Atatürk Istanbul: Cramling and Hou Yifan in the lead

by ChessBase
3/18/2008 – With two rounds to go in this super women's tournament the most senior and most junior players are in the lead: Pia Cramling and Hou Yifan have 5.5/7 points each. The Swedish veteran beat the previous round's leader Ekaterina Atalik, while the 14-year-old Chinese girl took a point from US IM Irina Krush. Turkish junior Betül Yildiz also won her game. Illustrated report.

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İş Bankası - Atatürk International Women Masters Chess Tournament

The tournament, announced in December last year, will take place from March 10th (arrival) to March 21 (departure) 2008. The venue is the İş Bankası Towers Complex, which has a total area of 225,000 square meters. It is the largest of its kind on the European continent. Games start at 14:30h local time (= GMT +2h). March 19 is a free day. The games are being broadcast on

Round seven report

Ti. Name Rtg
Ti. Name Rtg
GM CHEN Zhu 2548
WIM YILDIZ Betul Cemre 2207
IM ATALIK Ekaterina 2408
WGM YIFAN Hou 2527
IM KRUSH Irina 2473
WGM XUE Zhao 2517

The crucial game between Ekaterina Atalik and Pia Cramling, which could prove decisive in determining the ultimate winner of this tournament, ended as a loss for the "home" side, playing with black pieces. The opposite bishop endgame was quite bad for Black, since the white king had a path to come and support the d-pawn, but the black king was out of play. This enabled White to win the endgame and captured the leadership flag from Atalik.

The game between Zhao Xue and Harika Dronavalli ended as a draw after a long fight, but it should have been winning for White, as the two discovered in an amazing post-mortem. The analysis was a joy to watch, with the players moving through the variations at high speed.

Anna Ushenina and Zhu Chen had a quick draw one of the rare instances in the competition. Irina Krush lost to Chinese wonder, 14-year-old Hou Yifan. The game is annotated by IM David Pruess.

Cramling Pia (GM) - Atalik Ekaterina (IM) [D38]
Isbank Ataturk International Women Maste Istanbul (7), 17.03.2008

Half a point behind, with three rounds to go GM Cramling held the white pieces against the leading IM Atalik. It was a chance to pull ahead in the home stretch, and take her chances at first place into her own hands. She did not achieve much of an advantage out of the opening. Despite the presence of dark squared weaknesses on the black kingside, and possession of the only dark squared bishop, no good aggressive opportunities ever presented themselves. But she kept playing, and finally an opportunity did present itself. In the Q+ opposite colored Bishop endgame, Atalik failed to challenge the good squares Cramling had found for her pieces. These two pieces were able to make strong enough threats against the black king to force Atalik to sacrifice a pawn and bail out into a bishop ending, which Cramling converted without difficulty.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.e3 c5 8.Bd3 Qa5 9.Qc2 c3 does not actually require defense but Qc2 is a useful enough move, developing and fighting for control of e4. 9...c4 10.Bf5 0-0 11.0-0 Re8 12.Nd2 g6 13.Bxd7. Another approach to the opening would be 13.Bh3. 13...Nxd7 14.Bh4. Preparation for 14.e4? Bxc3 15.bxc3 dxe4 16.Nxe4? (16.Be3 Qd5) 16...Rxe4 17.Qxe4 Qxg5-+.

14...Nb6. I think Black could radically prevent e4 with the further weakening 14...f5 15.a3. A cool move would be 15.g4?! but sadly it lacks in effectiveness. 15...Nb6 (Black can probably also take this pawn, but most humans would prefer Nb6 15...fxg4 16.e4) ) 15...Bxc3 (15...Bf8? 16.b4 cxb3 17.Nxb3 Qc7 18.Bg3±; 15...Bd6 16.b4 cxb3 17.Nxb3 Qc7 18.Bg3) 16.bxc3 in spite of the many kingside weaknesses, it doesn't seem White has any way to get at them soon. This may be an acceptable position for Black.

