Stefanova's travels in Maribor, Slovenia and China

7/24/2019 – The Slovenian city of Maribor celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first chess club in the city this year. A number of well-known grandmasters took this opportunity to participate in this year's chess festival, among them, Antoaneta Stefanova, women's world champion from 2004 to 2006. From there she won the strong Women's Open in Shaoxing, China, scoring 7 points from 9 games. The Bulgarian, born in 1979 and the mother of a nine-month-old girl, remained undefeated and ended up one point ahead of China's Guo Qi, Harika Dronavalli of India and Munguntuul Batkhuyag from Mongolia, who shared places two to four.

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Impressions from the Maribor Chess festival

by Miša Hrenič 

Stefanova

The atmosphere in Maribor, Slovenia was especially festive this year, as the chess players are celebrated the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the first chess club in the city (Mariborski SK). The European Chess Academy also shared the festive spirit with its traditional Festival, which stretched to nine days this year.

Between June 20th and June 28th the city of Maribor almost traditionally transformed into the main venue of the various chess events under the slogan “smart game for smart city” that brought together many chess lovers from Slovenia and abroad and at the same time the city hosted some chess stars as well.   

This year’s date of events coincided with the city’s traditional Lent festival — for the first time chess players became a part of the official Festival’s program, which every year attracts thousands of people. 

The founders of European chess academy Georg Mohr and Adrian Mikhalchisin together with the academy’s main sponsor Evgeny Ushakov, president of the ECU Zurab Azmaiparashvili and the former women World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova opened the series of different interesting events with the press conference. 

Kasparov

Maribor Summer campers snag autographs from 13th World Champion Garry Kasparov

Two top tournaments in Slovenia

Azmaiparashvili attracted a lot of attention with the announcement of the two important upcoming events in years 2020 and 2021 that will be organized by the European Chess Academy: the European Individual Chess Championship, which will be held in Radenci, Slovenia next year and the European Team Chess Championship which will be organized a year after in Portoroz, Slovenia. 

The days of chess started with an interesting match “Dwarf against Giant” — a match between senior grandmasters from Maribor and senior grandmasters from Russia.

Grandmasters Adrain Mikhalchisin, Alexander Beliavsky and Georg Mohr represented Maribor’s team and played against Evgeny Sveshnikov, Yuri Balashov and Nukhim Rashkovsky from Russia. 

Sveshnikov against Mikhailchishin

They played a double-Scheveningen system and despite the tense and fairly equal fight the grandmaster from Maribor had to admit defeat in the end. The Russian grandmasters won 10 to 8.

 

The next day was marked by many simultaneous exhibitions with the former women World Chess Champion Antoaneta Stefanova as the main star. Many chess players had the opportunity to play against her in a very special place of the Regional museum of Maribor — the arcades of the city castle.

Despite the opponent fighting hard Antoaneta only made 4 draws and won 16 times.

Antoaneta Stefanova playing a simul

Besides her, other simultaneous exhibitions were also played on the same day in other locations in the city. Grandmasters Mikhalchisin, Rashkovsky and Sveshnikov played against the participants of the summer chess camp and together made eight draws and lost one game.

Grandmaster Balashov played against other interested chess players in one of Maribor’s clubs SK Branik. His opponents managed to escape with one win and 4 draws.



Heading East — The Shaoxing Women's Open

By Johannes Fischer

Antoaneta Stefanova scored an easy start-finish victory at the 2019 Belt and Road China Yuecheng Shaoxing International Women Chess Open. After starting with 6 of 7, she finished the tournament with two draws in rounds 8 and 9, securing sole first place.

An important step on the way to winning the tournament was her victory against the Russian Olga Girya, who went on a pawn grabbing spree with her queen in the opening, neglected her development and came to regret it.

IM Sagar Shah annotates this and Stefanova's other wins below:

 

Click or tap a game in the list to switch games

Final standings (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Stefanova Antoaneta 7,0 2428
2 Guo Qi 6,0 2479
3 Harika Dronavalli 6,0 2409
4 Munguntuul Batkhuyag 6,0 2391
5 Ushenina Anna 5,5 2461
6 Zhu Jiner 5,5 2438
7 Kosteniuk Alexandra 5,5 2431
8 Girya Olga 5,5 2401
9 Dzagnidze Nana 5,5 2361
10 Ni Shiqun 5,0 2421
11 Soumya Swaminathan 5,0 2407
12 Tan Zhongyi 5,0 2391
13 Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 5,0 2341
14 Munkhzul Turmunkh 5,0 2334
15 Lei Tingjie 5,0 2318
16 Batsiashvili Nino 5,0 2246
17 Li Xueyi 4,5 2435
18 Zhang Lanlin 4,5 2413
19 Pratyusha Bodda 4,5 2402
20 Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim 4,5 2398

34 Players...

All games

 


Pirc Memorial Tournament

The tournament was organized by the ECA in cooperation with the best Slovenian chess club ZSK Maribor. In all, 127 players from 17 different countries attended the blitz tournament, among them were seven grandmasters and eight international masters. The ECU President Zurab Azmaiparashvili from Georgia won the tournament convincingly, followed by Stefanova in second with the third place was shared by Branko Rogulj from Croatia and the best Slovenian Jernej Skuhala.

The happy winners

Summer camp for young players

In the next few days the string of events finished off with the Summer chess camp that is organized every year and this year brought together more than 50 mostly young chess players from Slovenia and abroad. Players from 17 different countries were attracted by the camp’s program, which afforded participants not only chess lectures by some of the world's top trainers, but also a rich accompanying program. The camp reached its peak on the last day when the participants were taken to Zagreb, Croatia to watch the elite grandmasters playing in the Grand Chess Tour.

Kasparov with the young talents

The young chess players had the unique opportunity to see this tournament live and some of them got lucky enough to get their photos taken with some of their role models or get their autograph. But the happiness for them didn’t end there — even the legendary Garry Kasparov took some time especially for them and dedicated some words of encouragement to the players. Every participant also took a photo with him and got his autograph.

In general European chess academy successfully cooperated with Kasparov Chess Foundation. The foundation sent some of their members to the summer chess camp and European Chess Academy sent some of theirs to the special group of young players that were training with Garry himself from June 29th until July 1st in Zagreb. Among them was also the best Slovenian Jan Subelj to whom the ECA supports, one of many young talents that the academy helps in their development.

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