.Bb4 Ra8 15.a5 g5 16.Nd2 Nf6 17.c5 f4 18.cxd6 cxd6 19.Nc4 Ra6 20.Qd3 Ng6 21.Nb5 Ne8 22.Rac1 g4 23.f3 gxf3 24.Rxf3 Bg4 25.Rff1 Qg5 26.Rc2 fxg3 27.hxg3 Rxf1+ 28.Qxf1 Bd7 29.Nbxd6 Nf6 30.Qf2 Ba4 31.Rc3 Bf8 32.Bc5 Ng4 33.Qf7+ Kh8 34.Qxf8+ Nxf8 35.Nf7+ Kg8 36.Nxg5 hxg5 37.Nb6 Rxa5 38.Bxf8 Kxf8 39.Ra3 Ra6 40.Nxa4 b5 41.Rf3+ Ke7 42.Nc5 Ra1+ 43.Rf1 Ra3 44.Rf3 Ra1+ 45.Bf1 b4 46.Na6 Rb1 47.Nc5 Kd6 48.Nb7+ Kc7 49.Rf7+ Kb6 50.d6 Nf6 51.d7 Nxd7 52.Rxd7 b3 53.Nd8 b2 54.Rb7+ Kc5 55.Ne6+ 1-0. [Click to replay]

The event ended with a friendly blitz among all participants, invited persons, and players of the local club “Luch” (light):


GM Alexei Kornev vs Elizabeth Paetz

The ACP representative GM Igor Glek promised participants to include A-group of Elizaveta Bykova’s Memorial 2005 as the first stage of a new-formed Women’s ACP-Tour 2005-2006. The Memorial has become a traditional, and the next is already scheduled for the December 2006.


"Miss Tournament" Maria Kursova, the winner Natalija Pogonina, and Margarita Schepetkova, best Vladimir player and second in the B-group with professional portraits made by the World of Photo Agency.


The fantastic Russian winter in Vladimir. Hotel “Zarya” (sunrise) was where most of the participants stayed.


Welcome to Vladimir – the museum alfresco!

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