Nalchik R3: Four players score in first game of round three

9/4/2008 – "Hou do you think will win the Championship?" skyped Nigel Short after today's round. Indeed. The 14-year-old Chinese talent Hou Yifan has won all five games she has played so far and must be considered a hot favourite for the title. In other games Ushenina beat Matveeva, Stefanova crushed Gaponenko, Cramling beat Ruan Lufei, top seed Humpy was held by Hoang Thanh Trang. Full pictorial report.

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The Women's World Championship 2008 is taking 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 has 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 three

Gaponenko,I (2468) - Stefanova,A (2550) [C69]
WCh-Women Nalchik RUS (3.1), 04.09.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0 Qf6 6.h3 Ne7 7.c3 Ng6 8.d4 Bd6 9.Bg5 Qe6 10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.Nd4 Qg6 12.f4 Bc5 13.Kh1 f6 14.Bh4 Qh6 15.Bg3 Bxh3 16.Kg1 Bg4 17.Qb3 0-0-0

18.Na3? Nd3. Threatening 19...Rxd4 20.cxd4 Bxd4+. 19.Nac2 Be2 20.Qc4 Qg6 21.Kh2 Qh5+ 22.Kg1 Nxf4 23.Qb3 Bxf1 24.Bxf4 Bd3 25.Be3 Rhe8 26.Ne6 Bxc2

Ghastly – White is a rook and two pawns down, the queen is under attack and there are mate threats looming all over the place. So: 0-1.


Beauty with chainsaw instincts: former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova

Kosteniuk,A (2510) - Kosintseva,T (2511) [C95]
WCh-Women Nalchik RUS (3.1), 04.09.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8 13.Nf1 Bf8 14.Ng3 g6 15.a4 c5 16.d5 c4 17.Bg5 h6 18.Be3 Nc5 19.Qd2 h5 20.Ra3 Nfd7 21.Rea1 Qc7 22.Bh6 Be7 23.Rf1 Nb6 24.axb5 axb5 25.Rxa8 Rxa8 26.Nh2 Bh4 27.Nxh5 gxh5 28.Qe2 f6 29.Qxh5 Bg5 30.Qg6+ Kh8 31.Bxg5 fxg5 32.Qh6+ Qh7 33.Qxd6 Nbd7 34.Ng4 Qg7 35.Rb1 Kh7 36.Qc7 Qh8 37.b4 cxb3 38.Bxb3 Qb8 39.Qxb8 Rxb8 40.Bc2 Ba6 41.g3 Kg7 42.f3 Nb7 43.Bd3 Nbc5 44.Bc2 Rb6 45.Kf2 Na4 46.Nxe5 Nxe5 47.Bxa4 Rh6 48.Bd1 Rxh3 49.Ra1 Rh6 50.Be2 Rb6 51.Ke3 Kf7 52.Kd4 Nd7 53.e5 Nb8 54.f4 gxf4 55.gxf4 b4 56.e6+ Ke7 57.Bxa6 Nxa6

Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk has been pressing hard for most of the game and has missed some opportunities to close it. Here 58.Ke5 would have got her the full point for sure, but instead she blew it with 58.cxb4? after which the position is a draw. 58...Kd6 59.e7 Kxe7 60.Re1+ Kd7 61.f5 Nxb4 62.Rh1 Rd6 63.Rh7+ Kd8 64.Ke4 draw.

Indian IM and recently crowned Junior World Champion Harika Dronavalli had good chances with the white pieces against Lilit Mkrtchian, but the Armenian IM defended tenaciously and the game ended in a marathon 83-move draw.


Lucky escape against Harika: IM Lilith Mkrtchian of Armenia

Top seed Koneru Humpy, the only player in this tournament (and the only female player in the world except for Judit Polgar) rated over 2600, was held to a draw with the black pieces by Hoang Thanh Trang of Hungary.


