Plovdiv Rd8: Exceptional results

by Albert Silver
7/15/2014 – The first and foremost story of round eight is the steaming locomotive that is Gunina, taking her score to 7.5/8 and with only one rival within even a point. Still, other players are also posting exceptional results, closing in on norms their rating would ordinarily not suggest was within their reach. Two names are Mammadzada and De Rosa who each have huge performances.

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15th European Individual Women’s Chess Championship

This event, organised by the Bulgarian Chess Federation under the auspices of the European Chess Union, is being held in the Plovdiv Hall of the Novotel Hotel in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, from July 5 (day of arrival) until July 18 (day of departure) 2014. The tournament is open to all players from chess federations which are members of the European Chess Union (FIDE zones 1.1 to 1.10), regardless of title or rating. There is also no limit in the number of participants per federation. The European Individual Women’s Championship 2014 is a qualification event for the next World Cup, for which 14 players will qualify.

The competition

The championship is an eleven-round Swiss. The rate of play is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one. Players may only agree to a draw after the 40th move has been made by Black. Players violating this rule will be forfeited. If a player is offered a draw before the 40th move she should call an arbiter. Her opponent shall be punished for distracting, according to the FIDE Laws of Chess. The zero–tolerance rule will be applied: players who are not seated at the board at the start of a round forfeit the game.

Round eight

Although this may look like the picture of an angel in blonde locks, it is really the portrait
of a serial (chess) killer.

At some point, if you don't let up on the pressure, even the most stalwart opponents will falter. Such is the case of Valentina Gunina, who has been running away with the tournament with a stupendous 7.5/8, winning her seventh game, this time against Georgian IM Lela Javakhishvili. With this win, she has now opened up a full point lead over her nearest rival, IM Melia Salome with 6.5/8, and a point and a half over a further group on 6.0/8.

Gunina - Javakhishvili

In a final flurry, Gunina finished off her opponent in style. White to play and win.

Although her rating performance of 2835 certainly qualifies her as the highest overperfomer as well, in that departement there are others peppered throughout the field, starting with Azeri WFM Gunay Mammadzada, who with 2182 FIDE, is on 5.0/8 and an impressive 2485 FIDE, worth a hefty IM norm should she draw her round nine game against IM Eliabeth Paetz.

Azeri WFM Gunay Mammadzada has had a remarkable tournament so far with a performance
that is 303 Elo above her actual rating. Bear in mind that she will be earning far more
rating now than had she played this event just a month ago by virtue of FIDE's new K=20.

Also noteworthy is Italian WFM Maria Grazia De Rosa (2081) who is also performing at 2337 and is easily on a WIM norm, but possibly even a WGM norm, she can theoretically score in round nine or ten. Her largest scalp of the event was her win over IM Sopiko Guramishvili (2402) in round four.

[Event "15th ch-EUR w 2014"] [Site "Plovdiv BUL"] [Date "2014.07.09"] [Round "4.19"] [White "Guramishvili, Sopiko"] [Black "De Rosa, Mariagrazia"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E63"] [WhiteElo "2402"] [BlackElo "2081"] [PlyCount "102"] [EventDate "2014.07.06"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. c4 d6 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. O-O a6 8. Bf4 Nh5 9. Be3 Rb8 10. Rc1 e5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Nd5 e4 13. Nd4 f5 14. b4 Ne5 15. Nb3 Be6 16. Nc5 Bf7 17. Nf4 Nxf4 18. Bxf4 Qe7 19. Bxe5 Bxe5 20. Qc2 {The game has not worked out for White as not only is her bishop cut off on g2, but Black's bishop pair cut a vicious swathe through the position.} Bd6 21. Nb3 Bxb4 22. c5 b6 23. c6 Rfd8 24. Rfd1 Bd6 25. e3 Be5 26. Nd4 Rd6 27. Bf1 b5 28. a4 Bxd4 29. Rxd4 Rxd4 30. exd4 Qb4 31. axb5 axb5 {Black's plan is simple: push the extra passed pawn to queen.} 32. Rb1 Qxd4 33. Rd1 Qa4 34. Qc1 b4 35. Bc4 b3 $4 {In desperate time trouble, Black blunders away the game, but ...} 36. Bxf7+ Kxf7 37. Rd7+ Ke6 38. Qc5 Qb4 39. Qd5+ Kf6 40. Rf7+ {...White is also short of time, and blunders away the win precisely at time control.} Kg5 41. h4+ Kg4 42. Qd1+ Kh3 43. h5 e3 44. Qf1+ Kg4 45. Qe2+ Kh3 46. Qf1+ Kg4 47. Qe2+ Kh3 48. Qxe3 $4 {Refusing the repetition and throwing it away once more. This time there is no redemption.} Qe4 49. Qxe4 fxe4 50. hxg6 hxg6 51. Rf4 g5 $1 {Sidestepping the last trap of Rh4 mate.} 0-1

Solution to diagram: White plays 1.Ne6+! fxe6 (only move) 2.Re7 mate.

Photos by Boyan Botev

Standings after round eight

Rk SNo Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts
1 4 GM Gunina Valentina RUS 2501 7.5
2 14 IM Melia Salome GEO 2454 6.5
3 16 GM Zhukova Natalia UKR 2451 6.0
4 9 IM Javakhishvili Lela GEO 2474 6.0
5 22 IM Batsiashvili Nino GEO 2417 6.0
6 8 GM Kosintseva Tatiana RUS 2476 6.0
7 12 GM Danielian Elina ARM 2458 6.0
8 2 IM Muzychuk Mariya UKR 2521 5.5
9 5 WGM Girya Olga RUS 2493 5.5
10 28 IM Foisor Cristina-Adela ROU 2383 5.5
11 7 GM Stefanova Antoaneta BUL 2488 5.5
12 53 WGM Nikolova Adriana BUL 2303 5.5
13 6 GM Hoang Thanh Trang HUN 2490 5.5
14 11 IM Khurtsidze Nino GEO 2460 5.5
15 33 WGM Szczepkowska-Horowska Karina POL 2369 5.5
16 31 WGM Schleining Zoya GER 2376 5.5
17 23 IM Arabidze Meri GEO 2406 5.5
18 1 GM Dzagnidze Nana GEO 2541 5.0
19 79 WFM Mammadzada Gunay AZE 2182 5.0
20 18 IM Mkrtchian Lilit ARM 2446 5.0
21 13 IM Paehtz Elisabeth GER 2456 5.0
22 19 WGM Kashlinskaya Alina RUS 2441 5.0
23 10 GM Socko Monika POL 2462 5.0
24 20 WGM Goryachkina Aleksandra RUS 2434 5.0
25 64 WIM Olsarova Tereza CZE 2251 5.0
26 17 IM Skripchenko Almira FRA 2449 5.0
27 32 WGM Charochkina Daria RUS 2375 5.0
28 44 WGM Mammadova Gulnar AZE 2331 5.0
29 35 IM Bulmaga Irina ROU 2357 5.0

Click for complete standings


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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