74th Ukraine Chess Championship under way

8/31/2005 – The prestigious event in Rivne boasts 18 GMs, nine IMs and the European women's champion. However, our reporter Olena Boytsun prefers to go to the beautiful Schevchenko park, photograph butterflies and read the Da Vinci Code. On the other hand she did find time to send us a report, an interview with Kateryna Lahno and lots of lovely pictures.

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74th Ukraine Chess Championship

Aug. 24 – Sept. 2nd 2005

Report by Olena Boytsun

The 74th Ukrainian Chess Championship started on the 24th of August 2005 in Rivne. The event is a knock-out tournament with 18 GMs playing (out of 32 participants). The top seeds are Zahar Efimenko (2643), Alexander Areshchenko (2625), Vladislav Borovikov (2595), Vladimir Baklan (2584), Valeriy Neverov (2572). Ivanchuk and Ponomariov are missing, but European Women's Champion Kateryna Lahno is participating. The prize fund is 70,000 Hryvnas (approximately US $14,000).

Rivne is the center of the Rivne Oblast, one of the 24th administrative parts of Ukraine. Rivne was first mentioned in 1282 as a trade center of the Halych-Volyn Principality. The population of the city is currently 245,000 people.

So far three rounds have been played. The following four players have qualified to the semi-final: Zahar Efimenko (2643), Alexander Areschenko (2625), Vladislav Borovikov (2595) and Valerij Neverov (2572). The semi-final and final games are scheduled for August 30 – September 2.


The games are played in the Rivne Academic Musical Theater


Elo favourite: 20-year-old Zahar Efimenko (2643) from Kramatorsk


Alexander Areshchenko (2625)


Grandmasters from Dnipropetrovsk: Alexander Moroz vs Vladislav Borovikov


During the second round there was a sensational win of 20-year-old
WGM Anna Ushenina (2389) from Kharkiv against GM Anton Korobov (2554)


20-year-old GM Anton Korobov

Anton Korobov wasn't really happy with his result. Last year in Kharkiv, where mostly all the strongest Ukrainian players participated, Anton reached second place, but this year he went home after the second match. When Korobov came to the press center after losing the game, everyone shouted at him saying he had missed the obvious winning move, a forced mate in two. "Why didn't you yell it out in the playing hall?" Anton said bitterly.

Korobov,Anton (2554) - Ushenina,Anna (2389) [D31]
74th Ukrainian Chess Championship Rivne (2.2), 27.08.2005
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 c6 6.e3 Bf5 7.Nge2 Bd6 8.Ng3 Bg6 9.h4 Bxf4 10.exf4 Nh6 11.h5 Bf5 12.Nxf5 Nxf5 13.Qg4 Qf6 14.Bd3 Nd6 15.0-0-0 Nd7 16.Rhe1+ Kd8 17.Re5 g6 18.g3 Re8 19.Qe2 Qh8 20.Qc2 Nxe5 21.dxe5 Nc8 22.Be4 Nb6 23.Bxd5

23...cxd5? 23...Nxd5 24.Nxd5 Kc8 (24...cxd5 25.Rxd5+ loses quickly) was definitely to be preferred. 24.Nxd5 Nxd5 25.Rxd5+ Ke7 26.Qc5+ Ke6 27.Rd6+ Kf5 28.Qc2+ Kg4 29.Qe2+ Kh3 30.Rd1 Rac8+ 31.Kb1 Red8. With the king alone in the enemy camp, under full attack by two heavy pieces, Black is lost.

32.Rg1. 32.Rh1+ forces mate: 32...Kg2 33.Qe4+ Kxf2 34.Rh2+ Kxg3 35.Rg2+ Kh3 36.Qf3+ Kh4 37.Qg4#. 32...g5 33.Qf1+?? What a terrible mistake! After 33.Qf3 the rook mate on h1 cannot be prevented. After 33.Qf1 the black king can escape. 33...Kg4. Remember that Black is a rook up. Ushenina only needs to secure her king's safety. 34.f3+ Kxh5 35.Qh3+ Kg6 36.f5+ Kg7 37.f6+ Kf8. Back to security on the back rank. Now Black simply wins. 38.f4 h5 39.Qf5 Qg8 40.Qe4 Rd7 41.f5 Qh7 42.a3 Kg8 43.Ka2 Re8 44.g4 h4 45.Rh1 Qh6 0-1. [Click to replay].


