Irina Sudakova wins Mediterranean Flower

3/28/2006 – No, not a prize blossom. What the Russian WGM won was a ten-player women's round robin event, held in Rijeka, Croatia, the sixth of its kind in this beautiful location. Second was Valentina Golubenko, who made her final WIM and her first WGM norm in the process. Valentina's father Valery sent us a big illustrated report.

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Sudakova wins the Mediterranean Flower

By Valery Golubenko

The "Mediterranean Flower” Women’s GM Tournament, a ten player round robin event., was held in Rijeka, Croatia, from March 11-18, 2006. This was already the sixth Mediterranean Flower in Rijeka, Adriatics, and the tenth if one counts a similar event on the neighboring island of Krk. The common feature of all these chess beauty contests is in the singularity of their organizer and anchorman, Ivan Mandekic.


TD Ivan Mandekic on his knees, photographing the tournament participants


Island of Krk


Rijeka, Croatia, Adriatics


Opatija, ten km from Rijeka, where the participants lived


The abode for the players: Hotel Opatija


The famous gardens of the Hotel Opatija


A woman with a bird, symbol of the city of Opatija


Plaque for the great Austrian composer in Opatija


Opening ceremony: The men’s chorus Nokturno, Secretary of Primorsko-Goranska County Chess Federation


The Rijeka Major Mr. Vojko Obersnel, and Mr. Zlatko Komadina, Ambassador of Croatian President Stjepan Mesic and Primorsko-Goranska County Ruler

The tournament was held under the patronage of Croatian President Stjepan Mesic who has delivered a special message to participants. Every girl was presented with a cosmetic kit and a natural orchid:


The first move is made by the Rijeka Major in the game between WGM Anya Corke (Hong Kong) and WGM Mirjana Medic (Croatia)


The Russian players were paired against each other in the early rounds. Above we see WGM Irina Sudakova vs Iulia Gromova, both from St Petersburg

Sudakova,Irina (2358) - Gromova,Iulia (2198) [B12]
WGM Mediterranean Flower Rijeka (1), 11.03.2006
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3!? The favorite move of Chinese GM Ni Hua. 3...e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bf4 Nf6 6.Qd3 b6 7.Nge2 Ba6 8.Qe3 0-0 9.0-0-0 c5. A move of St. Peterburg GM Evgeniy Solozhenkin. Dreev vs Ni Hua, Sunjin Hotel Cup 2004, has tested Nbd7 with a similar idea. 10.h4 Nc6 11.Bg5 h6? Better was 11...Bxc3 12.bxc3 cxd4 13.cxd4 Qc7=/+. 12.e5? White missed 12.Bxh6! gxh6 13.Qxh6 with the winning attack. 12...Bxc3? After 12...hxg5 13.exf6 gxh4 14.fxg7 Kxg7 15.g3 Rh8 blacks stand better. 13.Bxf6. Now Black cannot escape. 13...gxf6 14.Qxh6 Bxd4 15.Nxd4 Nxd4

White to mate in 5: 16.Rxd4 f5 (16...cxd4 17.Rh3) 17.Rh3 f6 18.Rg3+ [or 18.Qg6+ Kh8 19.Qh5+ Kg7 20.Rg3#] 18...Kf7 19.Rg7+ and Black resigned because of 19...Ke8 20.Qg6+ Rf7 21.Qxf7#. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Another rating favorite WGM Regina Pokorna tested young WFM Valentina Golubenko from Estonia. It turned out to be Valentina’s first victory over a grandmaster in ‘normal’ chess.

Pokorna,Regina (2338) - Golubenko,Valentina (2146) [B85]
WGM Mediterranean Flower Rijeka (1), 11.03.2006


Position after 63...Kd3-e2

64.Re7?? 64.Rf7 was quite a simple draw: 64...Kd3 65.Rc7 Kd4 66.Rb7 Kc4 67.Rg7 Kb4 68.Rf7 Ka4 69.Ke3=. 64...Kf2 65.Rf7 e3 66.Rxf5 Rxh7 67.Ke4+ Ke2 68.Rc5 Rh4+ 0-1. [Click to replay]


The Capuchin church in Rijeka


Houses on the waterfront in Rijeka


Spring idyll of Rijeka

The first round was fruitful for interesting games. WIM Iulia-Ionela Ionica demonstrated a deep understanding of the popular Caro-Cann line:

Ionica,Iulia-Ionela (2234) - Franciskovic,Borka (2123) [B19]
WGM Mediterranean Flower Rijeka (1), 11.03.2006
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 11.Bf4 Qa5+ 12.Bd2 Qc7 13.0-0-0 Ngf6 14.Qe2 0-0-0 15.Ne5 Nb8. Iulia Gromova played 15...Nb6 in the 3rd round against Iulia Ionica: 16.Ba5 c5 17.Rh4 Rd5 18.c4 Rxd4 19.Rhxd4 cxd4 20.Rxd4 Bc5 21.Rd2 Qe7? (21...Rd8=) 22.Ne4±. 16.Rh4 Bd6 17.f4. Novelty. Meanwhile, 16. Kb1 looks somewhat better. 17...Rhe8 18.Rh3 Bf8?! [18...c5!=] 19.Qc4 Nbd7 20.Qa4 Kb8 21.Ba5 Nb6 22.Qb3 Rd5 23.Bxb6 axb6 24.c4 Rdd8? [24...Ra5!=] 25.Kb1 Bd6 26.Ne2 c5? 27.Nc3+- Bxe5 28.dxe5 Ng4 29.Rg3 f5 30.Nb5 Qc6 31.Re1 Rd2 32.Qa4 Red8 33.Ra3 1-0. [Click to replay]


