Women's World Championship reaches semifinals

5/31/2004 – We're down to the Final Four in Elista. We already know who the best woman player in the world is, but she's off in Hungary. So we're waiting to see which of the ladies in Kalmykia will win the women's world championship. Well, if Kasparov, Anand, and Kramnik won't play in the FIDE WCh in Libya, why can't we have equal rights?! Report and games.

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And then there were four

FIDE 2004 Women's World Chess Championship

Elista, Kalmykia

May 21 – June 8

Official Site
(source of photos)

• View games online and download PGN:
Round 1R2R3R4 • R5 •

First ReportSecond Report

Round 4 – Player on the left had white in game one
Score
   
 
Humpy, Koneru Xu Yuhua
1-0 1-0
Stefanova, Antoaneta Dzagnidze, Nana
1-0 0-1, 1/2 1-0
Chiburdanidze, Maia Cmilyte, Viktorija
1-0 0-1, 1-0 0-1, 1-0 1/2
Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina Kachiani, Ketino
0-1 1-0, 1-0 1/2

With the inexorability of an Agatha Christie novel, the participants continue to disappear from the Women's World Championship in Elista, Kalmykia. We've talked to a few of the players who have returned and most reports say FIDE has done a fine job of organizing the event in a hurry after it had to be moved from Georgia at the last minute due to safety concerns.

Top seed Koneru Humpy eliminated the final Chinese participant, thus guaranteeing the women's title will move to a new country for the first time since 1999. The Indian knocked out Xu Yuhua in the only quarterfinal match not to need rapid playoff games. She will face Russia's Kovalevskaya, who eliminated Kachiani of Germany.

The latest batch of attrition victims also included young Georgian hope Dzagnidze, whose games failed to impress our Grandmaster observers despite her positive results. One of our experts predicted overall victory for Bulgaria's Stefanova before the event started and she arrived to the semifinals after a playoff against the Georgian.


The hat beat no hat. Your waiter this evening will be FIDE president Ilyumzhinov.

The longest match was between former champion Chiburdanidze of Georgia and Lithuanian Cmilyte. They went to a second set of rapid games, where the veteran was triumphant. Humpy is the last remaining teenager, but if she seems precocious it is worth remembering that Maya Chiburdanidze was the same age, 17, when she took the world title from Gaprindashvili way back in 1978. She defended her title four times before losing it to China's Xie Jun in 1991. In the last KO world championship Chiburdanidze made it to the semifinals only to lose to eventual champion Zhu Chen.

The upcoming semifinal matches are still just two games. The final will be four, a far cry from the sixteen game matches Chiburdanidze used to play in the 80's.

Semifinals – Player on the left has white in game one
Score
   
 
Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina Humpy, Koneru
*
Stefanova, Antoaneta Chiburdanidze, Maia
*

Stefanova – Dzagnidze after 59.a5

How can Black lose with that passed h-pawn to distract the white knight? It doesn't seem possible, but Black found a way by using her king to take a critical square away from her knight.

59...Kd7? This square should be for the knight, which finds itself without any good squares after White's answer. 60.Nc4. If Black captures the knight the queen and pawn endgame will be almost a certain loss. 59...Kd8 was the right path, allowing 60.Nc4 Nd7 and tough defense to crack.

Dzagnidze was forced play the knight to the useless f7 square, making defense very hard after 60...Nf7 61.a6 Kc8 62.d6 h4 63.d7+. Here Black made the real blunder, keeping an eye on the wrong pawn with 63...Kc7?? when 63...Kb8 gave good defensive chances.

Black's move lost instantly to 64.a7 Kb7 65.Nd6+! 1-0 a classic deflection sacrifice to draw the knight away from the coverage of d8.

 


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