Rijeka: Special report – Women's group

by Albert Silver
3/14/2010 – We have been reporting quite extensively on the European Individual Championships, but contrary to urban legend we have been neglecting the female players. After the first seven rounds it is time to make amends. We do so with a look at a number of games, we offer you some tactical puzzles, and bring you a large number of uncaptioned pictures – and ask you to identify the players.

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This event is taking place from March 6th to 18th 2010 in Rijeka, Croatia. Top players include Almasi, Bacrot, Movsesian, Navara, Vallejo, Motylev, Adams, Tomashevsky, Alekseev, Baadur, Naiditsch, Akopian, Volokitin, Bologan and Caruana.

Special report – Women's group

By Albert Silver

After four rounds, only one player remained with an unblemished score, Polish GM Monika Socko, with 4.0/4 followed by seven players with 3.5. Socko drew her game with black against strong IM Anna Muzychuk, rated 2533, while Tatiana Kosintseva, the ‘weaker’ of the Kosintseva sisters, with ‘only’ 2524 Elo, overcame French IM Almira Skripchenko, thus joining her on the leaderboard. GM Arakhamia-Grant beat veteran Pia Cramling to also seize her spot under the sun after the latter made an unusual mistake, which ended up costing her the game.

Round six

The top board featured the leaders GM Socko and Russian Tatiana Kosintseva, both on 4.5/5, facing off, with Arakhamia-Grant, also with 4.5, taking on the highest rated player on 4.0/5, GM Antoaneta Stefanova, rated 2555. As in the men’s section, with no less than 10 more competitors on their heels, diplomacy was not in the cards. Socko and Kosintseva played a Nimzo-Indian Rubinstein, which started following Navara-Kramnik (Prague, 2008).

Socko,M (2465) - Kosintseva,T (2524) [E46]
11th EICC Women Rijeka CRO (6), 11.03.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Nge2 d5 6.a3 Be7 7.cxd5 exd5 8.b4 c6 9.Ng3 Re8 10.Bd3 Nbd7 11.0-0 Nb6 12.Rb1

Both Kosinsteva sisters have played this line with Black, with Tatiana's latest foray dating from last year, when she followed Kramnik's choice of 12...a6 from Navara-Kramnik (2008). Kramnik's plan is not for everyone though, and if you suffer from claustrophobia, another approach is recommended.12...Bd6 13.Qc2 Be6 14.a4 a6 15.a5 Nc8 16.Na4 Na7 17.Nc5 Qc7 18.f3 Nb5.

Kramnik played this knight maneuver too, though via d6 instead of a7. In this game, though the knight looks well-placed, it is shown to be biting on dust. 19.Qf2 h5 20.Re1 Rad8 21.Bb2 Bc8 22.Rbd1. Socko is rerouting her pieces to prepare for the thematic e4 push. Kosinsteva really cannot do anything to prevent it, and is reduced to getting ready to fight against it and hope for the best. 22...Re7 23.Nf1 Ree8 24.h3 Nd7 25.e4 dxe4 26.fxe4 Nf8 27.Qf3 Ng6 28.e5 Bxc5 29.dxc5 h4 30.Bxg6 fxg6 31.Qe4 g5 32.Qg6 Qe7 33.e6!

The bishop on b2 is upgraded from e5 supporter to intercontinental ballistic missile.33...Nc7 34.Rxd8 Rxd8 35.Ne3 Bxe6 36.Ng4 Rf8. Houston, we have a problem. 37.Nh6+ Kh8 38.Nf5 Rxf5 39.Qxf5 Kg8 40.Qe5 Kh7 41.Qd6 Qf7 42.Rf1 Bf5 43.Qe5 Kg6 44.Rxf5 Qxf5 45.Qxg7+ Kh5 46.Qxc7

The bishop on b2 may look like it is hanging...46...g4. No, it isn't a blunder. The bishop is untouchable, since 46...Qb1+ 47.Kh2 Qxb2 runs into 48.Qh7#. 47.Qe5 1-0. [Click to replay]

On board 2, Arakhamia-Grant took on top-rated Stefanova’s Ruy Lopez Berlin Defense in an offbeat variation.

Arakhamia-Grant,K (2447) - Stefanova,A (2555) [C65]
11th EICC Women Rijeka CRO (6), 11.03.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.0-0 d6 6.c3 0-0 7.Nbd2 Bb6 8.Nc4 Ne7 9.Nxb6 axb6 10.h3 Ng6 11.Re1 c6 12.Bc4 b5 13.Bb3 h6 14.d4 Qe7 15.Nh2 Be6 16.Bc2 Bxa2!?

Years and years of instruction and examples have hammered into us that an isolated pawn grab on a2 (or h2) in which the bishop cannot readily escape is a blunder of catastrophic proportions. At worst the bishop will simply be lost, and at best, it will become a prisoner of war. Stefanova shows that she is not intimidated by dogma.17.b3 Ra6 18.Be3 c5!

