Croatian talent Lara Stock makes WGM

9/10/2007 – She is just fifteen, and well on her way to becoming Croatia's strongest female player. At the Ninth International Chess Festival in Trieste (Italy) she scored 5.5 points in seven games, defeating two GMs and chalking up a 2550 performance. That was enough for her final WGM norm – a draw in the last round would have made it a full GM norm. Meet Lara Stock.

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Croatian talent Lara Stock makes WGM

By Valery Golubenko

During the 9th International Festival of Trieste 1-8 Sep 2007, 15-year-old WIM Lara Stock from Croatia performed her third and the last WGM norm. This traditional event is dedicated to the local chess society which was founded more than a century ago, yet in 1904. Trieste is a small Italian town near the Croatian boarder – Trst in Croatian, without a vowel!

Croatian super-talent Lara Stock

Plani,A (1906) - Stock,L (2297) [A00]
Trieste Master (1), 01.09.2007
1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 d4 3.Nce2 e5 4.Ng3 Nc6 5.Bc4 Qf6 6.N1e2 h5 7.h4 Na5 8.Bb3 Nxb3 9.axb3 d3 10.cxd3 Ne7 11.d4 exd4 12.d3 Bg4 13.Bg5 Qb6 14.Qc2 Be6 15.0-0 Bxb3 16.Qd2 f6 17.Bf4 Nc6 18.Nc1 Be6 19.Qe2 Qb5 20.Bxc7 Rc8 21.Bf4 g5 22.hxg5 fxg5 23.Bd2 Rc7 24.Nf5 Bxf5 25.exf5+ Re7 26.Qf3 g4 27.Qd1 Qxf5 28.Ne2 h4 29.Nf4 Bh6 30.Ne2 Qxd3 31.Bxh6 Qxe2 32.Qc1 h3 33.Qg5 Qe6 34.Rfe1 Qxh6 35.Qxg4 Ne5 36.Qc8+ Kf7 37.Qf5+ Qf6 38.Qxf6+ Kxf6 39.gxh3 Nf3+ 0-1. [Click to replay]

On her toes – Lara beating Andrea Plani in round one

In the second round Lara outplayed another Croatian participant, IM Marin Bosiocic, 2496, and then in the third round GM Dusko Pavasovic, rated 2584, from Slovenia, who shared the first place at the recent European Championship in Dresden this April, among 403 players!

Stock,L (2297) - Pavasovic,D (2584) [D45]
Trieste Master (3), 02.09.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.b3 0-0 8.Be2 Re8 9.0-0 dxc4 10.bxc4 e5 11.Rb1 Qe7 12.Bb2 e4 13.Nd2 Nf8 14.Rfc1 Ng6 15.a4 h5 16.c5 Bc7 17.Ba3 Qe6 18.Nc4 Nh4 19.Nd6 Bxd6 20.cxd6

20... Nxg2? 21.d7!! Qxd7 22.Kxg2 Qh3+ 23.Kg1. Now the bishop can defend the white king from d6 (the point of 21.d7!) in case of 23…Ng4. 23...Re6 24.Bf1 Qh4 25.Bg2 Ng4 26.h3 Nh6

Position after 26...Nh6 of Stock-Pavasevic. Black already has no chances to escape.

27.Ne2 Re8 28.Ng3 Bxh3 29.Rxb7 Bxg2 30.Kxg2 Qg4 31.Qe2 Qc8 32.Rb5 h4 33.Nh5 Qa6 34.Nf6+ Kh8 35.Nxe8 cxb5 36.Nc7 Qg6+ 37.Kh3 Rc8 38.axb5 Qg5 39.Kh2 Ng4+ 40.Kh1 Qf5 41.Rc5 Nxf2+ 42.Kg1 Qg6+ 43.Kxf2 Qg3+ 44.Kf1 h3 45.Nd5 Rxc5 46.Qh5+ Kg8 47.Ne7+ Kf8 48.Bxc5 Qg2+ 49.Ke1 Qg1+ 50.Kd2 Qf2+ 51.Kc3 Qxe3+ 52.Kc4 Qd3+ 53.Kd5 Qb3+ 54.Kc6 Qe6+ 55.Kc7 f5 56.Qh8+ Kf7 57.Qg8+ Kf6 58.Nd5+ 1-0. [Click to replay]

Two young talents, both born in 1992, met in the fourth round. Fabiano won. Now both are awaiting their next higher chess titles: GM and WGM.

Actually Lara was very lucky in the sixth round vs Serbian GM Sinisa Drazic, rated 2480.

Drazic,S (2480) - Stock,L (2297) [D36]
Trieste Master (6), 05.09.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.e3 Be7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.Bd3 c6 8.Qc2 h6 9.Bh4 0-0 10.Nge2 Re8 11.f3 Qc7 12.0-0-0 Bf8 13.Bf2 Nb6 14.Kb1 Bb4 15.h3 Nc4 16.e4 a5 17.g4 b5 18.e5 Nd7 19.f4 a4 20.g5 hxg5 21.Rhg1 Bxc3 22.Nxc3 gxf4 23.Ne2 b4 24.Bxc4 dxc4 25.Nxf4 b3?