Romanian WIM Iulia-Ionela Ionica

Apparently, in the next round Regina Pokorna hadn’t yet recovered from the unexpected hard lines in the previous game, and ruined a very nice effort against Iulia Gromova:

Gromova,Iulia (2198) - Pokorna,Regina (2338) [E18]
WGM Mediterranean Flower Rijeka (2), 12.03.2006

White is completely outplayed: 22...Bd4! 23.Qe4 Rg1+ 24.Kh3 Qc5?! [24...Qe8! , and Whites is helpless.] 25.bxa4

25...Qh5+?? 25...Bf6! 26.Rb5 Qf2 27.f4 Rxd2! 28.Rxd2 Qf1+ 29.Kg4 c5! wins. 26.Qh4 Qf5+ 27.g4 Qf6 28.Qxf6 and White won. 1-0. [Click to replay]

After the third round the tandem Sudakova + Golubenko took the lead with 2.5 points and didn’t lose it to the finish. Before two final rounds the breakaway was 2 points. One of the most important games for Valentina was the game from round six vs strong Slovenian WIM Jana Krivec 2299.

Krivec,Jana (2299) - Golubenko,Valentina (2146) [B86]
WGM Mediterranean Flower Rijeka (6), 15.03.2006
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 Be7 7.g4 0-0 8.g5 Nxe4 9.Nxe4 d5 10.Nf6+ Bxf6 11.gxf6 dxc4 12.fxg7 Re8

13.Qg4?? After 13.Rg1 Qb6 chances are about equal. 13...e5 14.Nf5 Qf6 15.Ne7+ Qxe7 16.Qh5 Nc6 17.c3 e4 18.Be3 Ne5 19.h3 Qh4 20.Qe2 Bg4, and White stopped playing without the piece. 0-1. [Click to replay]

This unexpectedly quick victory allowed Valentina to fulfil her third and final WIM norm, three rounds before the end of the tournament. Now she could hope for her first WGM norm, with just 50% needed in three games left.


Valentina in the Rijeka city port

The tournament winner, Irina Sudakova, regards her game against Iulia-Ionela Ionica in the seventh round as her best:

Ionica,Iulia-Ionela (2234) - Sudakova,Irina (2358) [B67]
WGM Mediterranean Flower Rijeka (7), 16.03.2006
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 9.f4 b5 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Nxc6 Bxc6 12.Qe3 Qe7 13.Bd3 Qa7 14.Qh3 b4 15.Ne2 Qc5 16.Kb1 a5 17.c3? A self-destructive novelty! The usual move here is 17.f5 with a slight advantage for White. 17...Rb8 18.Rc1 a4 19.f5 e5 20.c4 h5 21.Rcd1= Anyway White has reached an equal position. 21...Ke7?! 21...Rc8 or 21...h4 is better. 22.Qf3 h4 23.g3 hxg3 24.hxg3 Bh6 25.Rh5 Qe3

26.Qxe3?? 26.Qg2 or 26.Qh1 with an equal play. 26...Bxe3 27.Rdh1 Rxh5 28.Rxh5 Rg8 29.Kc2 Rg4 30.Rh4 Rxh4 31.gxh4 Bf2 32.h5 Kf8 33.a3 b3+ 34.Kb1 Be1 35.Kc1 Kg7 36.Kd1 Bf2 37.Kc1 Be3+ 38.Kd1 Kh6 39.Nc3 Bd4 40.Nb5 Bxb2 41.Nxd6 Bxa3 42.Nxf7+ Kxh5 43.Nd8 Bd7 44.Nb7 Bb4 0-1. [Click to replay]

Meanwhile in the same seventh round Valentina Golubenko overplayed the second WGM and her age mate from Hong Kong, Anya Corke, and came within striking distance of her first own WGM norm. In the next round Valentina fixed it, forcing perpetual repetition vs WIM Rajna Sargac from Croatia.

Golubenko,Valentina (2146) - Corke,Anya (2216) [D19]
WGM Mediterranean Flower Rijeka (7), 16.03.2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qe2 Bg6 10.Ne5 Nbd7 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Rd1 Qa5 13.Bd2 e5. The move Vladimir Kramnik used when he beat Anatoly Karpov in Amber 1995. 14.Be1 Rad8 15.Qc2 Nb6. Novelty. In this position only exd4 has been tested with a slight advantage for White. 16.dxe5 Nxc4? 17.exf6 gxf6 18.Ne4 Nb6 19.Bxb4 Qxb4 20.Nxf6+ Kg7 21.Ne4± Rxd1+ 22.Rxd1 Rd8 23.Ra1 f5 24.Nc5 Rd2 25.Qc3+ Qxc3 26.bxc3 Nd5 27.c4 Nc3 28.Nxb7 Nd1 29.Na5 Nxf2 30.Nxc6 Ng4 31.Re1 Ra2 32.h3 Nf6 33.a5 Ra4 34.Rc1 Ne4 35.c5 Kf6 36.Kh2 Ke6

37.Nd4+ Kd7 38.c6+ Kc8 39.Ne6! Rxa5 40.Rd1, and Black resigned in view of inevitable mate. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Before the last round Irina Sudakova had 7 points, and Valentina Golubenko half a point less. In the decisive final round both leaders played each other. Valentina declined a draw at the ninth move and lost after a four-hour fight.


The game for first place


Participants after the tournament: Rajna Sargac, Valentina Golubenko, Regina Pokorna, Jana Krivec, Mirjana Medic, Irina Sudakova, Iulia-Ionela Ionica, and Iulia Gromova. Men: Chief Arbiter IA Eduard Piacun, Srdjan Zelenika, and Ivan Mandekic.


Last morning in Opatija Iulia Gromova and Irina Sudakova

Final standings


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