This is the key to accepting the risk of a boxed in bishop. The pawn goes to c4, providing a safe place to exchange the bishop on b3, if necessary, and providing a very nasty outpost on d3 if White isn't careful.19.dxc5 dxc5 20.Nf1 c4 21.b4 Qe6! Providing maximum mobility for the queen and lending x-ray support for b3 if the bishop on a2 should retreat to it. 22.Qc1 Nh5 23.Bd1 Nhf4 24.Qd2 Nd3 25.Re2 Rfa8 26.Ng3 Ngf4 27.Bxf4 Nxf4 28.Re3 g6 29.Bg4 Qb6 30.Qd7 Kf8 31.Rd1 Bb3 32.Rd2

32...h5?! It is perfectly understandable to play this, but this move also allows White's pieces to finally join in the fight, creating an unnecessary amount of counterplay that could have been avoided with 32...Ra1+ 33.Kh2 Qc6! 34.Bf3 Qxd7 35.Rxd7 R8a2 36.Nh1 b6 37.Rd8+ Kg7 38.Rb8 Rc1 39.Rxb6 Ba4 and White's b- and c-pawns are doomed. 33.Bxh5 gxh5 34.Nf5 Qf6 35.h4 Ng6 36.g3 Qc6 37.Kh2 Qxd7 38.Rxd7 Rf6 39.Rxb7 Ba4 40.Re2 Kg8 41.Rd2 Nf8 42.Kg2 Ne6 43.Ne3 Rd8 44.Nd5 Kf8 45.f3 Rg6 46.Kf2 Ng7 47.Re2 Rgd6 48.Rd2 Ne8 49.Re2 Nf6 50.Ne3 Rd3 51.Rb6 Ng8 52.Nd5 Ne7 53.Nf6 Rxc3 54.Nxh5 Bd1 55.Re3 Rc2+ 56.Ke1 Rh2 57.g4 Ba4 58.Kf1 Ng6 0-1. [Click to replay]

With this win, joined by Lithuanian IM Viktorija Cmilyte and Armenian WGM Lilit Galojan, she entered the 7th round on 5.0/6 led only by GM Monika Socko, leading the pack with 5.5/6.

Round seven

In round seven, Monika, sole leader with 5.5/6 faced WGM Lilit Galojan, on 5.0/6, with the black pieces, whereas on board 2, Bulgarian GM Stefanova played IM Viktorija Cmilyte, the only other players on 5.0 in 6. Stefanova’s game against Cmilyte failed to gain real momentum, and their Symmetrical English fizzled by move 30. On the other hand, while Socko also drew against Galojan, no doubt delighted considering the final position, it is hard to understand why the White player didn’t insist a little more.

Galojan,L (2380) - Socko,M (2465) [E32]
11th EICC Women Rijeka CRO (7), 12.03.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 d6 7.Bg5 Nbd7 8.e3 b6 9.Ne2 Ba6 10.Qc2 c5 11.Rd1 Qc7 12.Qa4 Bb7 13.Nc3 a6 14.Qc2 h6 15.Bh4 Rac8 16.Qd2 Qb8 17.f3 Rfe8 18.Be2 d5 19.cxd5 exd5 20.Bg3 Qa7 21.0-0 c4 22.a4 Bc6 23.Ra1 Qb7 24.b4 b5 25.axb5 axb5 26.Ra5 Ra8 27.Rfa1 Nb6 28.Bd6 Na4 29.Nxa4 bxa4 30.Bd1 Nd7 31.Qc3 Bb5 32.Bc2 Re6 33.Bg3 Rea6 34.e4 Nf6 35.e5 Nd7 36.Rxa6 Rxa6 37.f4 Qa7 38.Ra3

38...Nb8. Here the players shook hands, though frankly it is a mystery why White would agree to it. With 39.f5, threatening f6 and opening Black's postion to the power of White's heavy artillery, there was certainly no reason not to play on and see what Socko had in reply. A line illustrating the possibilities might go 38...Nb8 39.f5 Nc6 40.Bf2 Ne7 41.f6 gxf6 42.Qg3+ Ng6 (42...Kf8 43.exf6 Rxf6 44.Qe5) 43.Bxg6 fxg6 44.Qxg6+ Qg7 45.Qh5 threatening Rg3. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Entering round eight, Socko will continue in sole lead with 6.0 in 7, followed by no fewer than 6 players on 5.5 in 7, Pia Cramling, who will play Socko on board 1, as well as Greek IM Dembo, GM Stefanova, Lithuanian IM Cmilyte, GM Arakhamia-Grant, and WGM Galojan.

Finally, here are a few tactical shots gleamed from games in the last few rounds. Check them out and see if you can do as well.

