Hejazipour new Asian Women’s Champion

by Sagar Shah
9/2/2015 – The Women's section of the Asian Continental Championships 2015 in Al Ain brought quite a bit of fighting chess and was decided in a very tense and dramatic final round. The winner was a 22-year-old WIM from Iran, who was hoping for good result but never expected Gold. Mitra Hejazipour tells us how it felt and and annotated a key game for us.

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Mitra Hejazipour is the new Asian Women’s Champion

The Asian Continental Championships 2015 were held from the 2nd to the 10th of August 2015 in Al Ain, UAE. Five qualifications spots from the open section for World Cup 2015, and one for the women for World Cup 2016 were at stake, along with a total of US $75,000 ($50,000 for open and $25,000 for women) in prize money.

As we saw in part one of the report, Salem Saleh won the Asian Open title. The women’s championship was exciting and keenly contested until the very last round. 57 participants with an average rating of 2142 included nine IMs and 14 WGMs.

Two full-fledged female GMs were present in Al Ain: Koneru Humpy and…

… Dronavalli Harika. But they both were playing in the open section!

Tan Zhongyi (2512) was the top seed of the event

With a rating of 2444 IM Padmini Rout was the second seed

The tournament witnessed quite a bit of fighting chess, and by round six there were two players in the lead with 5.0/6 – WGM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman from India and WIM Mitra Hejazipour from Iran. In an intense top board seventh round battle between the two leaders it was the Indian player who emerged victorious. Viji (as she is fondly called) emerged as the sole leader and kept that half point advantage with a draw in the eighth round. Going into the last round the following were the important pairings on the top boards.

White Pts
vs
Black Pts
Shen Yang 6.0
-
Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman 6.5
Dinara Saduakassova 6.0
-
Pratyusha Bodda 6.0
Mary Ann Gomes 6.0
-
Mitra Hejazipour 6.0

Vijayalakshmi lost her games against Shen Yang. The game between Saduakassova and Bodda ended in a draw and Mitra Hejazipour was able to get better of Mary Ann Gomes. This meant that Shen Yang and Mitra were the only two players on seven points. As they both had not played each other the tie could not be broken by means of the direct-encounter criteria. The next tie-break would favour the player with most wins. Shen Yang had played a pretty solid event with five wins and four draws. But it was Mitra’s enterprising approach that helped her score seven wins (two losses as well!) and emerge as the Asian Women’s Champion.

The two Asian Champions – Mitra Hejazipour from Iran and Salem Saleh from UAE

Starting as the 19th seed, WIM Mitra Hejazipour had just graduated in physical education and sports science a few days before the event. She hadn’t played much in the three months prior to the tournament and didn’t have a coach to work with. Her only assistance was GM Idani Pouya who helped her with the openings. Mitra came with to the Asian Championships with modest expectation. After nine days of grueling chess she went back as the Asian Champion, was given the WGM title and made her maiden IM norm. She also gained 35 Elo points. No wonder she says, “I just got to the good part of my chess life!”

After the tournament ended, we asked Mitra for a small interview. She obliged. Here are the excerpts:

Sagar Shah: Hi Mitra, congratulations on becoming the Asian Women’s Champion 2015. How was the overall experience at the tournament? Nine decisive results (seven wins and two losses) – you were in a fighting mood?!

Mitra Hejazipour: It was my second time competing at the Asian Championships. The first one wasn't so good but I am satisfied with my games this time. I performed well and it paid off! Every round, I tried to play well, not to make any mistakes and most importantly enjoy the game.

SS: You started out as the 19th seed. What were the expectations that you had from yourself before the tournament?

MH: Before the tournament I didn't expect to make it to the podium at all. My goals were being in the top six, increasing my rating and getting a WGM norm. I was a bit worried because I didn't have a coach and hadn't played for three months, just zonal championships which wasn't really strong.

Lack of coach and practice can be offset by strong determination and concentration

In the first round itself you found yourself in trouble.

Hejazipour,M (2321)-Alattar,G (1913), Round 1

Black to play

Did you notice Ne1+ Rxe1 Rxb2-+ during the game? What was going through your mind?