Top seed in Nalchik (with a 2622 rating): Koneru Humpy from India

Matveeva,S (2412) - Ushenina,A (2476) [D45]
WCh-Women Nalchik RUS (3.1), 04.09.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 a6 6.b3 Bb4 7.Bd2 0-0 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.0-0 Bd6 10.e4 dxc4 11.bxc4 e5 12.d5 Nc5 13.Bc2 Bg4 14.h3 Bh5 15.Qe2 h6 16.g4 Bg6 17.Rac1 cxd5 18.cxd5 b5 19.a3 Rc8 20.Ne1 Qb6 21.Ng2 Ncd7 22.Nb1 Qd4 23.Rfe1 Nxd5 24.Nh4 N5f6 25.Nxg6 fxg6 26.Bb3+ Kh7 27.Be3 Qxe4 28.Nc3 Qb7 29.a4 b4 30.Nb1 Nc5 31.Bc4 Nfe4 32.Red1 Qe7 33.Bxa6 Ra8 34.Bb5 Nxa4 35.Bxa4 Rxa4

White is two pawns down and under tremendous pressure. Now she implodes: 36.Qc2? b3 37.Qxb3 Rb4. A pity: the immediate 37...Qh4 would have produced a pretty end. 38.Qc2 Qh4 39.Kg2 Be7 40.f3?? Qg3+ 0-1.


The lady who knocked out the world champion in the previous round, Svetlana Matveeva...


... got mangled by one of Ukraine's top female players, Anna Ushenina

Hou Yifan (2557) - Sedina,E (2344) [C10]
WCh-Women Nalchik RUS (3.1), 04.09.2008
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Bd3 c5 8.0-0 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Be7 10.b3 0-0 11.Bb2 a6 12.Re1 Qc7 13.Qf3 Re8 14.Qh3 e5 15.Nf5 Bxf5 16.Qxf5 Bd6 17.g3 Rad8 18.Rad1 Qe7 19.Re2 g6 20.Qg5 Kg7 21.Qh4 h6 22.f4 Nd7 23.Qxe7 Rxe7 24.Be4 Nf8 25.Kg2 f6 26.fxe5 fxe5 27.Red2 Red7 28.Rxd6 1-0.


Like a hot knife through butter – Chinese WGM Hou Yifan, 14

"Hou do you think will win the Championship?" Nigel Short asked us after this game. Indeed. It was the fifth win in five games by the 14-year-old super-talent from China – incidentally someone who was discovered by our friend Ali Nihat Yazici, President of the Turkish Chess Federation, three and a half years ago. In his report on the World Ladies Tournament in Jinan he wrote:

"As a journalist, president and chess person I must draw your attention to this young lady, Miss Hou Yifan. Take a good look at her – we are introducing you to a future women's world champion. Hou is just eleven years old, and her official rating is 2158. But her performance in Jinan was 2400. She is a great talent and I predict that she may soon become the youngest GM in the world. Not WGM, but GM!


Hou Yifan at the World Ladies in April 2005

Results of round three

Nat. Name Rtng
G1
G2
R1
R2
B1
B2
SD
Tot.
Round 3 Match 01
RUS Matveeva, Svetlana 2412
0
         
0.0
UKR Ushenina, Anna 2476
1
         
1.0
Round 3 Match 02
HUN Hoang Thanh Trang 2487
½
         
0.5
IND Koneru, Humpy 2622
½
         
0.5
Round 3 Match 03
CHN Hou, Yifan 2557
1
         
1.0
ITA Sedina, Elena 2344
0
         
0.0
Round 3 Match 04
UKR Gaponenko, Inna 2468
0
         
0.0
BUL Stefanova, Antoaneta 2550
1
         
1.0
Round 3 Match 05
SWE Cramling, Pia 2544
1
         
1.0
CHN Ruan, Lufei 2499
0
         
0.0
Round 3 Match 06
IND Harika, Dronavalli 2461
½
         
0.5
ARM Mkrtchian, Lilit 2436
½
         
0.5
Round 3 Match 07
CHN Shen, Yang 2445
½
         
0.5
RUS Kosintseva, Nadezhda 2460
½
         
0.5
Round 3 Match 08
RUS Kosteniuk, Alexsandra 2510
½
         
0.5
RUS Kosintseva, Tatjana 2511
½
         
0.5

Video reports by FIDE



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