Preview of the Women's Grand Prix

by Alejandro Ramirez
4/8/2014 – Only a week after the Candidates tournament has finished in Khanty-Mansiysk, the new "Chess Mecca" is host to the fourth Women's Grand Prix of the cycle. The tournament is full of stars including Hou Yifan, Stefanova, T. Kosintseva, Muzychuk, Zhao Xue etc. Alina l'Ami has traveled all the way to the playing site and brings us an impressive and beautiful pictoral report.

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Preview of the Women’s Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysk

The fourth stage of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix series 2013-2014 is taking place at the Ugra Chess Academy, Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia from the 8th of April until the 22nd of April 2014. Twelve of the strongest women players are playing in a round robin with the standard FIDE time control of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, with 30 minutes plus an additional 30 seconds per move for the rest of the game. The prize money is 60,000 Euros and 15,000 Euros towards an accumulated prize fund for the players at the end of the series. The winner of Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysk will get 10,000 Euro.

Amongst the 12 participants there are the current Women World Champion Hou Yifan, three former Women World Champions Anna Ushenina (Ukraine), Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria), and Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), as well as the number four in the world’s rating list Anna Muzychuk (Slovenia), two-times European champions Kateryna Lagno (Ukraine) and Tatiana Kosintseva (Russia), the top boards of the national team of Uzbekistan Nafisa Muminova and of Georgian national team Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia), World University Champion and one of the strongest players from China, Zhao Xue and from Mongolia Tuvshintugs Batchimeg (Mongolia). Another Russian player Olga Girya, nominee from Khanty-Mansiysk, will try to prove that the term “home advantage” can be successfully applied to chess.

The Women Grand Prix Series consists of six tournaments that are being held over a two year period between 2013 and 2014. 18 top players participate in four tournaments each. The winner of the Grand Prix series will play a ten-game World Championship match with the Women's World Champion, which will take place in the third quarter of 2015.

The venue

The Candidates Tournament 2014 are be held in the modern building of the Ugra Chess Academy, which is located in the city center of Khanty-Mansiysk.

Khanty-Mansiysk is an oil boom town, located on the eastern bank of the Irtysh River, 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) from its confluence with the Ob. Population: 80,000.

The Ugra Chess Academy (6a Loparev St., Khanty-Mansiysk) is a unique three-level building with no sharp edges, designed by the famous Dutch architect Erick Van Egeraat and constructed using modern energy conserving technologies. The games will be held in the tournament hall on the first floor.

The hall, in which numerous international congresses and forums take place, can be transformed and changed in size due to the innovative construction. Apart from the tournament hall the Ugra Chess Academy consists of classrooms for children who are keen on chess, computer classrooms for holding the Internet tournaments, a cozy café and a hall decorated with pieces of art regarding chess.

Players

No.
Player
Nat.
Title
Rating
1
Yifan Hou
CHN
GM
2613
2
Anna Muzychuk
SLO
GM
2560
3
Xue Zhao
CHN
GM
2552
4
Nana Dzagnidze
GEO
GM
2550
5
Kateryna Lagno
UKR
GM
2543
6
Alexandra Kosteniuk
RUS
GM
2527
7
Anna Ushenina
UKR
GM
2501
8
Tatiana Kosintseva
RUS
GM
2496
9
Antoaneta Stefanova
BUL
GM
2489
10
Olga Girya
RUS
WGM
2450
11
Tuvshintugs Batchimeg
MGL
WGM
2340
12
Muminova Nafisa
UZB
WGM
2321

Pictoral report by Alina l'Ami

During every important historic period, certain places and cities have had the privilege of hosting the most important top level competitions. In the late '90s, Elista gradually became the capital of official chess World events. Being in his first years as a FIDE president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov built up the first chess city, which hosted the 1998 Olympiad. Later, many important competitions took place in Elista, culminating with the highly controversial match Kramnik-Topalov.

Over the past years, the center of gravity seems to be moving to Khanty Mansiysk. At the opening ceremony of the recent Candidates Tournament, the FIDE President called Khanty Mansiysk the new Mecca of chess. And here we are again, only few weeks later, in the same place and same playing hall, with the slight difference that two chess boards were added and the competitors are women players... The latter aspect is only partly relevant since among the participants there are... nine grandmasters! But for the media the more attractive detail is the presence of the reigning Woman World Champion Hou Yifan and three former champions, Kosteniuk, Stefanova and Ushenina.

The general feeling is that the actual Chess Mecca has taken things into a new dimension. Given the enormous chess tradition in Russia, should we be surprised that every single organizational detail seems to be just perfect so far? True, up to now we have only experienced the opening ceremony, with an excellent live performance, beautiful music and dances, and had a first impression about the playing conditions, but we should not expect less for the forthcoming days! The tournament itself promises an outstanding chess spectacle, with genuine life-or-death fights; ladies are known for not using half-measures! That being said, GP 2014 is about to start!

