Gold For Muzychuk, Kosteniuk At European Rapid, Blitz
The playing hall in Monaco. | Photo: Association Internationale des Echecs Francophones.

Gold For Muzychuk, Kosteniuk At European Rapid, Blitz

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Oct 24, 2017, 5:55 PM |
5 | Chess Event Coverage

After winning the world title in both disciplines last year, GM Anna Muzychuk added the rapid gold medal to her collection at the European Rapid Championship in Monaco. GM Alexandra Kosteniuk won the blitz tournament.

The European Women's Individual Rapid Chess Championship took place Oct. 21-22; the Blitz Championship was held right after, on Oct. 23. The location wasn't bad at all: the Hotel Novotel in Monaco. The event was organized by the Chess Federation of Monaco under the auspices of the European Chess Union.

nullMany of the world's strongest female players gathered for this event. The participants list included former women's world champion GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia; 2612 rapid, 2477 blitz), last year's world champion in both competitions GM Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine; 2594 rapid, 2663 blitz), former women's European champions GM Valentina Gunina (Russia; 2577 rapid, 2550 blitz) and GM Kateryna Lagno (Russia; 2577 rapid, 2611 blitz) and current European champion GM Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia; 2528 rapid, 2445 B=blitz).

Former women's world champion GM Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria; 2536 rapid, 2540 blitz) also played, but under the flag of the European Chess Union (ECU) due to FIDE's temporary exclusion of the Bulgarian Chess Federation.

The rapid tournament, held over two days, was an 11-round Swiss with the time control of 15 minutes per game, and 10 seconds increment per move. The total prize fund was €13,400 ($15,780).

GM Muzychuk, a true specialist in faster chess it seems, won the event with an undefeated 9/11. She finished half a point ahead of GM Lagno. 

An important win for Muzychuk was her round nine game against Gunina—not a bad rapid player herself! Black's pawn sacrifice in the opening is more than half a century old; you can find several games in the database with Swedish GM Gideon Stahlberg being materialistic enough to grab c7.

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Gunina vs Muzychuk. | Photo: Association Internationale des Echecs Francophones.

Before this, Gunina actually had a great start. She took an early lead, moved to 5/5 and was still in clear first place with 6.5/7. Her victims included compatriots WGM Olga Girya, WGM Natalija Pogonina, WGM Aleksandra Goryachkina and GM Lagno.

Surprisingly, Gunina blundered in round eight and suffered her first loss against a rather unknown player: WGM Pauline Guichard from Colombes, France. The 28-year-old player was a rising star in France about a decade ago but her medicine studies started to take most of her time. In fact, in just a few days she will graduate and become a gynecologist.

She moved to 6.5/8 with this win:

European Women's Individual Rapid Chess Championship | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 Rp rtg+/-
1 2 GM Muzychuk, Anna 2594 9 64,5 75,5 2629 2629 12,2
2 4 GM Lagno, Kateryna 2577 8,5 65 76 2598 2598 13
3 7 WGM Goryachkina, Aleksandra 2462 8 67 79,5 2491 2491 14,4
4 24 WGM Guichard, Pauline 2285 8 67 77,5 2552 2552 84,4
5 1 GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2612 8 63,5 75 2430 2430 -25,8
6 15 GM Socko, Monika 2390 7,5 67,5 77 2450 2450 26,8
7 10 WGM Pogonina, Natalija 2447 7,5 65 75,5 2497 2497 22,6
8 18 IM Savina, Anastasia 2376 7,5 64 74 2457 2457 34,8
9 14 WGM Girya, Olga 2405 7,5 63 74 2437 2437 20,6
10 8 IM Paehtz, Elisabeth 2457 7,5 62,5 73,5 2423 2423 -2,4
11 22 WGM Kulon, Klaudia 2296 7,5 59,5 69,5 2353 2353 29
12 31 WFM Gvanceladze, Anna 2225 7,5 59 66,5 2292 2292 43,6
13 3 GM Gunina, Valentina 2577 7 70,5 83,5 2488 2488 -17
14 12 IM Skripchenko, Almira 2423 7 68,5 79 2446 2446 15
15 6 GM Dzagnidze, Nana 2528 7 63,5 74,5 2429 2429 -20,4
16 5 GM Stefanova, Antoaneta* 2536 7 63 73 2349 2349 -38,8
17 17 IM Gaponenko, Inna 2383 7 62,5 72 2405 2405 16,2
18 19 IM Milliet, Sophie 2375 7 60 69,5 2285 2285 -5,2
19 39 WIM Navrotescu, Andreea-Cristiana 2130 7 60 67 2163 2163 35,4
20 36 WIM Narva, Mai 2155 7 59 68 2335 2335 66,8

