Monika Socko wins International Women's Tournament in Baku

by ChessBase
9/18/2007 – It was a close finish, with two players – former women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova and Monika Socko of Poland leading the field with 6/8 points. Stefanova faced top seed Pia Cramling with black, and drew in 23 moves. Socko fought for 70 moves against Nargiz Umudova, winning the game, point and event. Spectacular photo report by Zahir Ahmadov.

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Monika Socko wins women’s tournament in Baku

Tournament report by Zahir Ahmadov

The last round started with two players – Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria and Monika Socko of Poland – leading the field with six points from eight games. However, exactly like a mirror effect the two players were in completely different positions with regard to their chances to win the tournament in the last round: Stefanova had to play with Black against the top seed and one of the most experienced players, Pia Cramling, while Socko had the white pieces against the lowest rated and youngest participant, Nargiz Umudova.

Pia Cramling vs Andoaneta Stefanova in the final round of the tournament

The first game of the round to finish was Pia Cramling vs Antoaneta Stefanova. After 23 moves Black thought she had no winning line and agreed to a draw. Meanwhile, Socko pressed hard, sometimes giving drawing chances to her opponent. She finally won the game and the tournament after 70 moves. Finishing last made the game more spectacular, as many were impatiently watching to see whether the young Azeri lady could save the game.

The winner of the final round game and the tournament: Monika Socko

Socko,Monika - Umudova,Nargiz
2nd International Women’s Chess Tourna Baku, 2007

1.e4 c5 2.b3 Nc6 3.Bb2 e5 4.Bb5 Nd4 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.d3 Be7 8.Nge2 0-0 9.Qd2 Ng4 10.0-0 Bg5 11.f4 exf4 12.Nxf4 Ne5 13.Nce2 Nxe2+ 14.Qxe2 Bg4 15.Qf2 Bh4 16.Qe3 Bf6 17.Rab1 Nxc4 18.bxc4 Bxb2 19.Rxb2 b6 20.c3 Qd7 21.Qg3 Be6 22.Nh5 f5 23.Rbf2 fxe4 24.Nf6+ Rxf6 25.Rxf6 exd3 26.Qf3 gxf6 27.Qxa8+ Kg7 28.Qf3 Qf7 29.Qg3+ Qg6 30.Qxd6 Bxc4 (?!) Black should have played 30…Bg4 31.Rf4 Be2 32.Kf2 Qf7 33.Re4 Kg6. 31.Rf3. At this moment I was thinking about how to put the first sentences in my report: “The first two games made everything clear about the winner of the tournament”. Kf7 32.Qd7+ Kf8 33.Qd8+ Kf7 34.Re3 Qf5 35.Qe8+Kg7 36.Rg3+. 36.Qe7+ is better. 36...Kh6 37.Qe3+ Kh5 38.Rf3 (?!) Obvious inaccuracy that gives Black drawing chances. White misses 38.Rh3+, which is obviously better: 38…Kg6 39.Qe8+ Kg7 (if 39…Bf7 then 40.Rg3+) 40.Qe7+ Bf7 41.Rg3+ and White is close to win. Qe5 39.Kf2 Qxe3+ 40.Kxe3 Kg6 41.a3 f5 42.Rf2 b5 43.Rf3 a5 44.Rf4 a4 45.g4 Kg5 46.Rxf5+ Kxg4 47.Rxc5 h5 48.Re5 h4 49.Re4+ Kh3 50.Rd4 Kxh2 51.Rxh4+ Kg3 52.Rd4 Kg2 53.Rd7 Kg3 54.Rg7+ Kh4 55.Rg1 Kh5 56.Kf4 Bb3 57.Rg5+ Kh6 58.Rg2 Bc4 59.Kf5 Kh7 60.Kf6 Bd3 61.Rg7+ Kh8 62.Rd7 Bc2 63.Ke5 Kg8 64.Kf4 Kf8 65.Ke3 Bb3 66.Kxd3 Ke8 67.Rb7 Bc4+ 68.Kd4 Kd8 69.Kc5 Kc8 70.Rxb5 1-0.

Kateryna Lahno vs Nargiz Umudova in round seven (Lahno won)

Pia Cramling vs Ilaha Kadimova in round five (Cramling won)

Firuza Velikhanli vs Kateryna Lahno in the final round (Lahno won)

Final standings

Picture Gallery

Monika Socko

Antoaneta Stefanova

Ilaha Kadimova

Nargiz Umudova, one of the arbiters, and Viktorija Cmylite

Sophie Milliet

Ilaha Kadimova

Nargiz Umudova

Vitaliy Sapronovmade, in charge of the computers during the event

Visitors watching the games on the hotel foyer

A young enthusiast and helper follows the games on the computer screens

Blitz match

The organizers of the women’s tournament invited Vladislav Tkachiev (France, rated 2655), one of the strongest blitz players of the world, to play a six-game blitz tournament against the local boy Vugar Gashimov (2655) to mark the end of the tournament. The match ended with the score 3:3, each player winning two games and with two draws.


Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Game 5

Game 6


Vugar Gashimov

1 w

0 b

0 w

0.5 b

1 w

0.5 b


Vladislav Tkachiev

0 b

1 w

1 b

0.5 w

0 b

0.5 w


Here a sample game:

Vugar Gashimov vs Vladislav Tkachiev
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.c3 d6 8.a4 Rb8 9.d4 Bb6 10.axb5 axb5 11.Qd3 0-0 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Qxb5 Bb7 15.Bd5 Na7 16.dxe5 dxe5 17.Qe2 Bxd5 18.exd5 Rfe8 19.Ra4 Qd6 20.Rd1 f5 21.Na3 e4 22.Nd4 Qxd5 23.Nc4 Bxd4 24.Rxd4 Qb7 25.g3 Nc6 26.Rd5 Ne7 27.Re5 Rbd8 28.Ne3 Qc6 29.Raa5 g6 30.Rac5 Qd6 31.Qc4 Kf8 32.Re6 Qd3 33.Rf6+ Kg7 34.Qf7+ Kh8 35.Re6 Qd7 36.Rce5 1-0.

Blitz match: Vugar Gashimov vs Vladislav Tkachiev

We thank photographer Farid Khayrulin and Vitaliy Sapronov for providing the wonderful pictures in this article.

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