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World Women's Team Championship in Ningbo

9/18/2009 – We promised you one more report from this Chinese tournament, with the lovely photos of Ye Rongguang, who apart from being China's first GM, is an avid photographer. On the free day Rongguang accompanied the players to the Ningbo Museum and Dongqian Lake, where many posed willingly in front of the Song Dynasty statues. We also revisit the controversy over the final round draw.
 

The 2nd Women's World Team Chess Championship took place in Ningbo, China, from September 2nd to 11th 2009. The time controls were FIDE: 90 minutes for 40 moves, then 30 minutes for the rest with a 30 second increment per move.

World Women's Team Championship in Ningbo

Photographic impressions by GM Ye Rongguang

On the free day many of the participants of the Women's Team Championship visited the famous museum and Dongqian Lake, a popular scenic spot since ancient times. It lies 10 km off Ningbo city proper and is at 20 square km the largest natural freshwater lake in Zhejiang province.


Anna Zatonskykh poses with some granite friends from the Song Dynasty


Valentina Gunina mimicking the hand positions of the Song warriors


IM Elina Danielian of Armenia poses with the Song staues


My big friend: Lilit Mkrtchian. IM Mkrtchian of Armenia, rated 2468, scored 6.5/9
points on board two, with a 2603 performance, the second-best in this event.


Karina Szczepkowska-Horowska's friend is not quite so gigantic


Like most young ladies Karina can't keep away from horses


Photographing the US team: Rusudan Goletiani, Anna Zatonskykh, Tatev
Abrahamian, Alisa Melekhina (Irina Krush missing)


Adventurous: Lilit Mkrtchian, Siranush Andriasian and Valentina Gunina


Nataliya Zhukova exercising some artistic skills in photography


WIM Siranush Andriasian, 2234, Armenia, reserve player


Amateur photographer: Vietnam Captain Dang Tat Thang


We must learn how to pronounce her surname: Karina Szczepkowska-Horowska...

Addendum: Kajetan Wandowicz of Wroclaw, Poland, has rushed to our assistance: it's pronounced Kah-ree-nah Sh-chep-kovs-kah Ho-rovs-kah. The only real problem is the start of the second name: the Russian consonent Щ which is transcribed in English as "shch" is to be found in expressions like "fresh chips".


... getting back on the photographers who seem to concentrate their attention on her.

Dignitaries, functionaries, arbiters and seconds


Trainer of the Russian team Yuri Dokhoian. On the right is Tatiana Kosinthseva,
standing arbiter Alexander Bakh, on the left is the Russian Team captain.


Yuri was Kasparov's trused second for over a decade


GM Mihail Kobalia


Ye Jiangchuan, China's third ever grandmaster. Ye has been the chief
coach of the Chinese National Teams (men and women) since 2000


Bao Lei, director of Yinzhou Sports Department


Indian team coach IM Lanka Ravi enjoying some Chinese tea


Vereslav Eingorn, Ukrainian GM, coach and author. "Eingorn"
comes from the German "Einhorn" or "one horn" = unicorn.


Ignatius Leong, a leading Asian organiser and FIDE Vice President


Alexander Bakh, chief arbiter of the event

The arranged draw

In our previous report we mentioned that there had been suspicion of match fixing in the final round. Vietnam had a commanding position against China One, when suddenly draws were agreed and the Chinese team took Gold. suspicion was aroused by the following game:

Pham Bich Ngoc (2145) - Huang Qian (2424) [A15]
2nd WTeam w Ningbo CHN (9), 11.09.2009

In this position, three pawns up and with a decisive attack, the Vietnamese girl played 37.Bc5 and offered a draw, which her Chinese opponent naturally accepted. With all games in this encounter drawn China One was able to nudge ahead of Russia (and Ukraine) to take first place. Vietnam remained in hopelessly in last place.

One of our readers pointed out another anomaly in the final round:

Pham Le Thao Nguyen (2301) - Zhao Xue (2542) [A46]
2nd WTeam w Ningbo CHN (9), 11.09.2009
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.Bf4 c5 4.c3 b6 5.e3 Be7 6.h3 0-0 7.Be2 Bb7 8.0-0 d6 9.Nbd2 a6 10.a4 cxd4 11.exd4 Nbd7 12.Re1 Re8 13.Bd3 Nf8 14.Bg3 Qc7 15.Qe2 Ng6 16.Ng5 Qc6 17.Ndf3 Qd7 18.Nh4 Nxh4 19.Bxh4 Nh5 20.Be4 Bxe4 21.Qxe4

21...h6?? Huh? 22.Nf3?? The Vietnamese player misses 22.Qh7+ Kf8 23.Qh8 mate! But didn't she play 21.Qe2xBe4 to threatens mate on h7? The game continued 22...Bxh4 23.Nxh4. Very suspicious.

