North Urals R3: Humpy beats Cramling, Stefanova leads

7/29/2008 – Two games ended in short draws, one (Ushenina vs Stefanova) in 14 moves, one (Xu-Muzychuk) in 18. Apparently this was the calm after the storm. Koneru Humpy recovered from her two shock defeats with a victory over Pia Cramling, while Marie Sebag battered away, in vain, at Natalija Pogonina for 117 moves. Round three report with more beautiful pictures by Vadim Smalkov.

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Report after round three

The North Urals Cup is taking place from July 26th - August 3rd 2008 in Krasnoturinsk, Russia. It is the strongest women's tournament ever, with the players Xu Yuhua (China), Humpy Koneru (India), Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria), Pia Cramling (Sweden), Marie Sebag (France), Anna Muzychuk (Slovenia), Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) and Natalya Pogonina (Russia).

Round 3: Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Xu Yuhua 
½-½
 Anna Muzychuk
Koneru Humpy 
1-0
 Pia Cramling
Natalija Pogonina 
½-½
 Marie Sebag
Anna Ushenina 
½-½
 Antoaneta Stefanova

The third round started peacefully. The game of Anna Ushenina (playing white) and the tournament leader Antoaneta Stefanova ended in a draw in just 14 moves. Here, for posterity, are they:

Ushenina,A (2476) - Stefanova,A (2550) [D15]
5th North Urals Cup Krasnoturinsk RUS (3), 29.07.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 a6 5.Ne5 e6 6.Bf4 dxc4 7.Nxc4 b5 8.Ne5 c5 9.dxc5 Qxd1+ 10.Rxd1 Bxc5 11.e3 Bb7 12.Be2 Nbd7 13.0-0 Nxe5 14.Bxe5 Ke7 ½-½.

Xu Yuhua and Anna Muzychuk ended their game almost just as soon. Peace was signed on move 18:

Xu Yuhua (2483) - Muzychuk,A (2504) [B01]
5th North Urals Cup Krasnoturinsk RUS (3), 29.07.2008
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Bg4 4.Be2 Bxe2 5.Qxe2 Qxd5 6.Nf3 e6 7.c4 Qe4 8.Qxe4 Nxe4 9.0-0 c6 10.Re1 Nf6 11.Nc3 Bb4 12.Bd2 0-0 13.a3 Bd6 14.b4 Nbd7 15.Rab1 Rfd8 16.h3 h6 17.a4 e5 18.dxe5 ½-½.

At the end of both games there were equal positions without any chances to win. It seems as if the girls considered today’s round the calm after the storm.

But that was not the case for everybody. The longest was the game of Natalija Pogonina vs Marie Sebag. Natalija made a rude mistake in the middlegame, allowed the opponent to successfully sacrifice an exchange and appeared to be in to quite a difficult position. In the mutual time trouble, which lasted throughout the final part of the game, Marie began to make mistakes and lost the lion’s share of the advantage. After that the Russian player was able to defend the queen + pawn vs queen + two pawns ending, which led to the long-awaited draw after five hours of play.

Pogonina,N (2469) - Sebag,M (2530) [B33]
5th North Urals Cup Krasnoturinsk RUS (3), 29.07.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.a4 a6 8.Na3 Bg4 9.f3 Be6 10.Bc4 Nb4 11.Bg5 Rc8 12.Bb3 Be7 13.0-0 0-0 14.Kh1 h6 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.Bxd5 Qb6 18.b3 Rfd8 19.Nc4 Qb4 20.a5 Bxd5 21.exd5 Rc5 22.Re1 Rb5 23.Ra4 Qc5 24.Nb6 Qc3 25.Ree4 Rc5 26.Rac4 Qxa5 27.b4 Qxb6 28.bxc5 dxc5 29.h3 Qd6 30.Qg1 Rc8 31.Rc3 b5 32.Rd3 c4 33.Rd1 Rc5 34.Ree1 a5 35.Qe3 Rxd5 36.Rxd5 Qxd5 37.Qe2 b4 38.Rd1 Qc6 39.Qe1 Qb5 40.Qe4 b3 41.Qa8+ Kh7 42.Qe4+ g6 43.Rd5 Qc6 44.cxb3 cxb3 45.Rxa5 Qc1+ 46.Kh2 Bg5 47.Qd5 Kg7 48.Ra7 Bf4+ 49.g3 Qc2+ 50.Kh1 Qf5 51.gxf4 b2 52.Rxf7+ Qxf7 53.Qxe5+ Qf6 54.Qc7+ Kh8 55.Qb8+ Kh7 56.Qb4 h5 57.Kg2 h4 58.Kf2 Kh6 59.Kg2 g5 60.f5 Kh7 61.Qb7+ Qg7 62.Qb3 Qc7 63.Qxb2 Qg3+ 64.Kf1 Qxh3+ 65.Qg2 Qxf5 66.Qe2 Kg6 67.Kg2 Kf6 68.Qe8 Qc2+ 69.Kh3 Qf5+ 70.Kg2 Qe5 71.Qf8+ Ke6 72.Qe8+ Kd5 73.Qb5+ Kd4 74.Qb2+ Kd5 75.Qb5+ Ke6 76.Qe8+ Kf6 77.Qf8+ Kg6 78.Qg8+ Kh6 79.Qf8+ Qg7 80.Qf5 Qc7 81.Qf6+ Kh5 82.Qh8+ Kg6 83.Qg8+ Kh6 84.Qh8+ Kg6 85.Qg8+ Kf6 86.Qh8+ Qg7 87.Qd8+ Qe7 88.Qd4+ Kg6 89.Qd3+ Kh6 90.Qf5 Qd6 91.Qf7 Qg3+ 92.Kf1 Qh3+ 93.Kg1 Qg3+ 94.Kf1 Qe5 95.Kf2 Qb2+ 96.Kg1 Qg7 97.Qf5 Qc7 98.Qf6+ Kh5 99.Qh8+ Kg6 100.Qg8+ Kf6 101.Qf8+ Qf7 102.Qd6+ Kf5 103.Qd3+ Kf6 104.Qd4+ Kg6 105.Qe4+ Kg7 106.Kg2 Qc7 107.Qd4+ Kg6 108.Qe4+ Kf6 109.Qd4+ Qe5 110.Qd8+ Kf5 111.Qf8+ Qf6 112.Qc5+ Kg6 113.Qc2+ Kh6 114.Qc8 Qf4 115.Qh8+ Kg6 116.Qg8+ Kf6 117.Qf8+ Ke5 ½-½.