Manakova,M (2315) - Romanko,M (2409) [B92]
11th EICC Women Rijeka CRO (7), 12.03.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Be3 Be6 10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.exd5 Bf5 12.Qd2 Nd7 13.c4 a5 14.f4 exf4 15.Bxf4 Bg6 16.Kh1 Re8 17.Bd3 a4 18.Bxg6 axb3 19.Bb1 Nc5 20.Be3 bxa2 21.Rxa2 Rxa2 22.Bxa2 Ne4 23.Qb4 Bg5 24.Bg1 Qe7 25.Qb5 Ra8 26.Bb3 Bh4 27.c5 Ng3+ 28.hxg3 Bxg3 29.Rf4 Bxf4 30.g3 Bxg3 31.Qd3 Be5 32.Bc2 Qh4+ 33.Kg2 Qg4+ 34.Kf1 Ra1+ 35.Bb1

Black to play and win, Romanko is obviously winning, but can you spot the coup de grâce? [Click for the solution]

Moser,E (2437) - Kadziolka,B (2311) [B20]
11th EICC Women Rijeka CRO (6), 11.03.2010
1.e4 c5 2.d3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.f4 d6 6.Nf3 Rb8 7.0-0 b5 8.h3 b4 9.Nbd2 a5 10.Nc4 Ba6 11.Kh1 Nf6 12.e5 Ng8 13.Ng5 Nd4 14.c3 Ne6?

White to play and win [Click for the solution]

Gvetadze,Sopi (2342) - Moser,E (2437) [B33]
11th EICC Women Rijeka CRO (7), 12.03.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5 Nxd5 8.exd5 Nb8 9.c4 Be7 10.Be2 0-0 11.0-0 a6 12.Nc3 Nd7 13.Kh1 f5 14.f4 Bf6 15.Qc2 exf4 16.Bxf4 Ne5 17.b4 a5 18.Rab1 Ng6 19.Bg3 Bxc3 20.Qxc3 f4 21.Bf2 axb4 22.Rxb4 Rxa2 23.Bf3 Ne5 24.c5 Nxf3 25.Qxf3 Qg5 26.h3 h5 27.cxd6 Bg4 28.Qe4 Re2 29.Qc4

Black to play and win. The first move is excellent, but the second is fantastic. Can you find both? [Click for the solution]

Top scorers in the women's section (seven rounds)

# Ti. Name FED RtgI Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   Rp
1 GM Socko Monika POL 2465 6.0 22.0 30.5
2 GM Stefanova Antoaneta BUL 2555 5.5 24.0 33.5
3 GM Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan SCO 2447 5.5 24.0 32.5
4 IM Cmilyte Viktorija LTU 2485 5.5 21.5 30.0
5 WGM Galojan Lilit ARM 2380 5.5 21.0 29.0
6 GM Cramling Pia SWE 2523 5.5 21.0 28.5
7 IM Dembo Yelena GRE 2457 5.5 17.5 25.0
8 GM Kosintseva Tatiana RUS 2524 5.0 23.5 32.5
9 IM Muzychuk Anna SLO 2533 5.0 22.0 31.5
10 GM Sebag Marie FRA 2506 5.0 22.0 30.0
11 IM Muzychuk Mariya UKR 2444 5.0 21.5 30.5
12 WGM Zhukova Natalia UKR 2492 5.0 21.5 29.5
13 IM Khurtsidze Nino GEO 2434 5.0 21.5 29.0
14 IM Rajlich Iweta POL 2459 5.0 21.0 29.5

Picture Gallery

The official tournament site has a lot of pictures, most of them nicely done, with good colour balance, well framed, with sharp front focus and blurred background (called "bokeh", as Martin Borriss tells us) – all really great. BUT: once again they are all uncaptioned, so you recognize a few faces and know nothing about the rest. HOWEVER: we have our readers who can help out with this problem. Once again we are going to ask you to engage in the tedious task of scanning through a large number pictures of female players and identify as many as you can. To start you off we provide the names of the first five players.

Addendum: The names of the players are trickling in. We have added the ones we have received so far, with the names of the submitters in square brackets.

GM Antoaneta Stefanova, BUL, rated 2555

IM Nadezhda Kosintseva, RUS, 2554

IM Anna Muzychuk, SLO, 2533

GM Tatiana Kosintseva, RUS, 2524

IM Lela Javakhishvili, GEO, 2500

IM Maia Lomineishvili, GEO, 2385 [identified by Jan Cheung, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands]

WGM Svetlana Cherednichenko, UKR, 2337 [Daði Ómarsson, Reykjavik]

IM Tatjana Vasilevich, UKR, 2414 [Jan Cheung]

WGM Alina Kashlinskaya, RUS, 2332 [Sergey Sudakov, St. Petersburg]

WFM Valentina Gunina, RUS, 2457 [Jan Cheung]

WGM Maria Manakova, SRB, 2315 [Jan Cheung]

IM Angela Borsuk, ISR, 2338 [Dominique Primel, Nants, France]

WGM Evgeniya Doluhanova, UKR, 2297 [Olena Boytsun, Kiev, Ukraine]

WFM Alena Kushka, RUS, 2164 [Sergey Sudakov]

WGM Iozefina Paulet, ROM, 2303 [Catalin Ionescu, Brasov, Romania]

Unidentified player 11

Unidentified player 12

WGM Sopiko Guramishvili, GEO, 2266 [Sergey Sudakov, Dennis
Jaheruddin, The Netherlands] + WGM Evgeniya Doluhanova

WIM Mariam Danelia, GEO, 2199 [Özgür Akman, Ankara, Turkey]

WGM Tatiana Kostiuk, UKR, 2294


A selection of 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 the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

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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