WWch Rd1 G2: Easy wins and tough matches

by Albert Silver
3/19/2015 – After the second game of the first round, 21 matches were decided with 21 players going forward and 21 going home. In the meantime, eleven matches will need to be decided in the rapid game tiebreaks in the third day. Unusual pairings saw lopsided pairings and grueling battles, and while many of the big names are in the clear, some fell to heroic performances.

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Tournament conditions

The Women's World Chess Championship takes place from March 17 – April 7 in Sochi, Russia . The knock-out tournament is attended by 64 players, including the former World Champions Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), Anna Ushenina (Ukraine), and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria), the three-time Russian champion Valentina Gunina, the World Vice-Champion Humpy Koneru (India), and other leading grandmasters. Unfortunately, the reigning champion Hou Yifan was unable to come due to personal reasons, but she will still have an opportunity to challenge the new champion in a match, as the winner of the FIDE Grand Prix.

The first five rounds consist of mini-matches of two games with 90 moves per 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with bonus 30 seconds per each move. The final match consists of four games.

If the match score is tied, its winner is determined on tiebreak: two rapid games of 25 minutes + 10 seconds per move. If the score remains equal, the players proceed to another two games with a slightly faster time control – 10 minutes + 10 seconds per move. If these games do not determine the winner as well, then there are two blitz games: 5 minutes + 3 seconds per move. Finally, if the score is still even, there is an Armageddon game: White has five minutes, Black has four minutes, and a three-second increment per move after the move 61.

Round one - Game two

The pairings of the first round were anything but balanced, and played a big role in why some players cruised to the next round, while others had to grind their teeth. Top seed Humpy Koneru was obviously expected to proceed to the next round, but no doubt even she was pleasantly surprised to see that her first opponent was rated well over 500 Elo less.

Humpy Koneru (2581) had no problem dispatching Ayah Moaataz (2022)

On the other hand, a number of players found themselves battling against opponents with identical or near-identical ratings. Naturally the players had no say in this, but it was an oddity to say the least. Still, this didn't prevent several players from potentially huge upsets depending on how the tiebreaks go. The most notable being Marisa Zuriel (2219) from Argentina, who won her second game against Zhao Xue (2527) to push her match to a tiebreak, or the Cuban Yaniet Marrero Lopez (2322) who actually eliminated her higher rated opponent Elina Danielian (2488).

Sophie Milliet fell to Irina Krush in the first round

Elizabeth Paehtz will need to win her tiebreak match against Meri Arabidze to continue

Olga Girya (2459) had a tough assignment in Ekaterina Atalik (2419) but won 2-0

Among the heroes who lived to see another day was Sopiko Guramishvili who fought back
against her compatriot Lela Javakhishvili to push for a tiebreak

Guramishvili vs Javakhishvili

[Event "WCh Women 2015"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2015.03.18"] [Round "1.19"] [White "Guramishvili, Sopiko"] [Black "Javakhishvili, Lela"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A41"] [WhiteElo "2367"] [BlackElo "2481"] [PlyCount "111"] [EventDate "2015.03.17"] 1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 c5 5. O-O cxd4 6. Nxd4 Qb6 7. Nb3 Nc6 8. Nc3 Nf6 9. Bg5 Be6 10. e4 O-O 11. h3 Ne5 12. Be3 Qd8 13. Nd4 Bd7 14. Nde2 b5 15. a3 a6 16. b3 Qc8 17. g4 Bc6 18. Nd5 Nxd5 19. exd5 Bb7 20. Rc1 Qd8 21. Qd2 Rc8 22. Nd4 Nd7 23. Rfe1 Nf6 24. c4 bxc4 25. bxc4 Nd7 26. Nb3 Re8 27. Na5 Ba8 28. Rb1 Nc5 29. Nc6 Qc7 30. Bxc5 dxc5 {[#]} 31. Rxe7 $1 Rxe7 $6 (31... Qd6 { was wiser, but sometimes a shot like the game can rob one's equanimity.} 32. Re2 {though White is still up a pawn.}) 32. d6 $1 {The point.} Bxc6 {The only move.} ({For example,} 32... Qd7 33. Nxe7+ Kh8 34. Nxc8 {is hopeless.}) 33. dxc7 Rexc7 34. Rb6 Rd7 35. Qe2 Bxg2 36. Kxg2 a5 37. Qf3 Rd2 38. Rb7 Rf8 39. Qe3 Rd4 40. Qe2 Rf4 41. Kg3 g5 42. h4 h6 43. hxg5 hxg5 44. Qe7 Bf6 45. Qxc5 Rd8 46. Rb3 Rdd4 47. f3 Rxc4 48. Qxa5 (48. Rb8+ Kh7 (48... Kg7 49. Qf8+ Kg6 50. Qg8+ { etc.}) 49. Qd5 Bg7 50. Qd3+ Kh6 51. Rb6+ Bf6 52. Rxf6+ $1 Rxf6 53. Qxc4 $18) 48... Ra4 49. Rb8+ Kg7 50. Qc5 Ra6 51. Qc8 Kh7 52. Qxa6 Be5 53. Ra8 Rd4+ 54. Kf2 Rd2+ 55. Ke3 Bf4+ 56. Ke4 1-0