MH: No I didn't notice it. I was only thinking that she couldn't play directly Rxb2. [ed: Mitra’s opponent Alattar instead of Ne1+ played 29.Rxb2 Qxb2 30.Qxb2 Nxb2 when after 31.Rd2 White was an exchange up and confidently went on to convert the game.]

Actually, my trip to Al-Ain wasn't a piece of cake. Although the city is close to Tehran, I could not sleep all the night before the first round. So I was tired and sleep deprived. I was so upset with the game. Fortunately she was in time trouble and didn't notice Ne1+ either. I don't play so many tournaments so I usually don't have easy first rounds!

After your second round loss to Padmini Rout you picked up pace and scored four wins on a trot. This included wins over two strong players, Eesha Karavade and Medina Aulia, both 2400+. They looked like effortless victories. Can you explain how did you achieve them?

MH: Yes, I started the tournament badly – won the first round with luck and played terrible against Padmini. But the next rounds I felt like I was coming back and I was playing better, I gained my confidence back after playing a good game against Karavade.

Mitra’s game against Eesha Karavade was her favourite one from the event
and she has specially sent her annotations for the readers to enjoy.

[Event "Asian Continental Women's Championship "] [Site "Hilton Hotel, Al Ain"] [Date "2015.08.06"] [Round "5.4"] [White "Karavade, Eesha"] [Black "Hejazipour, Mitra"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A33"] [WhiteElo "2409"] [BlackElo "2321"] [Annotator "Hejazipour, Mitra"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2015.08.02"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "UAE"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 c5 {I played a lot with Eesha before, so I knew her. She is good at positional chess and playing Catalan mostly. So I decided to go for something that needs calculations and somehow a little surprise! I prepared 3...c5.} 4. Nf3 {Nf3 is not the way to achieve a white advantage. I was thinking that she might play d5 and go for some Benoni.} cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 ( 5... d5 {The line mostly play and a little better, but actually it is not bad for White, due to the f4 move.} 6. Bg2 e5 7. Nb3 d4 {[%cal Yf2f4]}) 6. Nc3 (6. Bg2 $142 {Now Qb6 will not be as effective as in the game.} Qb6 7. Nb3 Ne5 8. Qc2 {[%cal Yc4c5]} Bb4+ 9. N1d2 $14) 6... Qb6 {This is more reliable, I think.} 7. Ndb5 Ne5 (7... d5 $5 {Needed some preparation to play!}) 8. Bg2 a6 9. Qa4 Rb8 10. Be3 Bc5 11. Bxc5 Qxc5 12. Qa3 Qxa3 $6 (12... b6 $142 13. Nd6+ Ke7 14. Qxc5 bxc5 15. Nxc8+ Rhxc8 16. b3 d5 {[%cal Yc5c4,Rb8b1,Rc8c1] Winning chances for Black due to the dynamic nature of her pawns to open files, and maybe a knight's dance!}) 13. Nxa3 d6 14. O-O $1 Ke7 15. Rfd1 $6 (15. f4 {Must play f4 to gain space, and the important thing is my pieces are not so good. Then the rooks can come on d-file.} Ng6 {[%csl Rf6,Rg6]} 16. Rad1 Bd7 $14 {[%csl Gg2] [%cal Yc8d7,Yd7c6,Ge2e4,Yb7b5]}) 15... Bd7 $6 (15... g5 $142 $1 {[%csl Yf4,Yh4] [%cal Yg7g5] She missed the f4 idea and I missed to prevent it!} 16. Rd4 Bd7 { [%cal Yb7b5,Yb5b4,Gh8c8] Now my idea is easy: making counter-play with b5-b4.} 17. Rad1 b5 18. cxb5 axb5 19. Nc2 Rhc8 $36) 16. Rd4 $6 (16. f4 $142 $14 { Getting rid of the powerful knight in the center!}) 16... Bc6 {Here there are two choices, to play dynamic or strategic. I chose the strategic way. It's great for me to exchange the good bishop on g2.} (16... b5 $5 {The dynamic way to play. Maybe it gives me advantage sooner!