White (Drazic) struck a decisive blow: 26.Rxg7+! Kxg7 27.Rg1+ Kf8 28.Qh7 (missing immediate and simple 28.Ng6+! fxg6 29.Qxg6 etc.) 28…Nxe5 29.Bh4?? 29.dxe5 wins quickly. 29…Bf5+! 30.Qxf5 bxa2

31.Ka1?? Drazic now misses the draw after 31.Kxa2 a3 32.Qh7 axb2+ 33.Kb1 Ra1+ 34.Kc2 Rxg1 35.Qh8+ Rg8 36.Qh6+. 31…a3! 32.bxa3 Qb6 33.Rd1 Qb3 34.Rc1 Qxa3 35.Qc2 Rab8 36.Ne6+ (despair) 36…Rxe6 37.dxe5 Rxe5 38.Qd2 Rb1+ 0-1. [Click to replay]

After this victory Lara’s rating performance exceeded 2600, with 4.5 points scored and the last WGM norm already guaranteed! She reached the first board and had to face the tournament leader GM Sergei Tiviakov, rated 2648, who had scored one point more.

Sergey Tiviakov (right) on move 38 of his first round game against Frank Hilmer

In the game Tiviakov-Stock already after 12 moves black had a big advantage:

Tiviakov,S (2648) - Stock,L (2297) [B23]
Trieste Master (7), 06.09.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 e5 6.Qe2 Be7 7.f4 exf4 8.Bxf4 Qb6 9.0–0–0 Be6 10.Nf3 Qa5 11.Bd2 b5 12.b3 0–0

13.Kb1 Qc7 14.h3 a5 15.Ng5 a4 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Rhf1 axb3 18.cxb3 Qe5 19.Rc1

Draw? Black has an almost decisive advantage, for example after 19…Nh5 or Nd7, but by all appearances the famous GM offered a draw… [Click to replay]

Tiviakov ponders after the move 15...a4

The Dutch Super-GM about to offer a draw

In the eighth round Lara drew another Dutch player, IM Willy Hendriks 2420, and had a chance of raising her performance again over 2600 and achieving her first GM (not WGM!) norm. For that she needed just to make a draw with white pieces vs Ukrainian GM Vladimir Baklan 2648. Regrettably Lara lost her last game. Victory was very necessary to Vladimir to share the first prize with Sergei Tiviakov, and he reached it at last. BTW, both winners have the same rating: 2648.

Final standings

Now after this big success by Lara Stock it is possible to predict that she wi’ll become the number one player in the Croatian women's team. It is interesting that during the Trieste event an Estonian WIM, Valentina Golubenko, rated 2316, became a Croatian player after the corresponding transfer due to well-known problems.

GM Sergey Tiviakov, winner of Trieste

One game by the tournament winner:

Tiviakov,S (2648) - Borisek,J (2506) [C77]
Trieste Master (3), 02.09.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.Qe2. Sergei Tiviakov likes this move. 5…b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.a4 Bb7 8.c3 0–0 9.0–0 d5 10.d4 Nxe4 11.dxe5 Nc5 12.Bc2 b4 13.Rd1 Ne6 14.a5 bxc3 15.bxc3 Na7 16.Na3 c5 17.Nc4! Qc7 18.Nb6 Rad8

19.Nxd5! Bxd5 20.Rxd5 Rxd5 21.Qe4 g6 22.Qxd5 Nc6 23.h4 Rd8 24.Qe4 Nxa5 25.h5 c4 26.hxg6 hxg6 27.Be3 Nb3 28.Rxa6 Nbc5 29.Bxc5 Nxc5

30.Rxg6+ fxg6 31.Qxg6+ Kf8 32.Qh6+ Ke8 33.Bg6+ Kd7 34.Bf5+ Ke8

White is winning, but 35.Qh3? 35.Qh8+ Kf7 36.Ng5+ Bxg5 37.Qh7+ was quite simple. 35…Kf8?? Black could have escaped after 35…Rd1+ 36.Kh2 Bf8, and even had chances to win. 36.Qh8+ 1-0. [Click to replay]


The author

Dr Valery Golubenko was born in 1961. In 1978 proposed his own definition of the unit of imaginary numbers in higher mathematics, and in 1991 he completed a PhD in mathematics and database search. Valery has worked with the Chess Informant since 1985. He was the Champion of Estonia in rapid chess from 1993 – 1995. and three times winner on board one in Estonian Team Championships, in 1986 (ahead of Jaan Ehlvest and Lembit Oll), 2003, and 2004. He is married and has two daughters, aged 16 and 4. Valery Golubenko runs the Chess Club Diagonaal, Kohtla-Järve, Estonia.

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