Women's World Championship reaches Elite Eight

5/28/2004 – 56 players have been eliminated in just six days. Former women's world champ Maya Chiburdanidze (right) is in the quarterfinals along with a pair of teenagers and five other survivors. China has held the title since the 20th century but they are down to just one contender. Maybe next time around the USA will be in the finals? Report, results and games.

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The Elite Eight

FIDE 2004 Women's World Chess Championship

Elista, Kalmykia

May 21 – June 8

Official Site

• View/download games online:
Round 1R2R3 • R4 • R5 •

All games in one pgn file

First ReportRound 2 ResultsRound 3 Results

China's hopes of keeping the women's world championship in the Middle Kingdom are riding on the slim shoulders of Xu Yuhua. The 27-year-old is the last of the seven Chinese representatives that started out in the 64-player field.

She won the 2002 FIDE Women's World Cup in India and she was quite active in 2003, but this is her first event of 2004. So far there have been few signs of rust. After needing rapid games in her opening match Xu Yuhua has dispatched her last two opponents without needing playoffs.

Now she's going to face the top seed Humpy Koneru of India in the quarterfinals in a battle between the last two Asian representatives. If there are favorites you might consider the only two players left who have yet to need playoffs to advance. Georgians Dzagnidze and Chiburdanidze, the former world champion, have advanced relentlessly so far. In the quarters they will face Bulgaria's Stefanova and Cmilyte of Lithuania, whose husband, Alexei Shirov, just won the 2004 Bosna tournament.

The teen brigade lost Paehtz and Lahno in the third round, but Humpy and Nana Dzagnidze (both 17) are still in the race. Georgia continues to churn out top new female (and male) chess talent at a pace similar to when the Soviet system was in place. Dzagnidze is clearly the leading candidate to take over the mantle of Georgian legends Gaprindashvili and Chiburdanidze. So far she has played almost exclusively in women's events, something quite contrary to the Polgar model.

Since Judit Polgar we've yet to see another woman make it to the 2600 mark and enter the world's top 100 players. The current crop of teens, particularly Lahno, certainly show the potential to make it. The Polgars showed that the main requirement (other than talent) is a steady diet of top opposition and serious training. Playing only against a pool of other 2400-2500 players isn't going to do it.

If opposition and training will do it, we might be hearing some noise out of the United States soon. Thanks to recent changes implemented by America's Foundation for Chess the women now play in the same US championship as the men instead of in a separate event. Meanwhile, a US women's training squad has been set up by Susan Polgar and Paul Truong with the sponsorship of the Kasparov Chess Foundation (as well as ChessBase, among other sponsors). Under the direction of IM Mikhail Khodarkovsky a serious training system has been established and Kasparov himself will be working with the team this weekend.

With Susan Polgar coming out of retirement to play on board one and Ukrainian import Zatonskih on the squad the US team hopes to contend for the gold in this year's Olympiad. That would be quite a shake-up of the status quo, which is well represented by the fourth round pairings in Elista!

Round 4 – Player on the left has white in game one
Score
   
 
Humpy, Koneru Xu Yuhua
-
Stefanova, Antoaneta Dzagnidze, Nana
-
Chiburdanidze, Maia Cmilyte, Viktorija
-
Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina Kachiani, Ketino
-

Lomineishvili – Dzagnidze after 51...Nd5

Should White grab the a-pawn here? White went for it but missed a cute winning rook maneuver. Another casualty of our innovative time control...

52.Rxa4?? Re3+ 53.Kd2 Re4 and the pin wins the bishop.

Round 3 – Player on the left had white in game one
Score
   
 
Kosintseva, Tatiana Humpy, Koneru
0-1 1-0, 0-1 0-1
Lomineishvili, Maia Dzagnidze, Nana
0-1 0-1
Jackova, Jana Chiburdanidze, Maia
0-1 1/2
Bojkovic, Natasa Kachiani, Ketino
0-1 1/2
Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina Lahno, Kateryna
1-0 0-1, 1/2 1-0
Cramling, Pia Cmilyte, Viktorija
1/2 1/2, 1/2 1/2, 0-1 0-1
Zhukova, Natalia Stefanova, Antoaneta
1/2 1/2, 0-1 1-0, 0-1 0-1
Xu Yuhua Paehtz, Elisabeth
1/2 0-1

Round 2 - Player on the left white in game one
Score
   
 
Humpy, Koneru Peng, Zhaoqin
1-0 1/2
Lomineishvili, Maia Galliamova, Alisa
1-0 1-0
Chiburdanidze, Maia Sebag, Marie
1-0 1-0
Bojkovic, Natasa Matveeva, Svetlana
1/2 1/2, 1/2 1-0
Lahno, Kateryna Polovnikova, Ekaterina
1-0 0-1, 1/2 1/2, 1-0 1-0, 1-0
Mkrtchian, Lilit Cramling, Pia
1/2 0-1
Stefanova, Antoaneta Vasilevich, Tatjana
1/2 1/2, 1/2 1/2, 1/2 1-0
Zhao Xue Paehtz, Elisabeth
1/2 1/2, 1/2 0-1
Xu Yuhua Danielian, Elina
1-0 1/2
Kosintseva, Nadezhda Zhukova, Natalia
0-1 1-0, 1/2 1/2, 1/2 0-1
Kosteniuk, Alexandra Cmilyte, Viktorija
0-1 1/2
Alexandrova, Olga Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina
1/2 0-1
Krush, Irina Kachiani, Ketino
1/2 0-1
Peptan, Corina-Isabela Jackova, Jana
0-1 1/2
Dzagnidze, Nana Radziewicz, Iweta
1-0 1/2
Hoang, Thanh Trang Kosintseva, Tatiana
1/2 0-1

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