Favourites falter in Ekaterinburg

3/15/2006 – Round one saw some high-ranking players knocked out, after round two we can bid goodbye to the world's two highest ranking females (after Judit Polgar) and the reigning women's world champion. Only Alexandra Kosteniuk, number four in the world, remains, having won all her games so far. Big report with remarkable pictures by Pufichek.

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Women's World Championship

Ekaterinburg, Russia, March 10–27, 2006

The World Women's Championship is being held from 10-27 March 2006, in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

The knockout event has 64 participants, with reigning world champion Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria defending her title.

India's Koneru Humpy, the highest-ranking participant in this event, played two draws against Marie Sebag of France, only to throw away both rapid games – in the second she actually managed to lose a double-rook endgame where she was two pawns up.


Out – top seed GM Koneru Humpy, Elo 2537


Marie Sebag of France

The reigning women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova and Polish IM Iweta Radziewicz won a game each. Then Stefanova lost the first rapid game and after that... well see for yourself:

Radziewicz,I (2421) - Stefanova,A (2499) [A21]
FIDE WCh Women KO Ekaterinburg RUS (2.4), 14.03.2006


Position after 44.Be4-f3

Here Stefanova did not go for the obvious pin 44...Bb7 to get winning play after 45.Rxc4 Bxf3, but instead drifted with 44...Bxh3 45.Rc7 Bf5 46.Bc6 Rb8? (46...Rc8 was required) 47.Bd4 Nc2 48.Bd5+ Kf8 49.Bc5+ Ke8 50.Rxa7 Rc8?? (allowing mate) 51.Bf7+ Kd8 52.Be7# 1-0.


Still reigning world champion Antoaneta Stefanova


... vanquished by Polish IM Iweta Radziewicz

In her first game against Peng Zhaoquin second seed Pia Kramling played well to reach a winning position, which she duly went on to lose:

Cramling,P (2515) - Peng Zhaoqin (2407) [D40]
FIDE WCh Women KO Ekaterinburg RUS (2.1), 13.03.2006


Position after 66...Re5-b5

The game should have continued something like this: 67.a6 Rxb3 68.a7 Rb1+ 69.Kg2 Ra1 70.Rf7+ Kg4 71.Nb6 Ra2+ 72.Kf1 Ra1+ 73.Kf2 Ra2+ (or 73...Ne4+ 74.Ke3 Nd6 75.Rf4+ Kg3 76.Ra4) 74.Ke3 with excellent winning prospects. Instead Pia Cramling tried to defend her b-pawn with 67.Rf7+ Kg3 68.Nd2 Nd5 69.a6 Ra5 and relinquished her final winning chances with 70.Rf3+? Kg4 71.Rd3 Nf4 72.Rd6 Kg3 73.Ne4+ Kf3 74.Nd2+ Kg3 75.Ne4+ Kf3 76.Nc3 Ra1+ 77.Nd1 g5 and then going on to lose with 78.Ke1? g4 79.Rd7 g3 80.a7 g2 81.Rg7 Rxa7 82.Rg8 Ra2 0-1.


Sweden's GM Pia Cramling, number three in the world


... eliminated by the world's number 47, Peng Zhaoqin


Number four in the world: Alexandra Kosteniuk

And look what happenen to Alexandra Kosteniuk. No, wait a minute, she won both her games, again. After a brief moment of danger in her very first game in this tournament Alexandra has completely dominated her opponents, winning all four of her games so far. People tend to forget that aside from her glamour ads and movie roles she is, after all, the world's number four player, including Judit Polgar.


Going through well: veteran GM Maia Chiburdanidze


WGM Xu Yuhua of China, Elo 2502

Former women's world champion Maia Chiburdanidze went through, as did China's Xu Yuhua, the other 2500+ player in this event. We would do well to watch the Chinese player Hou Yifan, who has scored 3½/4 so far. Hou is just twelve years old. And finally, for some abstract reason, we see Peng going all the way to the finals.


An extraordinary talent: 12-year-old Hou Yifan

All of these remarkable photos by courtesy of Pufichek
of www.kosteniuk.com

Results of round two

  Name   Rtng   G1  G2  R1  R2  B1  B2  SD  Total
  Round 2 Match 01
 Stefanova, Antoaneta (BUL) 2499 1 0 0 0       1
 Radziewicz, Iweta (POL) 2421 0 1 1 1       3
  Round 2 Match 02
 Sebag, Marie (FRA) 2415 ½ ½ 1 1       3
 Koneru, Humpy (IND) 2537 ½ ½ 0 0       1
  Round 2 Match 03
 Cramling, Pia (SWE) 2515 0 ½           0,5
 Peng, Zhaoqin (NED) 2407 1 ½           1,5
  Round 2 Match 04
 Danielian, Elina (ARM) 2423 0 0           0
 Kosteniuk, Alexandra (RUS) 2514 1 1           2
  Round 2 Match 05
 Chiburdanidze, Maia (GEO) 2511 1 ½           1,5
 Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan (GEO) 2426 0 ½           0,5
  Round 2 Match 06
 Ushenina, Anna (UKR) 2398 ½ 0           0,5
 Xu, Yuhua (CHN) 2502 ½ 1           1,5
  Round 2 Match 07
 Zapata, Karen (PER) 2218 0 ½           0,5
 Matveeva, Svetlana (RUS) 2428 1 ½           1,5
  Round 2 Match 08
 Khurtsidze, Nino (GEO) 2430 ½ 1           1,5
 Arribas, Maritza (CUB) 2261 ½ 0           0,5
  Round 2 Match 09
 Hou, Yifan (CHN) 2269 1 1           2
 Zhukova, Natalia (UKR) 2432 0 0           0
  Round 2 Match 10
 Javakhishvili, Lela (GEO) 2444 1 0 0 0       1
 Vijayalakshmi, Subbaraman (IND) 2479 0 1 1 1       3
  Round 2 Match 11
 Kosintseva, Tatiana (RUS) 2479 1 ½           1,5
 Krush, Irina (USA) 2447 0 ½           0,5
  Round 2 Match 12
 Dzagnidze, Nana (GEO) 2452 ½ ½ 0 ½       1,5
 Ju, Wenjun (CHN) 2290 ½ ½ 1 ½       2,5
  Round 2 Match 13
 Cmilyte, Viktorija (LTU) 2475 ½ ½ 0 1 1 1   4
 Ruan, Lufei (CHN) 2361 ½ ½ 1 0 0 0   2
  Round 2 Match 14
 Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina (RUS) 2458 1 ½           1,5
 Kursova, Maria (RUS) 2319 0 ½           0,5
  Round 2 Match 15
 Qin, Kanying (CHN) 2469 ½ ½ ½ 1       2,5
 Houska, Jovanka (ENG) 2355 ½ ½ ½ 0       1,5
  Round 2 Match 16
 Lujan, Carolina (ARG) 2346 1 0 0 0       1
 Galliamova, Alisa (RUS) 2467 0 1 1 1       3

Schedule

Opening Ceremony/Players' meeting 10 March
Round 1: 2 days play + tiebreaks 11-12 March
Round 2: 2 days play + tiebreaks 13-14 March
Round 3: 2 days play + tiebreaks 15-16 March
Free Day 1 day free 17 March
Round 4: 2 days play + tiebreaks 18-19 March
Round 5: 2 days play + tiebreaks 20-21 March
Free Day 1 day free 22 March
Round 6: 4 days play 23-26 March
Tie-breaks/Closing Ceremony: 27 March

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