Today the Indian player with the highest rating, Koneru Humpy, gained her first victory. She managed to calm herself after two shock defeats and to beat Pia Cramling, who is not playing at all successfully in this tournament.

Koneru,H (2622) - Cramling,P (2544) [D45]
5th North Urals Cup Krasnoturinsk RUS (3), 29.07.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 a6 6.c5 b6 7.cxb6 Qxb6 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.0-0 c5 10.b3 cxd4 11.exd4 Bd6 12.Bb2 0-0 13.Qe2 Bb7 14.Na4 Qa7 15.Ne5 Rfc8 16.Rac1 Bf8 17.Nxd7 Nxd7 18.Rc2 Rxc2 19.Qxc2 Nf6 20.Nc5 Rc8 21.b4 a5 22.Qa4 Ne4 23.Rc1 Ba8 24.a3 Rc7 25.f3 Nd6 26.Qxa5 Qxa5 27.bxa5 h6 28.Na6 Rb7 29.Bc3 Nc4 30.Bb4 Ra7 31.Nb8 Rc7 32.Na6 Ra7 33.Nc5 Bxc5 34.dxc5 Ne5 35.Bb5 Nc6 36.a6 e5 37.Kf2 f6 38.Bd2 Nd4 39.a4 Nb3 40.Rd1 Nxc5 41.Rc1 Nxa6 42.Rc8+

42...Kf7? 43.Ba5! Bb7 44.Rd8 Nc5 45.Bb6 (forking the rook and the knight) 1-0.

Tomorrow there will be a day-off in the “North Urals Cup” and it means we can expect more exciting struggle in the next round because players will come with renewed vigour.

Current standings


Koneru Humpy: “The Climate Here Is Perfect!”

She managed to beat Pia Cramling in the third round and thus move up from the bottom line of the tournament table. Koneru Humpy told journalists at the press conference why she always travels with her father, what is the emblem sewed on her blouse means and why she likes the Russian climate.

Q: Was it difficult for you to collect yourself after two defeats and to win?

It was a difficult game because I made mistakes in time trouble. But then I managed to pull myself up. Concerning defeats, it is the first time in my career when I lost two games in a row in a women tournament.

You do not often take part in women competitions. Why?

I often play in open tournaments, and prefer playing with men because I do it better. But it happens not because there is a difference between playing with men and women. It just so happens.

What are your plans for the near future?

I am going to take part in the World Women Championship that will begin at the end of August in Nalchik. So I will come to Russia again.

How do you feel in Krasnoturinsk?

It is my second time here and I like it very much. The climate is super.

But it has been raining for a second day.

Yes, I prefer cool weather. It is always too hot in India.

Would you like to visit Russia in winter?

I played in the world championship in March in Russia. It was still snowing. And it was a very interesting experience for me.

You have an interesting emblem on your blouse. What is it?

It is the emblem of the national gas corporation that is my sponsor already more than one year and a half.

Your father has accompanied you here. Do you always travel together?

My father taught me to play chess and he is still my coach. That’s why we are always together.

How will you spend your day off?

I haven't though about it. But I heard that the organizers prepared something interesting for us.


Photo gallery by Vadim Smalkov


Round three under way: Ushenina-Stefanova, Humpy-Cramling, Xu-Muzychuk, Pogonina-Sebag


Natalija Pogonina kibitzes in the game Xu Yuhua vs Anna Muzychuk


Anna Ushinana is also interested in this game


Xu Yuhua vs Anna Muzychuk – but it was drawn in just 18 moves


Natalija Pogonina vs Maria Sebag, which turned into a marathon 117-move game


Top seed Koneru Humpy scored her first point in round three


Marie Sebag, who tried for over 100 moves to win her game


Anna Muszchuk hails from Ukraine but lives in Slovenia


Anna Ushenina, who drew in 14 moves against...


... former Women's World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova

All photos copyright Vadim Smalkov for the official site

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