} 17. cxb5 axb5 18. Nc2 Rhc8 { [%csl Gc4][%cal Yc8c2,Gd6d5,Ge5c4]} 19. Nb4 Rc4 $1 20. e3 Rbc8 $15) 17. Rad1 { [%csl Gc6][%cal Yc6g2,Ge5c6] I should exchange the bishops to make c6 available for my knight.} Rhd8 $6 18. h3 $6 (18. f4 $1 Bxg2 $4 (18... Ng6 19. Nc2 $14 {[%csl Rg6] The weakness is the knight!}) 19. fxe5 $18 {[%csl Rf6,Rg2]} ) 18... g5 $1 {Finally...} 19. e4 $2 {[%csl Gc6,Rg2][%cal Yh7h5,Yb7b5] The position has changed! Now my bishop on c6 is much better. Also I have pawns to move forward on both sides. And the small but important point is that she gives me some weak squares for the future.} (19. b3 $142 $15 {[%cal Yg2c6, Ga3c2]}) 19... h5 $1 $15 20. Nc2 g4 {Fixing the knight on e5.} (20... h4 {is playable too.} 21. gxh4 gxh4 $15 {[%csl Ye5,Yf4]}) 21. h4 Rbc8 $5 (21... b5 { is okay now, but I can keep it for a better time.} 22. cxb5 Bxb5 $1 {Need to see that on the board!} 23. Nxb5 Rxb5 24. b3 Rc8 25. Ne3 Rb6 $15 {[%cal Rc8c1]} ) 22. Ne3 Be8 (22... b5 23. cxb5 axb5 $15 {The problem of taking with the pawn is the b4 square. It can use as blocking square.} (23... Bxb5 $142 $15 {I think taking b5 with the bishop is not an easy decision.})) 23. Kf1 b5 $1 24. cxb5 axb5 (24... Bxb5+ $142 {Again it's better according to computers, but I do not agree with this.} 25. Nxb5 axb5 26. Ke2 Rc6 $17 {[%cal Yd8a8,Yd8b8, Gf6d7,Gd7c5,Gd7b6]}) 25. Ke2 $2 (25. a3 $15 {Must keep b4.}) 25... Nc6 $1 {Now my idea is b4 and push forward.} 26. R4d2 Rb8 (26... b4 $2 27. Nb5 $16 {[%csl Rd6]}) 27. Ke1 b4 28. Ne2 Ne5 29. Nd4 Ra8 {Win the pawn or get b3. This is the question.} 30. b3 {[%csl Gc3][%cal Yc8c3,Ya8c8,Yd8c8]} Ra6 (30... Rdc8 $142 { I should continue my plan.} 31. Nec2 Rab8 $15 {[%cal Ye8c6,Ye8b5]}) 31. Rc1 Rda8 32. Rcc2 R8a7 33. Kd1 Nfd7 {I knew that she could play Nb5, but I was satisfied to make a draw. And if she didn't play it I could continue my plan for sure.} (33... Ra5 $1 $15 {[%cal Ya6a5,Ya5c5] With my 30th move I lost the c-file. Now I should get it back with a5-c5.}) 34. Nc4 (34. Nb5 $1 Rb7 35. Nc7 Rab6 36. Na8 (36. Nxe8 Kxe8 $11) 36... Ra6 37. Nc7 $11) 34... Nxc4 35. Rxc4 Ne5 {[%csl Ge5] The other knight comes to the Golden Palace.} 36. Rcc2 Ra5 $1 { [%cal Ya6a5,Ya5c5]} 37. Ke2 Rc5 38. Ke3 $6 {Waiting loses! She must find something that is hard for me – making hard situations for me...} (38. f3 $5 gxf3+ 39. Bxf3 {[%csl Rh5][%cal Yf3h5]} f6 $15 {offers more chances I think.}) 38... Rac7 39. Bf1 Rc3+ $1 {The point helps.} 40. Rxc3 Rxc3+ 41. Bd3 $2 {[%csl Rd3][%cal Yc3e3] The pin decides.} (41. Ke2 $142 {It may goes to an endgame with good knight against bad bishop.} Bc6 42. Nxc6+ Rxc6 $15) 41... f6 $1 { [%csl Rd3,Re4][%cal Yf7f6,Ge8g6] Finding new goals for bishop.} 42. Ke2 Bg6 43. Bc2 Rc5 44. Ke3 Kd7 $17 {There is big pressure on my opponent – hard to find moves for her.} 45. Re2 $2 (45. Ke2 $142 {Here, I would have to play longer and somewhere go for some d5 or Nf3.} Rc8 46. Ke3 Ke7 $17 {[%cal Yc8c3,Ge5f3, Yd6d5]}) 45... Rc3+ (45... d5 $1 {[%csl Gf3][%cal Yg6c2,Gc5c2,Ge5f3,Rd5e4]} 46. Kd2 Kd6 $19 {was decisive.}) 46. Kd2 d5 $2 {It's not the right time. Although I think both of us missed the a3 or a4 ideas in the game.} (46... Nc6 $1 47. Nxc6 Rxc6 $17 {[%csl Rc2][%cal Yd6d5]}) 47. Re3 $4 (47. a3 {[%csl Rc3][%cal Ya3b4] Could be possible to survive.} Nf3+ 48. Nxf3 gxf3 49. Re1 Bxe4 50. Bxe4 dxe4 51. Rxe4 Rxb3 52. axb4 $11) (47. a4 Nc6 $5 {chances still for me.} 48. Nxc6 $8 Rxc6 49. Kd1 Rc3 $36) 47... Rc5 48. Kd1 Ra5 $1 $19 {[%csl Ga5,Gc3,Gc5]} 49. Re2 Nf3 50. Nxf3 gxf3 51. Rd2 Rxa2 52. Kc1 (52. Rd4 $142 Kd6 $19 {[%csl Re4][%cal Yd6c5]}) 52... Bxe4 {White resigned.} 0-1

