The Women of Crete

10/7/2003 – Our reports on the 2003 European Clubs Cup in Crete concentrated on male chess players and their spectacular performances. But, we were reminded by one visitor, there was an exciting women's tournament going on at the same time. Our correspondent Pufichek (a.k.a. Diego Garces), sent us a report and some lovely pictures.

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Crete is an island part of Greece which has more than 300 sunny days per year. As far as players of the 8th European Club Cup are concerned, it was sunny every day, which allowed them to enjoy the sea and pool (outside of chess preparation and games, which for many was not much).


Alexandra Kosteniuk enjoying the sun on the Greek island of Crete

The women's Cup took place in a different hotel (the Creta Marine-Creta Panorama complex) from the men's (the Creta Star, about a 5-10 minute drive away). That turned out to be quite fortunate for the women, as the hotel was more comfortable, the playing room much better than the men's.

On top of that, the pre-cup captain's meeting took a vote on the length of play, and while the men selected traditional time limits and 7-hour games, the women (a smart move) picked the faster time table of G/90 and 30 seconds per move added. So as the men started at 2PM and went till 9, the women would start at 3 and end by 7.

Some men lived and had their meals in the Creta Marine with the women (for example Kasparov), and the women would see them at lunch and dinner. Of course in reality it was not that convenient to be separated from the men, women chessplayers in general do not like to be only among themselves, it would have been better if the organizers could have found a hotel with facilities to host both men and women. Also, the two hotels are about 10-15 kilometers from the city, so it's like living in a ghetto, most players stayed in the hotel complex and did not see anything of Crete.


The Internet CG Podgorica team at the start of the tournament

So the women competition started, with 13 teams of 4 players + 1 reserve player. We knew from the beginning that the title would be between the strong Georgians NTN Tbilisi (average rating 2409, led by Dzagnidze 2446, fourth player with 2386 ELO), the Serbian team Internet CG Podgorica made out of a mix of Russians and Serbs, in particular the Russians Svetlana Matveeva (2478) and Vice-Champion of the World Alexandra Kosteniuk (2457), and last year's winners BAS Beograd, with Bojkovic (2408) on the first and down to Manakova (2365) on the 4th.


The playing hall of the women's tournament

Internet CG got to a good start in the European Club Cup, with two 4-0 wins. In round four the key match Internet CG vs NTN Tbilisi Georgia saw Alexandra Kosteniuk missed a winning 74...Qh1+ against Lomineishvili. Instead Alexandra lost the exchange, the game and her team lost the match.


The match BAS Beograd vs Internet CG Podgorica

With three rounds to go Internet CG was three match points behind NTN Tbilisi, seemingly too much to recoup in the last three rounds. But the Georgians lost to the BAS Beograd in round six, and to St. Petersburg Lentransgaz in the final round. At the same time Internet CG beat South Urals Cheliabinsk 3-1 in round six and last year's winners BAS Beograd 2½-1½ in round seven to take the first place.

Picture Gallery


Irina Chelushkina (SCG 2362), Svetlana Matveeva (RUS 2478)


Ana Matnadze (GEO 2287), Evgenija Ovod (RUS 2307)


Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL 2503), Svetlana Petrenko (MLD 2346)


Almira Skripchenko (FRA 2489), Maria Nepeina Leconte (FRA 2302)


Marie Sebag (FRA 2432), Alisa Galliamova (RUS 2502)


Iulia Mashinskaya (RUS 2183), Natasha Bojkovic (SCG 2408)


Gudfridur Lija Gretarsdottir (ISL 2058), Tatiana Shumiakina (RUS 2355)


The winners Internet CG Podgorica with captain Dusanka Jovicevic


The silver medalists NTN Tbilisi of Georgia


The Ladya Kazan team from Russia took bronze.

All pictures were supplied by Pufichek by courtesy of www.kosteniuk.com. You will find a lot of fine portraits (of all the female participants) on the special European Club Cup page.

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