Lagno new World Rapid Champion

by Alejandro Ramirez
4/25/2014 – The Women's World Rapid Championship has concluded in Khanty-Mansiysk. Many of the strong players stayed after the Grand Prix and they were joined by other grandmasters from around the World, from America to India. It was truly a photo-finish, which could have left any of five women at the very top, but luck favored the Ukrainian Kateryna Lagno and she is the new World Champion.

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Without a moment to spare, Khanty-Mansiysk continues to host high level tournaments. The Women's World Rapid Championship has finished and it started only a couple of days after the end of the Grand Prix that wtas won by Hou Yifan. Tomorrow the Blitz World Championship will take place, also for Women, but let's take a look first at what happened in the rapids:

No event in Khanty-Mansiysk starts without a grand opening ceremony

Full of acrobats, dancers...

and singers, of course

Harika Dronavalli enjoyed the opening festivities

Everything ready for the games to start!

The format was a brutal 15-round tournament with a time control of 25+10. Many of the players were surely exhausted since they had just played in the Grand Prix and basically without rest they jumped into this tournament, but surprisingly none of them faltered and the top spots were all taken by players from the GP. Maybe practice was more important than rest?

The playing hall was a little more crowded than usual

Anna Muzychuk was one of the players that stayed for the event, she finished tied for third but fifth by tiebreaks

Many people came to watch the event, old and not so old

Continuing her string of successes: Olga Girya clinched the bronze medal

Maria Forminykh had played a strong rapid tournament
in Moscow earlier this month to prepare for this Championship

Mariya Muzychuk didn't do nearly as well as her sister, finishing at only 6.5/15

Russia's prodigy, Aleksandra Goryachkina, finished with 50%

Birthday girl! Kosteniuk turned 30 on the first day of the event.
She celebrated by tying for first, but getting second on tiebreaks.

No Rapid tournament goes without disputes...

A solid 8.5/15 for Zhao Xue, but tiebreaks did not favor her

Gunina eventually determined the winner of the event...

It was impossible to predict who would win the event. Even though Lagno started with 4.0/4 she was stopped in round five and many other players were also on fire, including Kosteniuk. In the final round the tournament could have potentially be won by any of Lagno, Kosteniuk, Girya, Stefanova or Muzychuk! Lagno had the best tiebreak, though and a win for her clinched first place no matter what, but she needed serious help for this to happen:

[Event "WWRC 2014"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [Date "2014.04.25"] [Round "15.1"] [White "Gunina Valentina (RUS)"] [Black "Lagno Kateryna (UKR)"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D70"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r5/4p2k/3p1np1/3n2N1/5P1N/1P1r2P1/4R1KP/4R3 b - - 0 38"] [PlyCount "3"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] [WhiteClock "0:04:42"] [BlackClock "0:05:04"] 38... Kh6 {Black is down a pawn but she is quite active. On top of this b3 is hanging and although her king looks like it's a little weak it can survive. Winning, however, looks close to impossible.} 39. Kh3 $4 {Unless White plays this.} Nxf4# {Surprise! This is what playing 15 games in three days does to you, grandmasters are no exception.} 0-1

The first tiebreak was individual encounter, the second was amount of games won. Since Lagno (above) defeated Kosteniuk in round three she had the better tiebreak against the Russian and she won the gold medal!

Kosintseva finished with 9.5/15, better than she did in the Grand Prix for sure

"pssst, I think she blundered"

Liz Paethz, a strong Blitz and Rapid player, finished in the middle of the standings

Batchimeg Tuvshintugs was exhausted, surely, and she finished with 7.0/15

Some popular players!

Irina Krush traveled all the way from America for this, and she will return for the
U.S. Women's Championship that start on May 8th.

Had Stefanova beaten Khotenashvili in the last round she would have clinched at least third,
but that did not happen

Final Standings

Place Name   Fed. Total
1 Lagno, Kateryna UKR UKR 10.5
2 Kosteniuk, Alexandra RUS RUS 10.5
3 Girya, Olga RUS RUS 10.0
4 Stefanova, Antoaneta BUL BUL 10.0
5 Muzychuk, Anna SLO SLO 10.0
6 Kosintseva, Tatiana RUS RUS 9.5
7 Ushenina, Anna UKR UKR 8.5
8 Krush, Irina USA USA 8.5
9 Khotenashvili, Bela GEO GEO 8.5
10 Zhao, Xue CHN CHN 8.5
11 Gunina, Valentina RUS RUS 8.5
12 Dzagnidze, Nana GEO GEO 8.5
13 Gaponenko, Inna UKR UKR 8.0
14 Bezgodova, Svetlana RUS RUS 8.0
15 Kashlinskaya, Alina RUS RUS 7.5
16 Guseva, Marina RUS RUS 7.5
17 Paehtz, Elisabeth GER GER 7.5
18 Harika, Dronavalli IND IND 7.5
19 Goryachkina, Aleksandra RUS RUS 7.5
20 Zhu, Chen QAT QAT 7.5
21 Cramling, Pia SWE SWE 7.5
22 Drozdova, Dina RUS RUS 7.0
23 Zhukova, Natalia UKR UKR 7.0
24 Batchimeg, Tuvshintugs MGL MGL 7.0
25 Muminova, Nafisa UZB UZB 7.0
26 Ambartsumova, Karina RUS RUS 7.0
27 Muzychuk, Mariya UKR UKR 6.5
28 Fominykh, Maria RUS RUS 6.0
29 Ubiennykh, Ekaterina RUS RUS 5.5
30 Charochkina, Daria RUS RUS 5.5
31 Shaydullina, Sandugach RUS RUS 5.5
32 Sukhareva, Evgeniya RUS RUS 5.0
33 Popova, Natalija BLR BLR 4.0
34 Sviridova, Vlada RUS RUS 2.0

We will bring you coverage of the Award Ceremony and of the Blitz World Championships, which start tomorrow!

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Topics: Women Rapid

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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marinkatomb marinkatomb 4/26/2014 12:49
This is a great event, but as with the Candidates tournament, i have to question how impartial the selection process is. 16 out of 34 entrants are Russian. The wild Card in the Candidates was also given to a Russian, bringing the total Russian entrants in the event up to 4 out of 8 (50%).

Is this how Fide (Kirsan Ilyumzhinov) feel the "World" is best represented? Khanty-Mansiysk, in my opinion, has been used for "World" events quite enough now. Russian has a lot of strong players, we are all aware of that, but when are these events going to leave Siberia?

Lets look at the history from wiki...

"..2010 Chess Olympiad and the Women's World Chess Championship 2012. In 2010, the Olympic Hotel was built just to house the players in the Olympiad. It also hosted the 2005 Chess World Cup, the 2007 Chess World Cup, the 2009 Chess World Cup and the 2011 Chess World Cup. It hosted the World Rapid and Blitz Championship in 2013 and the 2014 Candidates Tournament."

That is a lot of World events for a tiny little town. Why is this not being questioned by Chessbase/the press? There is such a clear conflict of interests here. Answer me this, if this tournament had been held in India, or South America, would 50% of the entrants be Russian? Why is this favoritism allowed to persist unquestioned??
Boyd Reed Boyd Reed 4/25/2014 09:39
Great article, as usual. Two small corrections on the photo captions.

(1) The photo of Aleksandra Goryachkina has her last name misspelled.
(2) The photo directly above it is of Mariya Muzychuk, not Anna Muzychuk.