In the seventh round, you had a completely winning position against Vijayalakshmi. How did you feel after losing that game and how did you keep your mental balance?

MH: I was so disappointed after the game – it was unbelievable. I knew she had some mating threats, but I did nothing about it and just waited till she did it. I know there's no explanation for some of the games, and it happens to everyone. But still it was so disappointing. All I could do was to talk to my parents for a while and then go out shopping with my friends. Shopping usually makes me feel better!

[Event "Asian Continental Women's Championship "] [Site "Hilton Hotel, Al Ain"] [Date "2015.08.08"] [Round "7.1"] [White "Hejazipour, Mitra"] [Black "Vijayalakshmi, Subbaraman"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E62"] [WhiteElo "2321"] [BlackElo "2341"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "124"] [EventDate "2015.08.02"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "UAE"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. O-O Bf5 8. d5 Na5 9. Nd4 Bd7 10. b3 c5 11. dxc6 bxc6 12. Bb2 Rb8 13. Rb1 c5 14. Nc2 Ne8 15. Ne3 Nc6 16. Qd2 a5 17. Nb5 a4 18. bxa4 Ra8 19. Qc2 Ra6 20. Bxg7 Nxg7 21. Nd5 Bf5 22. Be4 Nd4 23. Nxd4 cxd4 24. Rb7 Bd7 25. c5 Kh8 26. Nb6 Bh3 27. Qd3 Ra5 28. c6 Ne6 29. Rc1 Rc5 30. Rc4 d5 31. Rxc5 dxe4 32. Qxe4 Nxc5 33. Qe5+ Kg8 34. c7 Qd6 35. Qxd6 exd6 36. Rb8 d3 37. exd3 Nxd3 38. c8=Q Bxc8 39. Rxc8 Nc5 40. a5 Kg7 41. Rc6 Re8 42. Rxd6 Re2 43. Rc6 Nd3 44. a3 Ra2 45. Rc3 Ra1+ 46. Kg2 Ne1+ 47. Kh3 Rb1 48. a4 f5 49. f4 h6 50. Rc7+ Kf6 51. Rc6+ Kg7 {[#] We pick up the game from this point onwards. It's White to play and she is two pawns up. The pawns are almost about to queen. Black's ony hope is to checkmate the white king, but it is not so easy to achieve. Mitra confidently pushed her pawn.} 52. a6 {There is nothing wrong with this move.} g5 53. fxg5 {While this is a natural move it already requires some amount of accuracy by White in the next few moves. It was easier to start an attack on the f5 pawn.} (53. a7 $2 g4+ 54. Kh4 Rb2 55. Rc7+ (55. h3 Rh2 56. Rc7+ Kg6 57. Rc6+ Kg7 58. Rc7+ $11) 55... Kg6 56. Rc6+ Kg7 57. Rc7+ Kg6 (57... Kf8 $2 58. a8=Q#) 58. Rc6+ $11) (53. Nc4 $1 { Aiming to pick up the f5 pawn.} Rb4 54. Ne3 Rxa4 55. Nxf5+ Kf8 56. Rxh6 gxf4 57. Rh8+ $1 Kf7 58. a7 $18 {was the easiest way to win.}) 53... hxg5 54. a7 $6 (54. Nd7 Rb2 55. Ne5 {Controlling the f3 square was winning.} g4+ 56. Kh4 $18) 54... Rb2 {Now White already needs to to find the only move which keeps her in the game.