The young grandmaster Yuri Kuzubov lost his second match
as well and went back to Kramatorsk the same day.


Kateryna Lahno vs Zahar Efimenko. Kateryna and Anna Ushenina were the only female participants in the Ukrainian Championship. Anna managed to go further, but Kateryna was stopped by the top seed.

Rivne is a beautiful city. Besides the chess tournament there are several other possibilities to spend your time well. You can always...


...feed the swans


... or simply sit on the side and contemplate the meaning of life


For children there are lots of things to do


The braver ones can try their hand at becoming a super-star on a real stage


You can go to the movies in the Cinema Palace Ukraine...


... or gather together with friends on the central square and listen to a live concert

All these possibilities were, of course, very tempting. However, I chose something calmer – taking photos of butterflies in the park, named after Taras Schevchenko, the world-wide famous Ukrainian poet and painter. The park is situated on the way from the playing hall to the hotel "Turist", where all the participants stayed. That is why you could meet the chess players walking there.


It is not easy to get the little guys in focus

You could also meet me in the park before the start of the games reading a book that is not only a world-wide bestseller, but also a very popular one among top grandmasters. It is "The Da Vinci Code". Recently for sure at least three out of the world's top GMs – Anand, Leko, Topalov – said they read it. They say that they enjoyed the book, although one cannot say it affected their lives a lot. I can only add that I respect the author and the publisher who managed to do such a great work promoting the book and the idea.

During the event I spoke with the 2005 European Women's Champion Kateryna Lahno, a very talented young lady from Ukraine. The last time we met with her was in 1997. It was in the semi-finals of the Ukraine championship for girls under 14. Katya was seven at the time, and I did better, qualifying for the Girls U14 World Chess Championship in Cannes, France. Today she is much stronger than me. But then again she has reached the mature age of 15.

What was your first chess competition?

Katya: I don't really remember it in detail, but my parents told me it was when I was four years old in Lviv, my native town. I even won some games and received my first chess certificate as the youngest participant of that chess festival.

You still hold the title of the youngest woman grandmaster as well. How did you manage to break the records? What kind of recommendations could you give to the young girls, who want to achieve the same?

Katya: I just wanted it very much and worked very hard at it, that's all. Recommendations... (smiling) maybe, to read the book by Alexandra Kosteniuk "How I Became Grandmaster At Age 14"?

Did you read it that time? Have you really read Kosteniuk's book?

Katya: No, (laughing) I did my own way. That is why everybody should better do his or her own way.

Have you ever had the idea to write the book about your story?

Katya: Maybe, however, it requires a lot of time and money. All the publishing questions... I believe Kosteniuk made the book for advertisement aims, first of all. It is good self-advertising move. Of course, now it is also very important to promote the ideas, not only to develop them.

Well, you do understand that you have just made good advertising for Kosteniuk's book?

Katya: - (laughs) ...

Do you have someone who looks after your own advertisement, develops a general PR strategy?

Katya: No, not really... (remembers) wait, there was such a person! Veniamin Naumovich Amitan. He helped me a lot, when I lived in Kramatorsk. Unfortunately, he died recently...

You live in Donetsk now, right?

Katya: Yes, I moved from Kramatorsk, and the mayor of Donetsk presented a flat to me and my family. I have now good conditions for chess training.

Could you maybe describe a bit - why do you train? What is your aim in chess?

Katya: I would rather not talk about it before I actually achieve it.

Ok, then let's make a deal – when you make your dream true you will tell me: that was it, I worked hard, and I achieved it. Then we will do another interview for ChessBase.

Katya: It's a deal. I promise.

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