Stefanova starts with a bang

6/3/2004 – In a sensational beginning to the Women's world chess championship that is being held from June 3rd to June 8th in Elista Bulgarian WGM Antoaneta Stefanova scored a fine victory, with the black pieces, against her Russian opponent WGM Ekaterina Kovalevskaya. We bring you the game and pictures.

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Women's World Chess Championship

Elista, 21st May – 8th June 2004

Thursday, June 3rd, 2004: the Women's World Championship began with a sensational black-piece win for the Bulgarian top seed Antoaneta Stefanova over Russian WGM Ekaterina Kovalevskaya.

The first encounter of the six-game match saw a fine victory for Stefanova, after her opponent played a dubious pawn sacrifice on move 17. After refuting this offer Bulgarian never allowed Kovalevskaya to get back into the game.

Full coverage of the event, including reports, games and videos, is to be found on the special FIDE web site. The following visual impressions are brought to you by courtesy of FIDE.


Just before the start of the game: the two finalists are in the front row, flanked by arbiter Geurt Gijssen (left in dark suit) and FIDE deputy president Georgios Makropoulos (tan).


A string quintet to give the event a classical atmosphere


The two contestants are probably running through chess variations in their minds


And suddenly it's business – the arbiter starts the clock


The first moves: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3... It turned into a Ruy Archangelsk/Möller


Press and TV covering the final of the Women's World Championship


But ultimately you are alone up there on that stage.

Kovalevskaya,E (2467) - Stefanova,A (2490)
WWCC 2004 Elista (61), 03.06.2004

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.a4 Bb7 8.d3 d6 9.Nc3 b4 10.Ne2 0-0 11.Ng3 h6 12.Nf5

12...Bc8 The novelty. Previous games had 12...d5 and 12...Ne7, both with white wins. [12...Ne7 13.N3h4 Nxf5 14.Nxf5 Kh7 15.Kh1 d5 16.f4 exf4 17.e5 Bc8 18.Rxf4 Bxf5 19.Rxf5 1-0 Fuentes,A-Negri,S/Buenos Aires 2000 (53); 12...d5 13.exd5 Nxd5 14.N3h4 Nf4 15.Bxf4 exf4 16.Qf3 1-0 Rojas,L-Rioseco,F/Vina del Mar 1998 (34)]

13.N3h4 Nd4 14.Nxd4 Bxd4 15.Qf3 Bg4 16.Qg3 Kh7

17.Be3? A move we did not understand during the live analysis on playchess.com 17...Bxb2 18.Rab1 Bc3 19.f3 Bd7 and Black simply has a pawn 20.Qf2 a5 21.g4 Qe8 22.Nf5 Bxa4 23.g5 Nh5 24.Qh4 g6 25.Nxh6 Bxb3 26.Ng4 Threatening a fork on f6 26...Qe6 27.Nf6+ Kg7 28.Nxh5+ gxh5 29.cxb3 a4 30.bxa4 Rxa4 31.Kh1 Ra2 32.Rg1 Re2 33.Bf2 Ra8 34.f4 exf4 35.Qxf4 and it's all over, Black has a won position

35...Raa2 36.Rg2 Kg6 37.Qf3 Rac2 38.Rf1 b3 39.e5 Bxe5 40.d4 Bg7 41.Bg1 Rxg2 42.Qd3+ Kxg5 43.Be3+ Kh4 44.Rf4+ Rg4 45.d5 Rc1+ 46.Bxc1 Qe1+ 47.Rf1 Qe4+ 48.Qxe4 Rxe4 49.Kg2 b2 50.Bf4 Rb4 51.Bg3+ Kg5 52.h4+ Kg6 53.Rb1 Ra4 0-1.

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