} 55. Rc3 $2 {[#]Now it's a mate in six which Viji misses. Can you find it?} (55. Rc4 $1 {was the only move to make a draw.} g4+ 56. Rxg4+ fxg4+ 57. Kxg4 $18) 55... Rxb6 $6 (55... g4+ $1 56. Kh4 Nf3+ $1 {A very subtle deflection.} (56... Kg6 57. Rc6+ $18) 57. Rxf3 (57. Kh5 Rxh2#) 57... Kg6 $19 { and there is absolutely no way to prevent a mate down the h-file. Nf3+ followed by Kg6 was not such an easy idea to find.}) 56. g4 $2 (56. a8=Q Rh6#) (56. Rc7+ $1 {Once again the only move to stay in the game forcing the king to interfere with the rooks action.} Kg6 57. a8=Q g4+ 58. Kh4 Nf3+ 59. Qxf3 gxf3 60. Rc3 $11 {and the game ends in a draw.}) 56... f4 $1 57. Rc7+ Kf6 58. Rc3 Rb7 59. Rc6+ Kg7 60. Rc3 (60. a8=Q Rb3+ $19) 60... Rxa7 61. Rc1 Re7 62. Rc3 Re6 {A very interesting game filled with lots of tricks. Definitely a heartbreaking loss for Mitra.} 0-1

I have had a lot of similar situations in the past. So I just tried to forget about that game. I still had chances for winning a medal and I didn't want to miss it just because of this one game.

You faced your country mate Atousa in the eighth round. In 2013 and 2014 she was the Iranian champion and you had to be content with the runner-up spot. On both occasions she emerged victorious against you. It must have been especially sweet to win against her in this crucial encounter.

MH: I have had good results against Atousa in the past, but somehow I lost the last two games in a row to her. I didn't want to lose another one and so I reviewed our games again and tried to avoid the mistakes I made in our previous encounters. I prepared well and yes, it was really a sweet victory!

Enemies on the board but friends off it: Mitra (left) with Atousa

Going into the last round, you were half point behind the leader Vijayalakshmi and faced Mary Ann Gomes. Mary usually opens her games with 1.Nf3. Were you surprised with 1.e4?

MH: I was prepared for all the lines except 1.e4 and I remembered it right before the game! I expected the Bg5 line because I played it badly against Padmini and I thought there's a chance that she repeats the same thing. But I still went for the Najdorf. I played badly in the opening because I didn't know it very well. Obviously I was really worried about the position I got after the opening but I was trying to save the game or at least make a draw. But later in the game I saw that she didn't really know how to use her advantage and her time was passing, she couldn't decide how to play and I got the feeling that I can win the game.

