North Urals Cup: Xu Yuhua, Humpy lead

by ChessBase
7/11/2005 – After six rounds there were four players at the top of the tables in this super-tournament for female players: two Russians and two Asians. Then disaster struck for the Russian girls: one lost cleanly to a compatriot, the other turned a brilliancy chance into a traumatic loss. So now the Asians are favourites to win.

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The North Urals Cup 2005 is the third international super-tournament for female chess players! It is being held in Krasnoturinsk, a city is located in the north of Sverdlovsk area, 426 Kms from the regional center Ekaterinburg (Yekaterinburg).

The tournament is a round robin with ten very strong female chess players, amongst them the current women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova (2501, BUL), five times world champion Maia Chiburdanidze (2509, GEO), Russian Women's champion Alexandra Kosteniuk (2516, RUS), former Russian women's champion Alisa Galliamova (2453, RUS), European women's champion 2000 Natalia Zhukova (2478, UKR), India's top female player Koneru Humpy and top seed (2531, IND). The average rating of the tournament is 2490. Data of all participants...

Report after round seven

After six rounds of play at the North Urals Super-Tournaments four players were in the lead, each with 4/6. They were Koneru Humpy, Xu Yuhua, Ekaterina Kovalevskaya and Russian Women's Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk. The next best were a full point behind.

Critical round seven game Alexandra Kosteniuk vs WGM Xu Yuhua

In the seventh round two players from the top group faced each other in a fateful game, one which is bound to haunt the determined and muti-talented Alexandra Kosteniuk for some time to come.

Kosteniuk,Alexandra (2516) - Xu,Yuhua (2480)
North Urals Cup 2005 (7), 11.07.2005
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.Be3 Ne4 7.Qg4 g6 8.a3 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 c5 10.Bd3 Nxc3 11.dxc5 Nc6 12.Nf3 Qe7 13.0-0 a5 14.Rfe1 Bd7 15.h4 0-0-0 16.a4 f5 17.exf6 Qxf6 18.Qxg6 Qe7 19.Qg3 Ne4 20.Bxe4 dxe4 21.Nd2 e5 22.Nxe4 Rhg8 23.Nd6+ Kb8 24.Qh2 Qe6 25.Rab1 Nb4 26.Bf4 Bc6 27.Bg3 Nxc2.

Alexandra Kosteniuk has completely outplayed her young Chinese opponent, and is set for a brilliant finish: 28.Nxb7 Bxb7 29.Rxe5 Qa2 30.c6 Qxb1+ 31.Re1+ Ka8 32.Rxb1 and Black can resign. 28.Rxe5.This makes White's task more difficult. 28...Qa2 29.Rd1 Ka8 30.h5 Qxa4. Sasha Kosteniuk still has winning chances with the extra pawn, but not after 31.Qh4? Qxh4 32.Bxh4 Rxg2+ 33.Kf1 Rh2.

After 34.Bg3 Rh1+ 35.Ke2 Bf3+ 36.Kxf3 Rxd1 White is an exchange down and has a tough defensive task ahead. But the Russian Women's Champion plays the fatal 34.Bxd8?? Why fatal? Surely you will see Black's next move and the reason why Kosteniuk resigned, giving her opponent the lead in this tournament, and herself nightmares for a few days to come. Click here to replay this game.

Ekaterina Kovalevskaya faced the experienced Alisa Galliamova and was outplayed in a 50-mover. Meanwhile the brightest Indian female talent, Koneru Humpy, cruised to another win to join Xu Yuhua in the lead. Both players are now a point ahead of the field and hot candidates for an overall victory.

Standings after seven rounds

Picture gallery

The official web site has a lot of excellent photos, all provided by Vadim Smalkov. Here is a small selection – in many cases you can click on the pictures to get Vadim's high-resolution originals. At the bottom of the page you will find links to sources where you can find many more pictures. Only a small number of them are captioned, so you must guess who or what is shown in them.

The start of round seven in the North Urals Cup 2005

Kosintseva vs Zhukova (left) and Chiburdanidze vs Stefanova (right)

India's strongest female player: GM Koneru Humpy

In the joint lead: Chinese wonder Xu Yuhua

Antoaneta Stefanova, the reigning women's world champion

Former Russian women's champion Alisa Galliamova

Tatiana Kosintseva


  • The official web site
    There are lots of excellent pictures, some with captions in Russian and English, daily English language reports, results, games, live coverage. This is a great tournament web site with exemplary navigation. You can spend a few hours going through everything.

    Contact: Press officer: Natalia Khamidova
    Tel: +7 (34314) 3-67-34
    Email: direction (at)

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