Nalchik: Alexandra Kosteniuk is Women's World Champion

by ChessBase
9/17/2008 – The Russian GM drew the fourth game against the 14-year-old Chinese wondergirl Hou Yifan to win the final of the Women's World Championship with a 2.5:1.5 score. In the final game Alexandra Kosteniuk was winning but played it safe and drew with a perpetual check. We bring you a final pictorial report from Nalchik with a special section of the actors in the background. Beautiful people.

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The Women's World Championship 2008 took place from August 28th to September 18th in Nalchik, in the Kabardino-Balkaria region of Russia. 64 players were eligible to play in the knock-out event, which had a prize fund of US $450,000. Due to the tensions in the region the Georgian players and a few others decided not to participate.

Round six report (final)

Nat. Name Rtng
RUS Kosteniuk, Alexsandra 2510
CHN Hou, Yifan 2557

The start of the final game in the Women's World Championship in Nalchik

The media interest in this event is great

Alexandra Kosteniuk only needed a draw to win the World Championship title

Hou Yifan had to win and tried to complcate the game

Kosteniuk,A (2510) - Hou Yifan (2557) [B45]
WCh-Women Nalchik RUS (6.4), 17.09.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Be2 Be7 8.0-0 a6 9.a4 0-0 10.f4 Qc7 11.Kh1 Bd7 12.Nb3 b6 13.Qe1 Bc8 14.Qg3 Bb7 15.f5 Kh8 16.Rad1 Rae8 17.fxe6 fxe6 18.Qh3 Bd8 19.Nd4 Nxd4 20.Rxd4 e5 21.Rc4 Qb8 22.Rd1 b5 23.axb5 axb5 24.Nxb5 Nxe4 25.Bd3 Nf6 26.Rh4 e4 27.Be2 Bc8 28.Qg3 Ba6 29.c4 Bxb5 30.cxb5 Bb6 31.Bf4 Qa7 32.Bxd6 Bf2 33.Qf4 Nd5 34.Qc1 Rc8 35.Qd2 Rfd8 36.Rxh7+ Kxh7 37.Qxd5 Qe3 38.Bg4 Ra8 39.Qe6 Kh8 40.Qe7 Qh6 41.h3 Qg6 42.Qe5 Bb6 43.Bh5 Qh6 44.Bg4 e3 45.Qe4 Qf6 46.Rd5 Ra1+? 47.Kh2

White was much better, and after the mlove 46...Ra1+? Alexandra Kosteniuk is completely winning. In the diagram position she is threatening 48.Rh5+ and mate. In desperation Hou Yifan decides to trade her queen for a rook and bishop (the only real option left for her): 47...Qxd6+ 48.Rxd6 Bc7 49.Qf5 Bxd6+ 50.g3 Kg8. The threat was 51.Qh5+ and mate. Now White can continue 51.Bf3 (threatening 52.Bd5+ and mate) 51... Be5 (or 51...Bb8 52.Bd5+ Rxd5 53.Qxd5++–) 52.Qxe5 Rd2+ 53.Bg2 and White is a bishop and two pawns up. However, Sasha Kosteniuk decides to go for the safest option: draw by perpetual: 51.Qd5+ Kf8 52.Qf5+ Ke7 53.Qe6+ Kf8 54.Qf5+ Kg8 55.Qd5+ Kf8 56.Qf5+ draw.

The moment has come: Alexandra Kosteniuk is the Women's World Chess Champion

With her proud husband Diego Garces

She can hardly believe it: the twelfth Women's World Champion in history

Flowers for the winner, and everyone wants a picture

A toast for the winner, with Hou, Kosteniuk and press officer Peter Rajcsanyi
(oops, the girl is fourteen and cannot drink champagne for another four years!)

The world champion and the phenomenally talented runner up

All Women's World Champions

1 Vera Menchik 1927–1944 Czechoslovakia / United Kingdom
2 Lyudmila Rudenko 1950–1953 Soviet Union (Ukraine)
3 Elisabeth Bykova 1953–1956 Soviet Union (Russia)
4 Olga Rubtsova 1956–1958 Soviet Union (Russia)
3 Elisabeth Bykova 1958–1962 Soviet Union (Russia)
5 Nona Gaprindashvili 1962–1978 Soviet Union (Georgia)
6 Maya Chiburdanidze 1978–1991 Soviet Union (Georgia)
7 Xie Jun 1991–1996 China
8 Susan Polgar 1996–1999 Hungary / USA
7 Xie Jun 1999–2001 China
9 Zhu Chen 2001–2004 China
10 Antoaneta Stefanova 2004–2006 Bulgaria
11 Xu Yuhua 2006–2008 China
12 Alexandra Kosteniuk   2008 Russia

Note that two World Champions, Xie Jun and Elisabeth Bykova, won the title twice. They are counted just once, a Botvinnik is for the men's world – he is the sixth world champion, although he won the title three times. So there have been a total of twelve women's world champions in the history of the game.

And one more for the road: a portrait of the fourteenth Women's World Champion

The FIDE press center

Your otherwise so intrepid ChessBase news team did not go to Nalchik, in spite of extremely cordial invitations and excellent conditions offered to us (for which we thank the organisers). Basically it clashed with the Bilbao Masters and other commitments – and if we are honest we were also a bit afraid to go to a place so close to an international military confrontation (insert chicken squawk here). However: we were excellently served with information and pictures by the press center in Nalchik, whose daily missives made it possible to provide good newspage coverage. We would like to introduce some of our more intrepid colleagues who spent three whole weeks in the Kabardino-Balkaria region of Russia.

Rashad Kimov, Peter Rajcsanyi and Dzhamilya Hagarova. Rashad is a translator and, when he is not doing this, a university professor. Dzhamilya is the Press Chief of President Kanokov and supervised the government side of the people working in the Center.

Askhat Mechiev, the main administrative and technical person in charge of the Press Center: Askhat looked after everyone and therefore was usually the last one to leave the center, always after midnight.

Elena Akhokhova, a translator at official events like press conferences and meeting with government people. Elena works at the university where Rashad Kimov (see above) teaches.

Peter Rajcsanyi, FIDE Press Chief, who sent us the Nalchik material

The rest of the pictures show us young ladies working as translators and as hostesses to the principals. All are university students from Nalchik.

Maryana Berova

Madina Bezrokova

Svetlana Mishhozheva

Asiyat Hushtova

A thought springs to mind: maybe it wasn't such a good idea not to go to this event, to be nervous about international military confrontations and that kind of thing? We make a terrible mistake, didn't we?

Anna Aramisova

Diana Taumurzaeva

Amina Hazhmetova. Some ancestor of Amina, we believe, sat for a portrait by an Italian painter and inventor five hundred years ago. He did a nice picture of her on a poplar panel, which can be viewed today in a gallery in Paris.

Dzhamilya Teberdieva

Ekaterina Tolasova

Definitely a terrible, terrible mistake. How stupid can one get? Bilabo indeed. Previous engagements pshaw. Let this be a lesson to the faint of heart. And one more thing: we would like to dedicate this last section to a young grandmaster who upbraided us for wilfully neglecting our duty: "You must bring pictures of people around the tournament," he said, sipping his tea in the hotel lobby in Bilbao. "Not just pictures of us players, from the front, from the side, from above, from below, thinking, not thinking. There are so many beautiful people who are not playing the games. Forget about us, publish their pictures!" Is this better, sir?

Report by Frederic Friedel, photos by Evgeny Atarov and Ilya Akhobekov for FIDE

Video reports by FIDE


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