Kashlinskaya Wins European Women's Chess Championship
Marie Sebag (2nd), Alina Kashlinskaya (1st) and Elisabeth Paehtz (3rd). | Photo: Turkish Chess Federation.

Kashlinskaya Wins European Women's Chess Championship

PeterDoggers
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42 | Chess Event Coverage

IM Alina Kashlinskaya of Russia won the European Women's Championship in Antalya, Turkey. Kashlinskaya had the best tiebreak among a group of five players who all finished on 8/11.

The 20th European Individual Women's Chess Championship took place April 11-22 in the Aska Lara Resort & Spa Hotel in Antalya. It was a qualifier for the next FIDE Women's World Cup for the top 14 players. The prize fund was 60,000 euros with a first prize of 10,000 euros.

Like the general European Championship (won by Vladislav Artemiev last month in Skopje), the tournament was a long and big Swiss event that lasted 11 rounds. Eventually five players shared first place, and took home 6,500 euros each. IM Alina Kashlinskaya (Russia, 2477), GM Marie Sebag (France, 2461) and IM Elisabeth Paehtz (Germany, 2456) got on the podium, while IM Inna Gaponenko (Ukraine, 2428) and GM Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria, 2464) just missed out.

Playing hall European Women's Chess Championship 2019
The playing hall at the start of the 11th round. | Photo: Turkish Chess Federation.

The grapes were sour for the 42-year-old Gaponenko, who was closer than ever to not only score her first medal at a European individual, but also win it.

After 10 rounds the Ukrainian IM was the only player to have reached eight points, with Kashlinskaya and Sebag trailing by half a point. Gaponenko got involved in a highly tense game with Stefanova, in which both players were under 30 minutes after the 13th move. (That was also the moment when the first new move was played.)

It ended up as a dream Tarrasch French for Stefanova, who got to play against an isolated queen's pawn, then won that pawn and gained another one with a tactic. The queen ending with two extra pawns hardly required technique.

Antoaneta Stefanova European Women's Chess Championship 2019
Antoaneta Stefanova. | Photo: Kasia Selbes Photography.

Earlier in the tournament, Gaponenko had beaten the eventual tournament winner. Incidentally, that was a Tarrasch French as well, with the Ukrainian behind the white pieces this time. In what seemed like a danger-free endgame, Kashlinskaya made some wrong choices early on:

Inna Gaponenko European Women's Chess Championship 2019
Inna Gaponenko of Ukraine just missed out on a medal. | Photo: Kasia Selbes Photography.

That was Kashlinskaya's only loss. She bounced back in the penultimate round with a good win over a compatriot, IM Anastasia Bodnaruk. It started with a rather theoretical, queenless middlegame in the Gruenfeld, when Bodnaruk just gave up a pawn where it didn't seem necessary yet. After that, she was without a chance.

Alina Kashlinskaya European Women's Chess Championship 2019
Alina Kashlinskaya is the new European women's champion. | Photo: Turkish Chess Federation.

The silver medal went to GM Marie Sebag, one of the participants in our upcoming Women's Speed Chess Championship. Here's her win from the ninth round, which saw an exchange sacrifice that wasn't winning immediately but nonetheless hard to handle:

Marie Sebag of France took silver. Sebang will play in the Chess.com Women's Speed Chess Championship this spring.
Marie Sebag of France took silver. Sebag will play in the Chess.com Women's Speed Chess Championship this spring.

There was a nice twist to Paehtz's third place. After the tournament she wrote on Facebook that she had initially planned to play the Reykjavik Open instead, but her flight got cancelled due to the bankruptcy of Wow Air.

Paehtz: "A new ticket was quite expensive and I decided to take it as a sort of sign switching my plans and fight at the European Women's Championship. 8/11 unbeaten and 3rd. Well nothing to complain but proud to suffer one of the most common chess illnesses: Superstition!"

Of the five players who ended on eight points, Paehtz was the only one who remained undefeated. She reached the podium with the following last-round win over IM Ekaterina Atalik, the wife of Turkish grandmaster Suat Atalik:

Paehtz Atalik European Women's Chess Championship 2019
Paehtz vs Atalik in the last round. | Photo: Turkish Chess Federation.
So what happened to top seed GM Aleksandra Goryachkina? Well, she finished a point behind the top group, mostly because of the following loss in round eight:

Gold at the European Championship was another big success for Kashlinskaya, half a year after clinching the top women's prize at the 2018 Chess.com Isle of Man alongside her husband and the overall tournament winner, Radek Wojtaszek.

Below are the final standings with all players who finished on seven points or more.

2019 European Women's Championship | Final Standings (Top 25)

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 Rp rtg+/-
1 4 IM Kashlinskaya Alina 2477 8,0 2420 71,0 76,0 2582 14,5
2 7 GM Sebag Marie 2461 8,0 2406 69,0 73,5 2568 15,2
3 11 IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2456 8,0 2395 67,5 73,0 2557 14,0
4 21 IM Gaponenko Inna 2428 8,0 2386 69,5 75,0 2545 16,8
5 5 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2464 8,0 2346 63,0 68,0 2509 6,2
6 34 WGM Guichard Pauline 2392 7,5 2404 71,0 75,5 2514 38,0
7 71 WGM Fataliyeva Ulviyya 2266 7,5 2402 66,5 70,5 2493 68,4
8 19 GM Ushenina Anna 2432 7,5 2381 69,0 74,0 2499 10,4
9 20 IM Tsolakidou Stavroula 2429 7,5 2373 64,5 68,5 2491 9,4
10 2 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2513 7,5 2365 66,0 71,0 2483 -3,0
11 24 WGM Zawadzka Jolanta 2418 7,5 2355 64,0 68,5 2474 8,8
12 9 GM Cramling Pia 2460 7,5 2354 64,0 68,5 2478 3,1
13 22 IM Bodnaruk Anastasia 2427 7,5 2327 64,0 68,5 2438 3,6
14 15 GM Socko Monika 2447 7,5 2310 57,5 60,5 2409 -2,0
15 83 WGM Paramzina Anastasya 2214 7,0 2403 65,5 68,5 2470 73,6
16 46 WGM Brunello Marina 2356 7,0 2394 64,5 67,0 2466 34,2
17 12 IM Atalik Ekaterina 2455 7,0 2383 68,0 73,0 2473 2,5
18 75 WGM Mamedyarova Turkan 2256 7,0 2373 61,5 64,0 2433 53,2
19 1 GM Goryachkina Aleksandra 2534 7,0 2358 63,5 66,5 2424 -11,9
20 25 FM Salimova Nurgyul 2415 7,0 2338 65,0 69,0 2417 1,1
21 17 IM Mammadzada Gunay 2438 7,0 2337 63,0 67,5 2424 -1,7
22 60 WGM Belenkaya Dina 2297 7,0 2325 59,5 62,5 2390 30,4
23 23 IM Houska Jovanka 2426 7,0 2316 62,0 66,5 2408 -2,3
24 40 IM Matnadze Ana 2367 7,0 2312 64,5 69,0 2394 4,5
25 82 WIM Semenova Elena 2216 7,0 2279 53,0 56,0 2346 39,4

Games via TWIC.

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