Kosteniuk out, three Russians left

3/16/2006 – Of the 13 top ranked players 11 have been eliminated after just three rounds of the Women's World Chess Championship in Ekaterinburg. Only the fourth and fifth seeds, Maia Chiburdanidze and Xu Yuhua remain in the competition. Today saw high drama, some of it brought on by pure fatigue. Even poor Moxi is confused.

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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.

Today the next big favourite stumbled: Alexandra Kosteniuk is number four in the current FIDE women's rankings, but will move to number two in the April 1st list (with only Judit Polgar ahead of her), thanks to her great performancs at the recent Aeroflot tournament, where she won around 17 Elo points.


Alexander Kosteniuk, out in round three

In round three of the FIDE Women's World Championship Alexandra drew her first game with white against Viktorija Cmilyte, an IM and WGM from Lithuania, who happens to be Alexei Shirov's wife. In the second game Cmilyte launched a double rook attack on the seventh rank, took the full point and had a ticket to the next round.


The happy winner: IM Viktorija Cmilyte of Lithuania

France's Marie Sebag drew both her regular games against Qin Kanying of China, then both ladies won their rapid games with black. In the blitz games Sebag won twice to proceed to round four.


China's Qin Kanying, knocked out by...


...the only western European left in the event: Marie Sebag of France

Ex women's world champion Maia Chiburdanidze also had a long struggle, drawing both her regular and rapid games against China's Ju Wenjun. Maia went through to the next round by winning both her blitz games.


Georgia's long-time world champion Maia Chiburdanidze

Alisa Galliamova of Russia vs Iweta Radziewicz of Poland was the big drama of the day. In their regular game Galliamova traded down to a rook and bishop vs rook ending, which was a theoretical draw. But she wanted to test Radziewicz defensive skills, her nerves or just her constitution and kept trying to win the position for another fifty moves.


Triumph and tragedy are just a move apart: Iweta Radzievicz

After that came the rapid chess tiebreak games, and this is what happened in the first one:

Galliamova,A (2467) - Radziewicz,I (2421) [A46]
FIDE WCh Women KO Ekaterinburg RUS (3.3), 16.03.2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.c3 e6 4.Bf4 Nc6 5.e3 cxd4 6.exd4 Be7 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Qc2 d6 9.Nbd2 Re8 10.0-0 Bf8 11.Rfe1 h6 12.h3 b6 13.b4 Bb7 14.b5 Na5 15.Nb3 Bxf3 16.Nxa5 bxa5 17.gxf3 Nd5 18.Bg3 Rc8 19.c4 Qf6 20.Qd2 Nb6 21.Rac1 e5 22.Qxa5 exd4 23.Rxe8 Rxe8 24.Qxa7 Qg5 25.Rc2 Qc5 26.Kg2 Ra8 27.Qb7 Ra3 28.Qe4 g6 29.Bf4 Nd7 30.Bc1 Nf6 31.Qe2 Ra8 32.Rb2 Re8 33.Qd2 d5 34.Rc2 Ne4 35.fxe4 dxe4 36.Bxe4 Rxe4 37.Qd3 Qf5 38.Qf3 Qe5 39.c5 f5 40.b6 (40.c6 and 41.b6 was quite a simple win) 40...Bxc5.

White is still winning and should proceed with 41.Qb3+ Kg7 42.Qb5 and the exchange of queens. Instead Galliamova played an unsound exchange sacrifice: 41.Rxc5 Qxc5 42.Qb3+ Kg7 43.b7.

Looks good for White? Not really, because the intended 44.b8Q is met with 44...Rg4+ 45.Kf1 Qxc1+ 46.Ke2 Re4+ 47.Kf3 Qh1+ 48.Kg3 f4+ 49.Qxf4 Qg1+ 50.Kf3 Rxf4+ 51.Kxf4 Qxf2+ and Black has ended a pawn up. After a longish think Galliamova probably saw this all and went for 44.Kh2. But that turns out to be much worse, since it allows 44...Re1 and the threat of 45...Qh1+ with mate in three cannot be adaquately met. There was a collective groan in the Polish language when Iweta, after some thought, missed the knockout punch and played 44...Qc7+. Now Black's task is much harder, though she should still probably win. 45.Kg2 Re8 46.Bb2 Rb8 47.Bxd4+ Kh7 48.Qe6 Qxb7+ 49.Kh2 Rd8 50.Qf6 Qd7 51.Be5 Rg8 52.a4 g5 53.a5 f4 54.a6 h5 55.Qb6.

Black has thrown away her winning chances, and now hands them over to the opponent: 55...g4? Now White has excellent winning chances after 56.Qb1+, but probably out of sheer exhaustion (and lack of time on the clock) Galliamova plays 56.a7?, handing the win back over to Black. 56...g3+ 57.fxg3 and now 57...Qd2+ 58.Kh1 Qd5+ 59.Kh2 Qxe5 would win. But after 57...fxg3+? the result was only a draw. A score of Polish fans watching the game on Playchess were in deep turmoil, especially since their player ran into a knight fork in the second rapid game and was unceremoniously knocked out of the tournament.


Through to round four: Alisa Galliamova

It is interesting to note that of the 13 top ranked players 11 have already been eliminated. Only the fourth and fifth seeds, Maia Chiburdanidze and Xu Yuhua remain in the competition. There are three Russians left in the event, two Georgians, and one participant each from China, Lithuania and France. Russia had 13 players at the start of the event, Georgia six, China nine.


Mystery lady: IM Nino Khurtsidze of Georgia


Still in: IM Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, runner-up of the WWCC 2004


Alexandra Kosteniuk with a dear friend


What happened to mommy? Meet Moxi, the resident of Alexandra's handbag


The playing hall in Yekaterinburg


Performers at the opening ceremony of this Women's World Championship


The theatre, centre of cultural activities in Yekaterinburg

All photos by courtesy of Pufichek, www.kosteniuk.com

Results of round three

 Name  Rtng  G1  G2  R1  R2  B1  B2  SD  Total
    Round 3 Match 01
  Galliamova, Alisa (RUS) 2467 ½ ½ ½ 1       2.5
  Radziewicz, Iweta (POL) 2421 ½ ½ ½ 0       1.5
    Round 3 Match 02
  Sebag, Marie (FRA) 2415 ½ ½ 0 1 1 1   4
  Qin, Kanying (CHN) 2469 ½ ½ 1 0 0 0   2
    Round 3 Match 03
  Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina (RUS) 2458 1 0 1 ½       2.5
  Peng, Zhaoqin (NED) 2407 0 1 0 ½       1.5
    Round 3 Match 04
  Kosteniuk, Alexandra (RUS) 2514 ½ 0           0.5
  Cmilyte, Viktorija (LTU) 2475 ½ 1           1.5
    Round 3 Match 05
  Ju, Wenjun (CHN) 2290 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0   2
  Chiburdanidze, Maia (GEO) 2511 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1   4
    Round 3 Match 06
  Xu, Yuhua (CHN) 2502 ½ 1           1.5
  Kosintseva, Tatiana (RUS) 2479 ½ 0           0.5
    Round 3 Match 07
  Vijayalakshmi, Subbaraman (IND)  2479 ½ 0           0.5
  Matveeva, Svetlana (RUS) 2428 ½ 1           1.5
    Round 3 Match 08
  Khurtsidze, Nino (GEO) 2430 1 1           2
  Hou, Yifan (CHN) 2269 0 0           0

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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