Fifth Bykova Memorial – the glamour tournament of the year

by ChessBase
1/11/2008 – Elisaveta Bykova, the third Women's World Champion (1953-56), was born in a town near the former Russian capital of Vladimir. Every year there is a memorial tournament for Bykova, and this year it was an especially attractive affair. Not just because of the beautiful historical location, and the exciting chess. The highlight was a glamour shoot with the girls. Spectacular photo report.

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Fifth Elizaveta Bykova Memorial Tournament in Vladimir

Report by Irina Sudakova and Anastasia Karlovich

Photos A. Karlovich, A. Burtasova, S. Biriukov, A. Shirshov, "Mir Foto" studio

The 5th Elizaveta Bykova Memorial took place in Vladimir from December 13 to 23. Not the first time here, we couldn't help comparing it to previous iterations – and have to say the tournament is becoming better and better every year.

Vladimir is an ancient city, and from 1157 until the later rise of Moscow in the
14th century, it was the capital of Russia

Elisaveta Ivanovna Bykova was born in 1913 in Bogolyubovo (really!) to a peasant family. Her family moved to Moscow when she was twelve and she began to play chess with her brother. Her talent became apparent in 1927, when she won her school’s chess championship.

In 1935 Vera Menchik, the women’s world champion, visited Moscow, and this inspired Bykova to improve her chess. She devoted herself to the game and two years later captured the Moscow women’s chess championship. After the war, which disrupted her career, Bykova resumed serious tournament play and began to dominate international competition. She won the Soviet championship in 1947, 1948, and 1950. In 1950 she also tied for third place in the women’s world championship.

Elizaveta Bykova, World Champion 1953-56 and 1958-62

In 1952 Bykova won the candidates tournament, which allows players to challenge the current world champion. The following year she defeated a fellow Soviet, Ludmilla Rudenko, to become women’s world champion. In 1956 Bykova lost the championship to Soviet Olga Rubtsova, but she regained the title in 1958. Bykova retained her championship until 1962, when Soviet Nona Gaprindashvili defeated her.

The memorial was organized by the Vladimir regional chess federation, together with the "Electropribor" factory and the people behind them – Sergey Biriukov, Sergey Solonets, Viktor Sapronov, Vitaly Mariushkin and others. This time there were four tournaments in the festival program: the women's traditional round-robin tournament, the open stage of the Russian Cup, accompanied by two closed qualification tournaments with IM and GM norms. The open section was won by D. Charochkina with stunning 8.5 out of 10, followed by O. Iljushina (7.5) and E. Borisova (7).

No. Sd. Player Ti. Rtng pts
1 1 Charochkina, Daria WGM 2403
2 10 Iljushina, Olga WIM 2221
3 6 Borisova, Elizaveta   2267 7
4 2 Bodnaruk, Anastasia WFM 2331
5 3 Romanko, Marina WGM 2313
6 5 Petrenko,Svetlana IM 2272
7 7 Bezgodova, Svetlana   2238
8 4 Shaidullina, Sandugach WGM 2296
9 9 Ambartsumova, Karina WFM 2228 6
10 22 Kindinova, Ekaterina   2061 6
11 11 Savina, Anastasia   2202 6
12 8 Lupik, Marina   2237 6

Daria Charochkina, who won the Open with a stunning 8.5/10

IM Svetlana Petrenko, who scored 6½/10

In the main section last year winner Irina Vasilevich from Russia was leading most part of the distance, but after dramatic loss to Natalia Zdebskaja (Ukraine) in round 8 Irina finished only the 3rd, while Natalia shared the 1st place with Lilit Mkrtchian of Armenia.

The local girl in the tournament was Anna Burtasova from Vladimir. Everyone in the city was cheering for Anna to get her final wgm norm. Unfortunately, she was not in the best form this time and didn't perform well enough, but we do wish her to achieve the goal as soon as possible – even before the next Bykova's memorial!

Local hero Anna Burtasova

The playing hall for the 5th Elizaveta Bykova Memorial in Vladimir

The round has started, the players are fully concentrated

Siranush Andriasian vs Anna Burtasova in round eight (White won in 35 moves)

Anastazia Karlovich vs Anna Sharevich in round eight (draw in 41 moves)

Main arbiter Mikhail Kriukov solving problems with Lilit Mkrtchian and Siranush Andriasian

WIM Siranush Andriasian from Armenia

Watching her carefully: Anna Sharevich

The winner of the tournament: WGM Natalia Zdebskaja

The ladies, warmly dressed, in front of the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir

On the free day the organizers offered us a fascinating excursion around the historic center of the city, and a trip to Bogolubovo – the place where the third world champion Elizaveta Bykova was born in 1913 and where the Grand Prince Andrey Bogolubsky lived many centuries earlier.

Tournament winner Natalia Zdebskaja poses in front of the cloister complex

Nastja in the Snow – Anastazia Karlovich

Irina Sudakova in the Mikhailo-Arkhangelsky Cloister complex

Natalia Zdebskaja, Irina Vasilevich and Eugenia Mescheriakova

When entering the nunnery female visitors are given makeshift skirts to cover their jeans or slacks, and scarfs to cover their heads. That was the only way to enter religious places. Anna Sharevich was found to be too beautiful – she didn't pass the face-control to visit this one. But she was warmly invited to enter "The Princess cloister" in the center of Vladimir.

A note to readers who would like to play some chess and enjoy the special spirit of ancient Russia at the same time – but are scared of the Russian winter: the Vladimir open is held every year in second half of August.

Glamour shoot

During the tournament all participants were invited to the "Mir Foto" studio for a glamour shoot. We are extremely grateful to Sergey Biriukov, who came up with thie wonderful idea, and the photographers who made us forget about the tournament's highs and lows. Shining eyes and elevated mood – all the girls were happy. Here are the results.

WIM Siranush Andriasian, 21, ARM, 2228

WIM Anna Burtasova, 20, RUS, 2345

WGM Baira Kovanova, 20, RUS, 2348

WGM Evgenia Meshcheriakova, 22, RUS, 2318

WGM Anna Sharevich, 22, BLR (Belarus), 2328

WGM Irina Sudakova, 25, RUS, 2333

WGM Anastazia Karlovich, 25, UKR, 2198

WGM Nataiia Zdebskaja, 21, UKR, 2313

WGM and IM Irina Vasilevich, 22, RUS, 2378

WGM and IM Lilit Mkrtchian, 25, ARM, 2405


Sergey Biriukov, the general manager of the factory "Electropribor", an enthusiastic chess fan and photographer in his spare time.

A nice surprise was waiting for us at the closing ceremony – a big calendar with the above photos had been issued.

Thank you Sergey, Electropribor and the "Mir Foto" studio for making this such a wonderful event for us!

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