[Event "Asian Continental Women's Championship "] [Site "Hilton Hotel, Al Ain"] [Date "2015.08.10"] [Round "9.3"] [White "Gomes, Mary Ann"] [Black "Hejazipour, Mitra"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B99"] [WhiteElo "2314"] [BlackElo "2321"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2015.08.02"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "UAE"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3 Qc7 9. O-O-O Nbd7 10. Bd3 b5 11. Rhe1 Bb7 12. Bh4 b4 13. Nd5 Nxd5 14. exd5 Nf6 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. Be4 e5 17. Nc6 Bxc6 18. dxc6 Rd8 19. g4 exf4 20. Qxf4 Be5 21. Qf3 a5 22. Bd5 O-O 23. g5 Kh8 24. Re4 f5 25. gxf6 Rxf6 26. Qd3 Rh6 27. h4 Rb8 28. Rf1 Rf6 29. Rxf6 Bxf6 {White has a clear advantage thanks to her passed pawn on c6. All that she has to do is consolidate her position, tackle Black's threat and then launch an attack on the h7 point with h5, Qf5 and Be4. Theoretically this is easy to state but in a high pressure encounter with the clock ticking down, it is easy to go wrong.} 30. Re6 $6 (30. h5 a4 31. Kb1 a3 32. Re1) 30... Qb6 $6 (30... Be5 {with the idea of Qb6 was much stronger.}) 31. Qe2 $6 (31. Qe3 $1 {Forcing the queen exchange would have secured the win for White.} Qxe3+ 32. Rxe3 Bxh4 33. Rf3 Bf6 34. Be6 $18) 31... Be5 $1 {The bishop cuts off the connection of the rook and the queen, and the rook on e6 starts to look pretty silly.} 32. Qf3 Qd4 $1 {[%cal Re5f4,Rd4b2] The threats include Bf4+ and Qxb2+ White had to defend with Be4 here but instead she gave up her bishop.} 33. Qf1 $2 (33. Be4 Qxb2+ 34. Kd2 Qd4+ 35. Bd3 $13 {is pretty unclear. }) 33... Qxd5 {Black wins a pawn and soon after the game.} 34. c7 Rc8 35. Re7 Qd4 36. Rd7 Qxb2+ 37. Kd2 Qc3+ 38. Kd1 Qd4+ 39. Qd3 Qg4+ {With this victory Mitra became the Asian Champion.} 0-1

The last round victory would have given Mary Ann Gomes the Asian Championship title,
as her third tie-break was better than Shen Yang’s. But instead she lost and finished ninth
in the tournament! Those are the stakes when you play such a crucial last round.

How does it feel to be the Asian Champion and winner of such a prestigious event?

MH: I'm really happy, probably the happiest I've ever been. I think I just got to the good part of my chess life!

What’s next on your agenda now?

MH: If I get my visa I'll play in Abu Dhabi Open and then the Baku open. Just these two for now.
I would like to thank my parents and my sister for supporting me, my friends helping me in the tournament and the Al-Ain Chess Club for their good organization.

IM Shen Yang of China had a slow start to her campaign with a score of 2.5/4 (three draws in rounds two, three and four). She then picked up pace and scored 4.5 in the last five rounds, with good wins against Li Ruofan, Aulia Medina and Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman. At 7.0/9 she had the same score as the winner but thanks to the tie-break she had to settle for the silver.

S. Vijayalakshmi was the first Woman Grandmaster of India. In many ways she was a torch-bearer for the development of women chess in the country. At one point in her career she was very close to achieving the GM title with three GM norms to her credit and also a rating of 2485. But of late she had been out of form and her rating had dipped to 2341. In this tournament she showed great tenacity and was leading right until the end. A last round loss to Shen Yang and she had to be content with the bronze medal. Yet her performance was good enough for her to gain 19 Elo points. Slowly and steadily she is clawing her way back towards her unfulfilled dream of becoming a grandmaster.

18-year-old Pratyusha Bodda (2194) played the tournament of her life, gaining 132 Elo. She scored wins against four higher rated players: Pham Le Thao Nguyen, Nakhbayeva Guliskhan, Nguyen Thi Mai Hung and Soumya Swaminathan.

19-year-old Dinara Saduakassova remained unbeaten with
five draws and four wins, scoring 6.5/9 and finishing fifth.