A young fan is inspired by the players and competition


Moaataz, Ayah (EGY) 0-1 Koneru, Humpy (IND) 0-2
Ju, Wenjun (CHN) 1-0 Wafa, Shrook (EGY) 2-0
Mezioud, Amina (ALG) ½-½ Muzychuk, Anna (UKR) 0.5-1.5
Cmilyte, Viktorija (LTU) 1-0 Shamima, Akter Liza (BAN) 2-0
Berezina, Irina (AUS) 0-1 Kosteniuk, Alexandra (RUS) 0-2
Gunina, Valentina (RUS) 1-0 Baginskaite, Camilla (USA) 2-0
Zuriel, Marisa (ARG) 1-0 Zhao, Xue (CHN) 1-1
Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR) 1-0 Yuan, Yuanling (CAN) 1-1
Nguyen, Thi Than An (VIE) 0-1 Stefanova, Antoaneta (BUL) 0.5-1.5
Khotenashvili, Bela (GEO) ½-½ Ozturk, Kubra (TUR) 1.5-0.5
Hejazipour, Mitra (IRI) 0-1 Cramling, Pia (SWE) 0-2
Harika, Dronavalli (IND) 1-0 Abrahamyan, Tatev (USA) 2-0
Marrero Lopez, Yaniet (CUB) 1-0 Danielian, Elina (ARM) 1.5-0.5
Tan, Zhongyi (CHN) 1-0 Nakhbayeva, Guliskhan (KAZ) 1.5-0.5
Zhang, Xiaowen (CHN) ½-½ Ushenina, Anna (UKR) 0.5-1.5
Galliamova, Alisa (RUS) 1-0 Lujan, Carolina (ARG) 1-1
Gomes, Mary Ann (IND) ½-½ Kosintseva, Tatiana (RUS) 1-1
Sebag, Marie (FRA) ½-½ Wang, Jue (CHN) 1.5-0.5
Guramishvili, Sopiko (GEO) 1-0 Javakhishvil,i Lela (GEO) 1-1
Paehtz, Elisabeth (GER) ½-½ Arabidze, Meri (GEO) 1-1
Milliet, Sophie (FRA) ½-½ Krush, Irina (USA) 0.5-1.5
Hoang, Thanh Trang (HUN) ½-½ Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan (SCO) 0.5-1.5
Kovanova, Baira (RUS) ½-½ Huang, Qian (CHN) 1-1
Zhukova, Natalia (UKR) 0-1 Gaponenko, Inna (UKR) 0.5-1.5
Daulyte, Deimante (LTU) ½-½ Socko, Monika (POL) 1-1
Melia, Salome (GEO) ½-½ Sukandar, Irine Kharisma (INA) 1-1
Atalik, Ekaterina (TUR) 0-1 Girya, Olga (RUS) 0-2
Shen, Yang (CHN) ½-½ Kashlinskaya, Alina (RUS) 1-1
Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina (RUS) ½-½ Khurtsidze, Nino (GEO) 1.5-0.5
Goryachkina, Aleksandra (RUS) ½-½ Mkrtchian, Lilit (ARM) 1-1
Guo, Qi (CHN) 0-1 Pogonina, Natalija (RUS) 0.5-1.5
Lei, Tingjie (CHN) 1-0 Cori T., Deysi (PER) 2-0

Tiebreak pairings

Zhao, Xue (CHN) * Zuriel, Marisa (ARG) 1-1
Yuan, Yuanling (CAN) * Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR) 1-1
Lujan, Carolina (ARG) * Galliamova, Alisa (RUS) 1-1
Gomes, Mary Ann (IND) * Kosintseva, Tatiana (RUS) 1-1
Guramishvili, Sopiko (GEO) * Javakhishvil,i Lela (GEO) 1-1
Paehtz, Elisabeth (GER) * Arabidze, Meri (GEO) 1-1
Huang, Qian (CHN) * Kovanova, Baira (RUS) 1-1
Socko, Monika (POL) * Daulyte, Deimante (LTU) 1-1
Melia, Salome (GEO) * Sukandar, Irine Kharisma (INA) 1-1
Shen, Yang (CHN) * Kashlinskaya, Alina (RUS) 1-1
Goryachkina, Aleksandra (RUS) * Mkrtchian, Lilit (ARM) 1-1

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili


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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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