15.e4 Bxc3 16.bxc3 dxe4 17.Nxe4 Nd5. 17...Bf5? 18.Nf6+ Kh8 (18...Kg7 19.Nxe8+; 18...Kf8 19.Qd2) 19.Qd2+-. 18.Rae1 Bd7. Slightly preferable might be 18...Bf5 19.f3 Kg7 (19...Bxe4!? 20.fxe4 Nxc3 21.Re3 Nb5 22.Qxc4 Nd6 23.Qb3 Qb6 seems very close to equal) 20.g4 Bd7 21.Bg3 f6 is balanced 22.Nc5 Bc6. 19.f3 Qa3 20.Qd2 Re6 21.Nc5. The queen on a3 can defend the kingside: 21.Qh6 Qf8. 21...Rxe1 22.Rxe1 Bc6 23.Ne4 Re8 24.Nf6+ Nxf6 25.Bxf6 Rxe1+ 26.Qxe1 h6?! 26...Qd6+/=. It seems logical to immediately challenge the Bf6 which is hemming in the black king. After this centralization of the black queen, I don't think Katya would have had too much to fear.

27.Qe5. The white pieces have assumed extremely dominating positions. At some point white will make mate threats against the black king. 27...Qc1+? The white pieces must be challenged! this seems like the last chance: 27...Qf8 28.h4 Qe8+/= and White's advantage is under control.

28.Kf2 Kh7. Black's defenses are probably inadequate now. If she tries: 28...Qd2+ 29.Kg3 g5 30.h4 Qf4+ 31.Qxf4 gxf4+ 32.Kxf4 this endgame will probably be lost, like in the game. 29.h4! If 29.Bh8 Qd2+ 30.Kg3 Qg5+ 31.Qxg5 hxg5 32.Bf6 Black is quite likely to save the endgame. 29...Qc2+ 30.Kg3. On an indifferent move follows Bh8. Black no longer has better than to make a very unfavorable exchange of queens. More even than the loss of a pawn, the white king's easy path into the center (supporting the d5 pawn) decides. 30...Qf5 31.Qxf5 gxf5 32.h5! A doubly virtuous move! White keeps the black king from joining the white king in the center via g6. Also white nails down the Ph6, so that even if the black king eventually went to the center, white might win with Bg7. 32...b5 The black queenside pawns provide minimal counterplay. The other defense would have been: 33.a3 a5 34.Kf4 Kg8 35.Kxf5 b4 36.cxb4 axb4 37.axb4 c3 38.d5 c2 39.Bb2 Bxd5 40.b5 Kf8 41.Ke5 Be4 42.Kxe4 1-0. [Click to replay]

Standings after seven rounds

Picture Gallery

Thanks for the smile: IM Lela Javakhishvili of Georgia, rated 2474, no. 14 in the world

17-year-old talent from India: WGM Harika Dronavalli, rated 2455, no. 13 in the world

Hou Yifan at the start of her round seven game against IM Irina Krush (Hou won)

A familiar face kibitzing in the game Lela Javakhishvili vs Betül Yildiz: FIDE Honorary President Florencio Campomanes, who is attending the Presidential board meeting in Istanbul

The joy and pain of Internet transmission: TCF officer Fatma Yildiz (no relation to Betül), coordinator of the live broadcast, and Emine Yanik, Sysop on Playchess Turkey

Özgür Solakoglu, Board member of the Turkish Chess Federation and manager of the national teams, making sure that the broadcast is running smoothly

Campo vs Emine: dedicated blitz player Florencio Campomanes takes on WFM Emine Yanik

Campo had a rough time against the Playchess Sysop, whom he called "Emily"

After the game Irina Krush and her second David Pruess analyse her loss to Hou Yifan

Betül Cemre (pronounce gem-re) beaming after winning a second game in this tournament

An animated session between Zhao Xue and Harika Dronavalli (their game was drawn)

The last game of the day is analysed and dissected by these two talented young girls

Making a point with a handfull of pieces

Pictures by Frederic Friedel in Istanbul


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