Comments by some of the players on the rapid event.

The blitz tournament, a one-day event, was 13-round Swiss with the time control of three minutes per game, and two seconds increment per move. The total prize fund was €5,800 ($6,830).

This tournament was won by Kosteniuk, and again Lagno came second. They met in round eight when Lagno was in clear first place with 6/7. Kosteniuk was half a point down, and got a lost position, but managed to win to reach a shared first place with Gunina and Dzagnidze.

Kosteniuk was even luckier in the next round, whereas Gunina had to suffer another, most painful defeat. After trying to win a 3-vs-2 queen endgame, and finally winning a black pawn on move 94, it turned out the white king was in a mating net. How cruel.

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Kosteniuk (left) in a photo from the rapid tournament. | Photo: ECU.

However, it wasn't just luck. Kosteniuk is known to be a strong blitz player and in the last four rounds, besides two draws, she defeated Muzychuk and in the last round Dzagnidze:

A special mention should go to WFM Cecile Haussernot, whose fourth place in this field is more than excellent, and WGM Ana Srebrnic, who is more active as an international arbiter these days but ended on a half-point more than the reigning world blitz champion.

European Women's Individual Blitz Chess Championship | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 rtg+/-
1 7 GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2477 10,5 91,5 103,5 2621 48,8
2 2 GM Lagno, Kateryna 2611 10 92 105 2608 8
3 3 GM Gunina, Valentina 2550 9,5 97 111 2556 8,8
4 37 WFM Haussernot, Cecile 2153 9 96,5 108,5 2589 121,4
5 6 IM Paehtz, Elisabeth 2484 9 87,5 100 2452 -1
6 8 GM Dzagnidze, Nana 2445 8,5 93 105,5 2450 8,2
7 4 GM Stefanova, Antoaneta 2540 8,5 90,5 102,5 2442 -22,6
8 9 IM Gaponenko, Inna 2416 8,5 89,5 102 2412 5,2
9 5 GM Sebag, Marie 2504 8,5 88,5 101,5 2412 -22,6
10 19 WGM Kulon, Klaudia 2303 8,5 88 100,5 2453 58,2
11 14 IM Kashlinskaya, Alina 2390 8,5 85,5 98 2446 24,8
12 16 IM Turova, Irina 2365 8,5 82,5 93 2326 1,8
13 12 WGM Goryachkina, Aleksandra 2401 8,5 82 93 2361 -4,6
14 38 WGM Srebrnic, Ana 2145 8,5 76,5 87,5 2238 31,4
15 1 GM Muzychuk, Anna 2663 8 92,5 106 2419 -59,2
16 22 IM Savina, Anastasia 2285 8 89,5 100,5 2366 39,6
17 18 IM Szczepkowska, Karina 2333 8 88 100 2350 13,8
18 11 IM Skripchenko, Almira 2403 7,5 90,5 103 2396 1,6
19 21 IM Collas, Silvia 2288 7,5 87 98,5 2313 5,5
20 13 WGM Pogonina, Natalija 2401 7,5 86,5 98 2347 -14,2

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