The only way to get in (Khanty Mansiysk) is via Moscow, with UTair or Transaero. Since the latter doesn't operate daily flights, then UTair remains the only option. Probably this image brings back a lot of memories for those who played the Olympiad in 2010 or the World Cup in 2011, etc.

A painting made back in 2010, specially for the Chess Olympiad, which still hangs proudly on the walls of the hotel where I am currently staying. It reminds me of the Romanian saying which is widely used by our trainers: "What on earth were you thinking? Were you dreaming of green horses on the walls or something?" - usually used when someone entered horrendous time pressure... here the "green horses" are replaced with the mammoths - the trademark of Khanty Mansiysk....this is just a wild interpretation, but it was the first thought that came to my mind.

The Candidates reloaded: same venue, same boards, just different players and a slightly different name.

The hotels that hosted the players at the 2010 Olympiad

Kids enjoy a beautiful day in Khanty, even though it is very cold by most people's standards

If I were to mention one of the things I like in Russia, I would certainly point to the beautiful churches

This is the Church of the resurrection of Christ in Khany-Mansiysk

The Ugra Chess Academy is indeed a futuristic and very beautiful building, which resembles a chess piece...

I tried different angles, to see which piece would come to mind and I am not quite sure; but I will let the readers solve the puzzle

A hand made chess exhibition at the Ugra Chess Academy

A symbol of true globe-trotters: chess players!

A black piece greeting people to the opening ceremony

With her White equivalent, of course

Beautiful music could not be missed at the event

Hou Yifan at the drawing of lots...

Having a little trouble deciphering if she got a 6 or a 9!
She did get a six and will face Kosintseva tomorrow

Kosintseva drawing her number seven

Former World Champion Stefanova will start with two whites

Tuvshitungs from Mongolia is not the favorite on paper, but she can deliver powerful surprises

Announcing tomorrows pairings! We will have them up as soon as they are released to the public

A musical performance after the drawing of lots

My ears were delighted with some nice pieces from "Carmen"

A chess-inspired dance

The calm before the storm...besides the players need to eat as well!
A very friendly atmosphere, in case you had any doubts!

Schedule and results

Date Day Time Event
08.04.2014 Tues 19:00 Opening Ceremony
09.04.2014 Wed 15:00 Round 1
10.04.2014 Thurs 15:00 Round 2
11.04.2014 Friday 15:00 Round 3
12.04.2014 Sat 15:00 Round 4
13.04.2014 Sun   Free day
14.04.2014 Mon 15:00 Round 5
15.04.2014 Tues 15:00 Round 6
16.04.2014 Wed 15:00 Round 7
17.04.2014 Thurs 15:00 Round 8
18.04.2014 Friday   Free day
19.04.2014 Sat 15:00 Round 9
20.04.2014 Sun 15:00 Round 10
21.04.2014 Mon 15:00 Round 11 + Closing

Note: the games are played at 15:00h (3 p.m.) local time, which is 11 a.m. CEST (Paris) and 5 a.m. EST (New York). Click here if you are uncertain what that means for your local time.

Current Grand Prix standings

Each tournament is a twelve-player, single round-robin tournament. Grand prix points are allocated according to each player's standing in the tournament: 160 grand prix points for first place, 130 for second place, 110 for third place, and then 90 down to 10 points by steps of 10. In case of a tie in points the grand prix points are shared evenly by the tied players. The player with the most grand prix points is the winner. Only the best three tournament results are counted.

In the following table the ratings are from the FIDE 2014 list. The individual Grand Prix tournaments are in Geneva, Dilijan, Tashkent, Khanty-Mansiysk, Tbilisi and Erdenet.

# Player Nat. Rtng Gen Dili Tash K-M Tbil Erd No. Pts
1  Koneru Humpy IND 2613   160 160   x x 2 320
2  Bela Khotenashvili GEO 2513 160 10 120   x   3 290
3  Anna Muzychuk SLO 2560 130 120   x x   2 250
4  Nana Dzagnidze GEO 2550 100 120   x x   2 220
5  Tatiana Kosintseva RUS 2496 100 90   x   x 2 190
6  Kateryna Lahno UKR 2543 60   120 x x   2 180
7  Anna Ushenina UKR 2501 75 80   x   x 2 155
8  Dronavalli Harika IND 2507   60 85   x x 2 145
9  Ju Wenjun CHN 2527 75   70   x x 2 145
10  Alexa. Kosteniuk RUS 2527 45   55 x   x 2 100
11  Olga Girya RUS 2450 10 30 55 x     3 95
12  Ant. Stefanova BUL 2489   60 30   x x 2 90
13  Zhao Xue CHN 2552     85 x x x 1 85
14  Batch.Tuvshintugs MON 2340 20 60   x   x 2 80
15  Elina Danielian ARM 2460   30 40 x x   2 70
16  Viktorija Cmilyte LTU 2511 30 30       x 2 60
17  Hou Yifan CHN 2618 45     x x x 1 45
18  Nafisa Muminova UZB 2321     20 x x x 1 20
19  Gul. Nakhbayeva KAZ 2297     10       1 10

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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