Women's Super-tournament – participants and venue

by ChessBase
12/22/2007 – In March 2008 the Turkish Chess Federation, together with the country's largest bank, is staging a spectacular international women's event on the 41st storey of the tallest building in the center of Istanbul. Two weeks after the tournament was announced the ten participants have been fixed. You may want to plan a trip to Turkey next March to watch this tournament in rarified heights.

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İş Bankası - Atatürk International Women Masters Chess Tournament

The tournament was announced two weeks ago, and already the field is fixed, with two current or former world champions, three grandmasters, three IMs and three WGMs (one just 13 years old and rated 2502). The participation fees had been meticulously set and announced in advanced. So this is how the funds are distributed:

No. Player Country  Title Elo Elo cat. WCh ECh Elo rank Total Airfare
1 Pia, Cramling Sweden GM 2531 $1250 $500 1.1.08 $1750 $300
2 Zhu, Chen Qatar GM 2531 $1250 $1000  1.1.08 $2250 $900
3 Zhao Xue China WGM 2530 $1250   1.1.08 $2250 $900
4 Hou, Yifan China WGM  2502 $1250 1.1.08 $1250 $900
5 Chiburdanidze, Maia  Georgia GM 2500 $1250 $1000 1.1.08 $2250 $300
6 Ushanina, Anna Ukraine IM 2486 $1000 1.1.08 $1000 $300
7 Harika, Dronavalli India WGM 2480 $1000 1.1.08 $1000 $900
8 Krush, Irina USA IM 2475 $1000 1.1.08 $1000 $900
9 Atalık, Katerina Turkey IM 2404 $500 1.1.08 $500
10 Betul Cemre Yildiz Turkey WIM 2220 1.1.08
$9,250 $2,000 $1000  $6,600 $18,850  $5,400

The sixth column ("Elo cat.") gives the stipend that is awarded according to Elo category, i.e. US $1,500 for players over 2600, $1,250 for those over 2500, etc. The next column, "WCh" is the additional fee payed to ex or current world champions, the next to ex or current European champions. There is an additional fee that will be awarded to the players according to their starting rank ("Elo rank", $1,200 for 1st, $1,000 for 2nd, $900 for 3rd, etc.), but this will be determined according to the January 1st FIDE list.

Reserve players are Lela Javakhishvili and Monica Socko, in case any of the above players withdraw before signing their contracts, or are unable to appear due to other reasons.

So the following players will take part in the İş Bankası - Atatürk International Women Masters Chess Tournament in March next year. Their world rankings are given in the second column. Judit Polgar, the world's number one female player, does not participate in women's tournament, while Alexandra Kosteniuk, number six in the world, had already planned a holiday with her new baby in exactly this period.

Name Title Country Rating B-Year
 Cramling, Pia  GM  SWE  2531  1963
 Zhu Chen  GM  QAT  2531  1976
 Zhao Xue  WGM CHN  2530  1985
 Hou Yifan  WGM  CHN  2502  1994
 Chiburdanidze, Maia  GM  GEO  2500  1961
 Ushenina, Anna  IM  UKR  2486  1985
 Harika, Dronavalli  WGM  IND  2480  1991
 Krush, Irina  IM  USA  2475  1983
 Atalık, Katerina  IM  TUR  2404  1982
 Betul Cemre Yildiz  WIM  TUR  2220  1989

              Reserve players

 Javakhishvili, Lela  IM  GEO  2474  1984
 Socko, Monika  IM  POL  2473  1978

The venue

Rarified hights: the 41st storey of the İş Bankası towers overlooking Istanbul

The İş Bankası Towers Complex has a total area of 225,000 square meters, which is the largest of its kind on the European continent. The cost of the entire complex, including the three towers, auditorium, retail facility and multi-storey parking space, was around $230 million.

An satellite view of the Is Bankasi complex in Google Earth

The buildings use "intelligent skyscraper" technologies and are designed to withstand earthquakes up to Richter 8. A total of 25,000 points in the structures have sensors connected to a central computer system. There is 50 cubic meters of air for each person inside the buildings. Rain water is collected and refined for usage in the complex. There are 46 lifts and six stair wells, as well as 80,000 square meters of parking space. Many details of the building resemble Trump Tower in New York, which was designed by the same architect firm, Swanke Hayden Connell. The Is Bankasi complex entered service in August 2000.

The highest of the three towers is Tower 1 with 52 floors. It's official hight is 181.20 meters – 194.57 m if you count the flag pole. This makes it the tallest building in Turkey and the Balkan peninsula (southeastern Europe).

The Participants

Pia Cramling of Sweden, one of the strongest female players in the world since the early 1980s.

Former World Champion Zhu Chen, who now lives in Qatar

WGM Zhao Xue, 22, played an important part in the last two victories of China in the Women's Chess Olympiad, scoring 11/12 on board 4 in Bled 2002 and 10/12 on board 3 in Calvia 2004, winning individual gold medals for her performances on both occasions.

13-year-old Hou Yifan, one of the most amazing prodigies in women's chess today

Maia Chiburdanidze, the seventh (and youngest) Women's World Champion in history

IM Anna Ushenina, 22, from Ukraine

WGM Harika Dronavalli, 16, India's second strongest female player

IM Irina Krush, 24, top female player in the USA

IM Ekateryna Atalyk, top Turkish player

WIM Betül Cemre Yildiz has won five Turkish Women’s championship titles in a row and is one of the two strongest female player in the country


IM Lela Javakhishvili, 23, from Georgia

IM Monica Socko of Poland


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