Stefanova leads in North Urals Cup 2007

7/25/2007 – After a win and a draw the former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova, Bulgaria, demolished Russian WGM and IM Alisa Galliamova in a brutal 20-mover in round three to take the sole lead in the North Urals Cup, which is restricted to top female players and is taking place from July 22 to 31 in Krasnoturinsk, Russia. With 47% draws this event is producing fighting chess. Big pictorial report.

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The North Urals Cup 2007 is taking place from July 22 to 31 in Krasnoturinsk, Russia. It is restricted to top female players and has an Elo average of 2478.

The city of Krasnoturinsk is located in the north of the Sverdlovsk area, 426 kms from the regional center Ekaterinburg (Yekaterinburg). It is the cultural center of Northern Ural and the home of a number of outstanding Russian scientists.

Standings after three rounds

Round One

As is typical in women's events at this level the players came out fighting, with practically everyone playing for a win. Anna Ushenina defeated veteran Alisa Gallyamova, and Anna Muzychuk, herself just 17, scored a "shock victory" with the black pieces over top seed, the legendary Hou Yifan, who is all of 13 years old. Former women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova defeated top German Elizabeth Paehtz in a nice endgame effort. Natalya Pogonina, playing for the first time in this tournament, lost somewhat unluckily to Chinese WGM Zhao Xue's Alekhine's Defence. A single game was drawn: Kateryna Lahno vs fromer world champion Zhu Chen.


The playing venue of the North Urals Cup 2007 in Krasnoturinsk


13-year-old veteran Hou (Xoy) Yifan, 2523, facing 17-year-old Anna Muzychuk, 2456


In spite of the defeat – does anyone doubt this is a future world champion?


Former world champion Zhu Chen, rated 2522


WGM Anna Ushina, Ukraine, 2502


Round Two

Zhu Chen spent 109 moves in a gritty effort to defeat Natalya Pogonina, but in spite of a rook ending with two extra pawns the game was drawn. Hou Yifan played an unusual New Indian Defense against her compatriot and got into a bit of trouble. But she fought back bravely and secured the draw. Alisa Gallyamova defeated the ambitious Anna Muzychuk in an 86-move see-saw encounter. Kateryna Lahno, playing black, defeated her dear friend Eizabeth Paehtz with a ruthless king hunt – and then criticized herself for not delivering mate earlier.


Elisabeth's king hunted down by Kateryna


GM Kateryna Lahno, 17, 2450


Former Junior World Champion IM Elisabeth Pähtz, 2457


WGM Zhao Xue, China, 2400


Alisa Gallyamova at the start of her 86-move game against Anna Muzychuk


The action under way in the "short round" three


Round Three

All games were over after a little more than three hours, but they were by no means quick draws. Natalya Pogonina demonstrated knight power in her demolition of the luckless Elizabeth Paehtz in 45 moves. The Ukrainian duel Lahno vs Ushenina ended in a quickly-played 46-move draw. Hou Yifan drew Zhu Chen in a tought 55-move Najdorf. Zhao Xue again played the Alekhine (1.e4 Nf6), this time against Anna Muzychuk, this time without success. The game was drawn in 39 moves. Stefanova vs Gallyamova was a savage tactical battle that ended in a white victory after just 20 moves.

Stefanova,A (2481) - Galliamova,A (2468) [D00]
North Urals Cup Krasnoturinsk RUS (3), 24.07.2007
1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.Nc3 e6 5.Nb5 Na6 6.c3 Be7 7.a4 0-0 8.Be5 Bd7 9.Nf3 c4 10.b3 cxb3 11.Qxb3 Qa5 12.Qb2 Ne4 13.Bd3 f6 14.Bf4

14...Nxc3? It doesn't work out, Alisa: 15.Nxc3 Bb4 16.0-0 Bxc3 17.Qxb7 Bxa1 18.Qxd7 Nb4 19.Bc7 Rf7

20.Qxf7+ 1-0. 20.Bxh7+ would have been even more devastating.


The start of a short and brutal 20-mover: Antoaneta Stefanova vs Alisa Galliamova


Former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova, Bulgaria, 2481


During the round: Stefanova vs Galliamova, Muzychuk vs Zhao Xue

All pictures provided by Vadim Smalkov

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