Medina Aulia of Indonesia had a great start to the tournament with 4.5/5 including a win over the second seed Padmini Rout. But back-to-back losses in round six and seven against Mitra and Shen Yang badly affected her tournament. In spite of these two losses she came back strongly in the eighth round, scoring a win against Zhai Mo (2401). Speaks volumes about her fighting qualities. She finished sixth.

Lie Tingjje (left) who finished seventh along with her friend

Eighth: Tania Sachdev from India. Though Tania didn’t have a great event,
a last round victory against Tan Zhongyi must have been consolation for her.

WGM Soumya Swaminathan from India finished thirteenth

Top final rankings (after nine rounds)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED RtgI Pts.  TB2   TB3   TB4   TB5  rtg+/-
1 19 WIM Hejazipour Mitra IRI 2321 7.0 7.0 2254 43.5 37.0 35.8
2 3 IM Shen Yang CHN 2443 7.0 5.0 2336 45.0 38.5 11.6
3 14 IM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman IND 2341 6.5 5.0 2344 46.5 39.5 18.7
4 32 WIM Pratyusha Bodda IND 2194 6.5 5.0 2342 42.5 36.0 132.4
5 9 WGM Saduakassova Dinara KAZ 2401 6.5 4.0 2302 46.5 39.5 7.8
6 6 WGM Aulia Medina Warda INA 2412 6.0 5.0 2344 45.0 38.0 5.4
7 4 WGM Lei Tingjie CHN 2436 6.0 5.0 2310 42.5 36.0 -0.6
8 10 IM Tania Sachdev IND 2390 6.0 5.0 2185 36.0 30.5 -5.0
9 20 WGM Gomes Mary Ann IND 2314 6.0 4.0 2365 48.0 41.0 17.4
10 12 IM Li Ruofan SIN 2374 6.0 4.0 2192 40.0 33.0 -3.9
11 2 IM Padmini Rout IND 2444 5.5 5.0 2295 44.0 37.0 -7.0
12 29 WGM Nguyen Thi Thanh An VIE 2219 5.5 5.0 2222 36.5 30.5 20.0
13 18 WGM Soumya Swaminathan IND 2325 5.5 4.0 2345 45.5 38.5 20.4
14 15 WGM Pourkashiyan Atousa IRI 2341 5.5 4.0 2293 46.0 39.0 7.2
15 11 WGM Zhang Xiaowen CHN 2376 5.5 4.0 2254 41.0 34.5 -5.4
16 27 WGM Nguyen Thi Mai Hung VIE 2227 5.5 4.0 2251 40.5 34.0 22.0
17 7 IM Karavade Eesha IND 2409 5.5 3.0 2254 40.0 33.0 -8.3

Tan Zhongyi won the Rapid Championship. Tania Sachdev finished second and D. Harika third

Asian women blitz: Zhu Chen with the gold, Zhai Mo silver and Wang Jue bronze

One of Kazakhstan’s top players, Guliskhan Nakhbayeva,
had a bad event, scoring 4.0/9 and losing 35 Elo points

Enkhtuul Altan-Ulzii from Mongolia had an equally bad event,
as she scored 3.5/9 and lost 35 Elo points

Aizhan Alymbay was the only player from Kryrgyzstan and she scored 3.5/9

At a women’s event you can expect some colorful apparel ...

... with red always being the colour that catches the eye

For the first time in the history of Asian Continental Chess Championships the tournament had an all-female arbiter team. It consisted of (from left to right) WGM Zhang Jilin from China, Huda Alnajjar from Kuwait, International Arbiter Bhuvana Sai from India, International Arbiter and Deputy Chief Arbiter of the Asian Continental Chess Championships Maryam Mohammed from the UAE, and Hend Mohamad Lotfi from the UAE.

The Chinese delegation at the Asian Continental 2015

Photographs from the official Facebook page

Official tournament siteselection of games


Topics Al Ain, UAE

Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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gmwdim gmwdim 9/3/2015 06:34
No, the one in the middle with the green headscarf is Zhu Chen.
ff2017 ff2017 9/3/2015 04:46
How much Zhu Chens are there? The leftmost girl (gold medal winner) in the Asian Blitz does not look like former Women's World Chess Champion Zhu Chen. (by at least 20 years!).
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