Danielian Upsets Lagno In Women's Speed Chess Opener

Danielian Upsets Lagno In Women's Speed Chess Opener

| 40 | News

Deciding the match in the very last bullet game, eighth seed GM Elina Danielian of Armenia Wednesday kicked out top seed GM Kateryna Lagno of Russia from the Women's Speed Chess Championship.

Experience and mouse skills are important in online chess.

Although she was the clear underdog for this match, Danielian eventually came out as the winner, against the odds. Mostly based on their classical-only, mutual score (9.5-5.5 for Lagno), the SmarterChess prediction only gave the Armenian player an 18 percent winning chance.

But she defied those odds.

Already having more online experience than her opponent, Danielian had been on to warm up earlier in the week: "My preparation was playing online, two, three days ago, to make myself comfortable to play in front of the monitor."

SmarterChess prediction Lagno Danielian
The SmarterChess prediction for Lagno vs Danielian.

The match became one of the closest and exciting battles ever on, with only four out of 27 games ending in a draw. Danielian won the 5|1 portion by a one-game margin, but then Lagno levelled the score in the 3|1 portion and also in the bullet the players were just one point apart.

The match did see quite a number of horrific blunders, but some good, clean technical wins were there as well. For example, Lagno opened the score with the following, excellent game.

Danielian countered immediately, using some fine tactics:

Kateryna Lagno Women's Speed Chess Championship

Lagno was two points down but managed to score the 'Anschlusstor', as the Germans call it, in the final five-minute game. This particular endgame is a theoretical draw, unlike the one where the h-pawns and the bishop are all moved up one rank (like in the famous Timman-Velimirovic game). However, Danielian somewhat helped her opponent...

5|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Score
1 Elina Danielian @ClassyEl 2506 2648 0 1 ½ 1 1 0 1 0 4.5
2 Kateryna Lagno @KaterynaLagno 2605 2463 1 0 ½ 0 0 1 0 1 3.5

The first 3|1 game saw the Blunder of the Day. It happens to everyone, so also to grandmasters...

The following was rather comical as well, and afterward Lagno stated that she wasn't affected by it very much because she is used to her own blunders. That's the spirit!

Elina Danielian Women's Speed Chess Championship

The 3|1 score was 3.5-3.5 with one game to go, and Danielian had reached a winning position to go into the bullet two points up. However, she missed the direct win as pointed out by co-host IM Sopiko Guramishvili, then was just a tiny bit too slow and got flagged, when everything was equal again. 

3|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Score
1 Kateryna Lagno @KaterynaLagno 2533 2557 1 1 1 0 0 0 ½ 1 4.5
2 Elina Danielian @ClassyEl 2514 2490 0 0 0 1 1 1 ½ 0 3.5

The bullet segment was a nervous affair, with both players exchanging tricks, traps and on-screen emotions. And more material was dropping:

Like Van Foreest-Tari last week, the match came down to the wire. With 13-13 on the scoreboard, and without knowing it, the players were playing the following, decisive game:

The first thing Danielian did after the last game was asking co-host IM Anna Rudolf about the score. “I couldn’t follow the score. I was just playing game by game.”

Lagno also had no idea: “No, I was already completely out. I just wanted to finish it, no matter how. It was too much!”

1|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Score
1 Elina Danielian @ClassyEl 2292 2561 0 1 0 ½ 0 1 1 ½ 1 0 1 6
2 Kateryna Lagno @KaterynaLagno 2530 2261 1 0 1 ½ 1 0 0 ½ 0 1 0 5

Danielian correctly sensed some of the sentiment right after the match: “You had a lot of fun out of our blunders, yeah? I don’t think about the bullet, I cannot call it chess!”

Her comment about the SmarterChess prediction that she had only an 18 percent chance of winning: “I don’t know, but in most of the games I liked Kateryna’s position more than mine!”

Women's Speed Chess Championship bracket Danielian

Lagno earned $481 based on win percentage; Danielian won $1,000 for the victory plus $519 on percentage, totalling $1,591. The Armenian GM moves on to the next round, where she will play the winner of the match Harika Dronavalli vs. Marie Sebag, which will be played on May 30.

Lagno graciously congratulated her friend after the match: “I want to congratulate my good friend Elina, I am very happy for you and I wish you to win another one and to become the champion!”

Then Danielian countered nicely: “Let this match be a small preparation for your Candidates’ Tournament. I wish you good luck there!”

The next Women's Speed Chess match on the calendar is Alexandra Kosteniuk vs. Anna Zatonskih  on May 26. The winner will play either Valentina Gunina or Irina Krush.

Women Speed Chess Championship Schedule

The Women Speed Chess Championship is a knockout tournament among eight of the strongest female chess players in the world. Each match has 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz and 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet chess. The total prize fund is $20,000. 

You can replay the live broadcast here.

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