Rough start Women World Ch

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
The Women's World Championship in Nalchik has experienced a rough start. Not only did 11 of the 64 eligible players decide not to participate, but already in the first round there was a major dispute.

The Women's World Chess Championship cycle is organised bi-annually and includes National Championships, Zonal Tournaments, Continental Championships and the final stage, the Women's World Chess Championship, which is a 64-player knock out system. The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move from move one.

The Women's World Championship 2008 is held in Nalchik, Russia. The town of Nalchik is the capital of the Kabardino-Balkariain region, which is close to the Georgian border and as reported in two articles, a number of players including all from Georgia decided not to participate.

Although it could have been possible for a few perhaps, there were not replacements at all for these players and so Maia Chiburdanidze, Lela Javakhishvili, Sopio Gvetadze, Maia Lomineishvili, Sopiko Khukhashvili and Nino Khurtsidze (all from Georgia) and Tea Bosboom Lanchava, Karen Zapata, Marie Sebag, Irina Krush and Ekaterina Korbut lost by default in the first round.

In that first round most of the top seeds went through but there were a few upsets. Most surprising was the knockout of WGM Natalia Zhukova (2489, Ukraine). Seeded 13th, she lost in the tiebreak to 52nd seeded WGM Katerine Rohonyan (2321, USA).

Results Round 1

Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 5
Round 6
1 Xu Yuhua 1.5
  Xu Yuhua
64 Solomons 0.5  
32 Khurtsidze 0    
33 Matveeva 2  
16 Paehtz 4    
49 Kadimova 3      
17 Ushenina 1.5    
48 Le Thanh Tu 0.5  
8 Kosintseva,T 2    
57 Muminova 0      
25 Zatonskih 2        
40 Bosboom Lanchava 0      
9 Kosteniuk 2    
56 Pourkashyan 0      
24 Korbut 0    
41 Gvetadze 0  
4 Stefanova 2  
61 Zapata 0    
29 Bojkovic 1.5      
  Ju, Wenjun      
36 Ju, Wenjun 2.5    
13 Zhukova 1.5      
52 Rohonyan 2.5        
20 Gaponenko 1.5      
45 Zhang Jilin 0.5    
5 Cramling 1.5  
60 Sanchez Castillo 0.5    
28 Tania 0.5      
  Tan Zongyi      
37 Tan Zongyi 1.5    
12 Ruan 1.5  
53 Zakurdjaeva 0.5    
21 Javakhisvili 0  
44 Amura 2
2 Koneru 2
63 Alaa El Din 0  
31 Lomineishvili 0    
34 Khukhashvili 0  
15 Hoang Thanh 1.5   
  Hoang Thanh    
50 Arribas 0.5      
18 Socko 4    
47 Foisor,S 3  
7 Zhao Xue 2    
  Zhao Xue    
58 Zuriel 0      
26 Shen Yang 1.5        
  Shen Yang       
39 Kachiani-G 0.5      
10 Cmilyte 1.5    
55 Golubenko 0.5      
23 Kosintseva,N 2    
42 Mohota 0  
3 Hou Yifan 2  
  Hou Yifan  
62 Khaled 0    
30 Rajlich 0      
35 Mongontuul 2    
14 Chiburdanidze 0     
  Nguyen, Thi        
51 Nguyen, Thi 2        
19 Krush 0      
46 Sedina 2    
6 Sebag 0  
59 Gasik 2    
27 Mkrtchian 3.5      
38 Moser 2.5    
11 Muzychuk 2  
54 Velcheva 0    
22 Harika 2  
43 Nebolsina 0

The schedule of the Women World Ch is very similar to the World Cup's in Khanty-Mansiysk:

Thursday 28  August Opening Ceremony/Player's Meeting
Friday 29 August Round 1, game 1
Saturday 30 August Round 1, game 2
Sunday 31 August Tiebreaks
Monday 01 September   Round 2, game 1
Tuesday 02 September Round 2, game 2
Wednesday  03 September Tiebreaks
Thursday 04 September Round 3, game 1
Friday 05 September Round 3, game 2
Saturday 06 September Tiebreaks
Sunday 07 September Round 4, game 1
Monday 08 September Round 4, game 2
Tuesday 09 September Tiebreaks
Wednesday 10 September Round 5, game 1
Thursday 11 September Round 5, game 2
Friday 12 September Tiebreaks
Saturday 13 September Free Day
Sunday 14 September Round 6, game 1
Monday 15 September Round 6, game 2
Tuesday 16 September Round 6, game 3
Wednesday 17 September Round 6, game 4
Thursday 18 September Tiebreaks/Closing Ceremony

The tiebreak rules for the first five rounds are as follows: if the scores are level after the regular games, after a new drawing of colours, two tie break games are played with 25 minutes for each player plus 10 seconds increment. If the score is still level, two five-minute games are played again with 10 seconds increment.

If the score is still level, the players play one decisive sudden death game. The player, who wins the drawing of lots, may choose the colour. White receives 6 minutes, Black 5 minutes, without increment. The winner qualifies for the next round. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces qualifies for the next round.

One of the first-round matches that actually reached the sudden death game was the one between IM Monika Socko (2473, POL) and WIM Sabina-Francesca Foisor (2337, ROM). Socko was playing the White pieces and thus she had started with six minutes against Foisor playing Black and with five minutes on the clock.

In a position where both sides had just one knight besides their king, Foisor's flag fell. The arbiters present didn't know whether to declare the game lost because of the flag-fall, or drawn because of the scarce material left on the board, and a heated debate started, which can be seen in a video below.

In the end it was the Appeals Committee that decided the game in Socko's favour:

[...] the Appeals Committee has decided that indeed based on the provisions of Article 9.6, playing in a most unskilled manner can result in the position indicated by the Chief Arbiter which can lead to a checkmate. Therefore the Appeals Committee has decided that the game is a win for white.

Georgios Makropoulos, Chairman Lewis Ncube, member Lakhdar Mazouz, member

Stricktly speaking they might be right, but as IM Anthony Saidy pointed out in Chess Today, it doesn't require a poor player to get self mated in this position:

Not so, self-mate requires skill! This also applies to positions with K + B vs. K + B (opposite squared) and K + N vs. K + B. So if Foisor had only a king, it would have remained a draw. You can get mated by K + N too vs. your. K + R. What would the appeal committee have decided if Foisor had a rook? [...]

The venue of the Women World Championship

With especially beautiful chairs

The medals that the women are fighting for

Dancers at the Openin Ceremony outside...

...and inside

The first move, with many officials present

Antoaneta Stefanova from Bulgaria

Viktorija Cmylite from Lithuania

Elisabeth Paehtz from Germany

Tania Sachdev from India

Iweta Rajlich from Poland

Atousa Pourkashiyan from Iran

Photos courtesy of FIDE


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