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Sochi Semi-Finals: Cramling Opens The Score

Sochi Semi-Finals: Cramling Opens The Score

On the first day of the Women's World Championship's semi-finals GM Pia Cramling defeated WGM Natalija Pogonina, who needs a win tomorrow to stay in the tournament. IM Mariya Muzychuk and GM Harika Dronavalli drew their game.

Photo Nastja Karlovich.

“I like to walk a lot. And I like to read. I find time for these two things,” said GM Pia Cramling in an interview with Nastja Karlovich, published yesterday on the tournament website.

After a long career as a top female chess player, which includes a third place in a world championship, she is suddenly a draw away from playing a final.

Today Cramling scored a very classical win, converting a slightly better rook ending from one of the oldest openings, the Lasker Variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined. White's edge was minimal; it basically consisted of controlling the only open file. 

Pogonina decided to wait, and played Kd7-d8-d7 for fifteen (!) moves in a row. Meanwhile Cramling traded a few pawns so that she could activate her king. It looks like Pogonina chose a wrong trade after which the ending was winning for White.


Cramling close to reaching the final after beating Pogonina. | Photo Nastja Karlovich.

From a Scotch Open, the game between IM Mariya Muzychuk and GM Harika Dronavalli also reached an ending. White's advantage, with bishop vs knight and two passed pawns on the kingside, seemed bigger than Cramling's. But Harika was defending really well and held the draw.


A fighting draw between Muzychuk and Harika. | Photo Nastja Karlovich.

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2015 Women's World Championship | Results Semi-Finals

Name vs Name Score Playoff
Muzychuk,M (UKR, 2526) - Harika,D (IND, 2492) ½- ½
Cramling,P (SWE, 2495) - Pogonina,N (RUS, 2456) 1-0

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The Women's World Championship takes place March 17-April 7 in Sochi, Russia. World Champion GM Hou Yifan is not defending her title; she took part in the Hawaii Chess Festival instead.

The total prize fund of the championship is U.S. $450,000. Every player gets $3,750, those who make it to round two get $5,500, for round three it is $8,000, round four $12,000, round five (semifinals) $20,000, the silver medalist $30,000, and the winner $60,000.


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