However, before going into a paranoid frenzy we consulted a GM who plays in the Chinese league and who knows most of the players as team mates. He wrote: "I think Zhao Xue must have played 19...h6 20.Nf3 Nh5 21.Be4 Bxh4 (probable, although it is conceivable that this and the next move are transposed) 22.Nxh4 Bxe4 23.Qxe4, reaching the same position as the game. People do sometimes miss mates, but I very much doubt that a respectable GM also put a piece en prise on move 19 (and blundered her h-pawn with check)."

With this explanation we consider this mystery solved: notation error in the bulletin. The game continued 23...Nf6 24.Qd3 b5 25.axb5 axb5 26.Nf3 Qc6 27.Nd2 Nd5 28.Qf3 Reb8 29.Qe4 Rb6 30.f4 g6 31.g4 Rxa1 32.Rxa1 Ra6 33.Rxa6 Qxa6 34.f5 Nf6 35.Qg2 Qa1+ 36.Nf1 exf5 37.gxf5 g5 38.Qe2 Qa6 39.Ne3 Kg7 40.Kh2 Qc6 ½-½.

For those who are interested in the matter at hand, the relevant article in the FIDE Handbook dealing specifically with the regulations for "08. Women's World Chess Team Championship", states:

6.3.6.6

Prior agreement between players or captains as to the result of individual games or of a match will be penalized with the utmost severity. If any such agreement is proved to have taken place, the points apportioned by it will be forfeited, and the matter will be referred to the appeals committee for the fixing of the penalty.

We are slightly puzzled, since we seem to recall that results of matches in team events (leagues, team championships and even Olympiads) have often been openly agreed in the past – or is our memory deceiving us?

There is another point to be considered: the draw agreement was apparently reached during the round – at least two players have confirmed this. One could perhaps, somewhat generously, say that the above rule only applies to prior agreements, which this wasn't, but there remains the vexing point of who can actually take the decision. We continue to read the FIDE Handbook on Women's World Chess Team Championship:

1.6.3 Composition of teams: 4 players + 1 reserve = 5 (including captain)
1 head of delegation representing Federation – Total - 6 persons
1.6.4 The captain may be either a player or a reserve.
Duties: Leadership of the team in matches – Liaison with the Chief Arbiter.

The draw agreement was probably made between the two captains – IM Li Wenliang for the China One team and Dang Tat Thang for the Vietnamese. Certainly the players at the board did not discuss the matter in the middle of the round. Problem is that according to 1.6.4 the captain of the team should be a player or a reserve player, which Li and Dang were certainly not. In the poignant words of Loretta's grandfather in Moonstruck: we are confused.

Ranking crosstable

Rk. Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
 TB1 
 TB2 
1 China One
 * 
2
1
3
1
3
2
12
21.5
2 Russia
2
 * 
2
2
2
3
3
3
12
21.0
3 Ukraine
3
2
 * 
1
2
2
2
12
20.5
4 Georgia
½
3
 * 
3
3
3
2
11
20.0
5 Armenia
½
2
 * 
2
½
10
18.5
6 Poland
2
2
1
½
 * 
3
10
17.5
7 India
1
1
2
1
 * 
3
3
9
17.5
8 America
3
1
2
1
1
 * 
2
6
16.5
9 China Two
1
1
2
2
 * 
3
6
16.0
10 Vietnam
2
1
½
½
1
2
1
 * 
2
11.0

Links

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Previous reports

World Women's Team Championship in Ningbo
16.09.2009 – We reported recently on the event and the results, but with a disgracefully meager number of pictures. We just didn't have any – until suddenly our friend Ye Rongguang, the first Chinese player in history to gain the GM title, sent us a huge quantity. Rongguang is an avid photographer with professional equipment. Here is part one of a giant pictorial: impressions of Ningbo.

China wins World Women's Team Championship
14.09.2009 – By the skin of their teeth, we might add, half a tiebreak point ahead of Russia, which took Silver, and 1.5 ahead of Ukraine, which took Bronze. In the final round the Chinese team played Vietnam, which was in last position but appeared to be winning two games against the leaders. However, both were suddenly agreed as drawn, which led to suspicion of match fixing. Report and games.
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