Hoang Thanh Trang Surprising Winner European Women's Championship
On Saturday Hoang Thanh Trang won the 2013 European Women's Championship in Serbia, Belgrade. The 33-year-old grandmaster, who was born in Vietnam but moved to Hungary with her family when she was ten years old, finished a full point ahead of Salome Melia (Georgia), Lilit Mkrtchian (Armenia), Viktorija Cmilyte (Latvia), Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), Bela Khotenashvili (Georgia) and Monika Socko (Poland).
It's not an easy name, and not a name that one comes across too often in chess news reports, but "secretly" Hoang Thanh Trang is quite a strong grandmaster. Not a WMG, but a real GM!
The Hungarian only plays a few tournaments a year. In 2013, she participated in the Tradewise Open in Gibraltar in January and the Mayors Cup in Mumbai in June. Last Saturday she drew a worse endgame with the well known Lithuanian grandmaster Viktorija Cmilyte, with which Hoang Thanh Trang (2467) reached the superb score of 9 out of 11 (a 2663 performance).
Here's the press conference with the winner:
Six players tied for second place with 8 points: Salome Melia (Georgia, who won silver), Lilit Mkrtchian (Armenia, bronze), Viktorija Cmilyte (Latvia), Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), Bela Khotenashvili (Georgia) and Monika Socko (Poland). Together with Alina Kashlinskaya (Russia), Meri Arabidze (Georgia), Natalija Pogonina (Russia), Baira Kovanova (Russia), Anna Muzychuk (Slovenia), Olga Girya (Russia) and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria), they qualified for the next FIDE World Cup for women.
Update: WGM Natalija Pogonina commented:
"The list of qualifiers is somewhat different, because many of the players (myself included) have already earned their WWCC spots last year. Hence, they have been passed on to some of the participants who finished below 14th place."
Hoang Thanh Trang was seeded 14th, but beat a number of higher rated players. In round 6, she won against Kateryna Lagno (2542):
In round 8 she defeated reigning European Champion Valentina Gunina (2507) of Russia, also with the black pieces:
In round 10 she beat Alexandra Kosteniuk (2489) of Russian, again win Black:
A tournament winner has to defend sometimes as well. Here's that ending Hoang Thanh Trang held against Viktorija Cmilyte in the last round:
The European Women's Championship was an 11-round Swiss and took place July 23nd - August 3rd, 2013 in Belgrade, Serbia. The time control was 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 players could only agree to a draw after the 40th move. The total prize fund was 60,000 EUR.
European Womens Championship 2013 | Final standings (top 30)
|1||14||GM||Hoang Thanh Trang||2467||HUN||9||73||79||7|
Full final standings here
The Serbian Minister of Youth and Sport Alisa Maric, a strong player herself, celebrated
Salome Melia (silver), Hoang Thanh Trang (gold), Lilit Mkrtchian (bronze)