1st Hangzhou WGM Tournament - Ju Wenjun wins, Harika becomes GM

by Liang Ziming
7/26/2011 – The 1st Hangzhou Women Grandmaster tournament ended with a superb result by IM Ju Wenjun, with 6.5/9 and a near 2700 performance. It was the strongest women's tournament in history, and was marked also by a 3rd and final GM norm for second-place Dronavalli Harika, making her India's second female GM. With many memorable moments here is a beautiful pictorial by Liang Ziming.

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The 1st Hangzhou Women Tournament – Conclusion

The 1st Hangzhou Women Grandmaster Chess Tournament 2011 was held from July 13th to 24th in Tianyuan Tower in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. Ten top women players competed in this round robin event, including Hou Yifan, Nadezhda Kosintseva, Tatiana Kosintseva, Nana Dzagnidze, Anna Zatonskih, Ju Wenjun, Dronavalli Harika, Marie Sebag, Zhu Chen and Zhao Xue. With an average rating of 2524, this event was the highest rated women’s tournament in chess history, surpassing the famous North Ural Cup in Krasnoturinsk Russia.

After nine rounds of play, 20-year-old WGM Ju Wenjun of China won this women super tournament with a thumping score of 6.5/9 and got her first GM norm. With her first international tournament victory, Ju Wenjun’s live rating climbs to 2539, eleven points shy of her next goal as she told to the press at the closing ceremony.

IM Dronavalli Harika of India, the runner-up one point behind Ju Wenjun, finally realized her dream of becoming a grandmaster by successfully getting her 3rd and final GM norm. She also became the second Indian woman chess player after Koneru Humpy to attain the GM title. Congratulations!

Chinese GM Zhao Xue and Russian GM Nadezhda Kosintseva shared 3rd - 4th places
with 5.0/9. Zhao Xue won the third prize trophy on superior tiebreak.

The reigning Women World Champion Hou Yifan of China wasn’t
in good form, ending 6th place with a subpar score of only 50%.

The Russian beauty Tatiana Kosintseva received a beautiful bouquet of roses from a stranger on the rest day. The bouquet consisted of roses in white, blue and red, the same colors as the Russian national flag. Unfortunately, Tatiana seemed influenced by the mysterious flowers, losing four games in a row in the second half of the event. She finally on a disappointing 9th place with only 3.0/9.

The chief arbiter of the tournament - IA Gao Zhiqian

On the rest day, players and guests had a tour of West Lake, including a yacht cruise, and a sumptuous banquet in Louwailou restaurant which is Hangzhou's oldest and most authentic restaurant, not to mention best, culminating in a fantastic outdoor show of Impression West Lake directed by the renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou.

Yacht cruise on West Lake. Nadezhda Kosintseva and her mother, with Anna
Zatonskih and Daniel Fridman behind.

Anna Zatonskih on the yacht, holding the famous Leifeng Tower in her hand

At the banquet in Louwailou Restaurant, there is a famous traditional dish called Beggar’s Chicken, which is cooked with chicken, Shaoxing wine and the lotus leaf from West Lake. First, the cooks kill a fresh chicken and clean it, adding all kinds of spices, and stuff condiments in chicken's stomach. They then bind it with West Lake lotus leaf, wrapping it with a mixture made of Shaoxing wine, salt water and mud from the wine jar, finally baking it over a steady fire for three to four hours. Because the chicken is cooked in a sealed envelope, the original taste is perfectly kept, with the flavor of wine penetrating into the chicken. Before eating it, special guests are invited to open the mud case with a hammer. Our special guests are Nadezhda Kosintseva, Anna Zatonskih and Hou Yifan.

The players, arbiters, guests, volunteers and journalists posed on the platform of
Louwailou Restaurant, with the West Lake in the background.

After the banquet, the players and guests watched the fantastic outdoor show of
"Impression West Lake", staged entirely upon the West Lake.

The stage of the show is built just three centimeters below the water surface!

“Impression West Lake”, directed by the famous Chinese director Zhang Yimou, also director of the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympiad, is about a joyful but sad love story that took place at West Lake a thousand years ago. The five acts of the show are First meeting, Happiness of marriage, Departure, Retrospection, and Impression. Both Nadezhda Kosintseva and Anna Zatonskih was shocked by the show, and described it as amazing!

Dear Marie Sebag, what are you looking at?

Dronavalli Harika graciously setting the crown straight, or getting ready to run off with it

Newly-wed Nana Dzagnidze trying to find the win

Crown beauties, Zhu Chen and Nadezhda Kosintseva, at the closing ceremony

Nana Dzagnidze, Hou Yifan, Zhu Chen and Nadezhda Kosintseva all treated like queens

Ju Wenjun expressing her feelings at the award ceremony with
the winner's trophy in hand.

Newly titled GM Harika is delighted with her results and looks
forward to coming back in the future.

Chinese GM Zhao Xue poses with her crown and photo.

Hou Yifan won the Best Game Award for her nice win against Marie Sebag in round
two. The prize is a purple mascot called Xixi.

Anna Zatonskih received the Sportsmanship Award

The Most Graceful Player Award goes to Nadezhda Kosintseva

Let me share a flash of this tournament made by Zhao Weining, the director of Zhengjiang TV Station. This flash will show you pictures from the simul, the tour and the closing ceremony. The background music is from the Impression West Lake, collaborated by famous Japanese musician Kitaro and iconic Chinese singer Zhang Liangying (Jane Zhang).

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All photos by Liang Ziming, Zhao Weining and Nie Feng

Final standings



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Liang Ziming has been a chess journalist since 2003 and the New Officer for the Chinese Chess Association since 2011. In 2007, he translated Kasparov's book "How Life Imitates Chess" into Chinese together with the former Women World Champion Xie Jun.


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