European Women's Championship under way in Gaziantep, Turkey

PeterDoggers
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Yesterday the first round of the Europen Women's Championship was played in Gaziantep, Turkey. The first prize is impressive: € 20,500 - for the first time in history higher than the first prize at the European Individual Championship, which will be held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria after this event.

The first move on board one, with Anastasia Savina eventually holding Anna Muzychuk to a draw | All photos by Anastasiya Karlovich © Turkish Chess Federation

EventEuropen Women's Championship | PGN
DatesMarch 2nd-13th, 2012
LocationGaziantep, Turkey
System11-round Swiss
Players
The top seeded players are Anna Muzychuk, Nana Dzagnidze, Kateryna Lahno, Nadezhda Kosintseva, Antoaneta Stefanova, Tatiana Kosintseva, Marie Sebag, Valentina Gunina and Viktorija Cmilyte
Rate of play90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 1
Prize fundFirst prize € 20,500 and € 150,000 in total, including the European Rapid Championship and European Blitz Championship which are held right afterwards 

Last year there was a lot of turmoil around the European Individual for Women. The Turkish Chess Federation was granted to organize the main event as well as the rapid and blitz tournaments, but then withdrew after a dispute with the European Chess Union. Later the TCF renewed its bid, but the tournament was granted Tbilisi, and eventually won by Viktorija Cmilyte.

This year the Turkish Chess Federation won the bid, and they're holding it from 2 to 13 March, 2012. They picked the Anatolian Hotel in Gaziantep, Turkey as the venue. Gaziantep, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, is located in southeast Turkey, 127 kilometres by road north of troubled Syria.

It seems that the TCF also won a small battle of prestige: they managed to arrange a higher first prize for the women's edition than that of the men's (or rather: open) event. The European Individual will be held from March 19th till April 1st, 2012 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and there the first prize is € 14,000. In Gaziantep the first prize is a stunning € 20,500.

The playing hall in the Anatolian Hotel in Gaziantep, Turkey

The tournament is a Swiss event with 103 participants listed on the website, who will play 11 rounds. The rate of play is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one.

The Turkish Chess Federation is supported by the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, and hold the tournament under the auspices of the City of Gaziantep and the European Chess Union. The total prize fund, including the European Rapid Championship and the European Blitz Championship, is € 150,000.

The opening ceremony took place in the Zeugma Museum on the 2nd of March 2012. The first round already brought some surprising results. Top seed Anna Muzychuk, who picked the black pieces for her first round game during the drawing of lots, was held to a draw by Anastasia Savina. Second seed Nana Dzagidze even lost, to Gulna Mammadova of Azerbaijan.

TCF President Ali Nihat Yazici at the start of the first round

Selection of games round 1

PGN file

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