Posts Tagged ‘Stefanova’

Women’s World Chess Championship: Semifinal Pairings

Monday, September 8th, 2008

No tiebreakers needed this round! That means, tomorrow, the ladies finally get a well-deserved rest day before the following formidable match-ups get underway:

  • Alexandra Kosteniuk – Pia Cramling
  • Hou Yifan – Humpy Koneru

The veteran Cramling could probably be seen as something of a surprise, but she played some rather efficient chess in taking advantage of an apparently out-of-form Stefanova.

Today’s games were particularly interesting to me on account of their openings. It’s always exciting to see a rising star like Hou Yifan playing a somewhat offbeat opening that with which you yourself have been known to tussle. In this case, the exchange Caro-Kann, with Bd3 as White. Can’t say that I’ve been all too successful with it, as Braden Bournival can happily attest. But, I enjoy the ease of development and simple plan, nonetheless.

The other game of import to me was Kosteniuk’s crush of Ushenina from the black side of a Nimzo-Indian. Having studied the awesome Chess Openings For Black with the idea of abandoning my beloved King’s Indian Defense (I still waver about ending that lifelong relationship, and return to it from time to time), the fireworks in this one impressed.

So, what does the book have to say about this line?

Ack! It doesn’t. 4…d5 is not its recommendation, and since it’s a repertoire book, it only has to give you a primary move or two against each variation of the opponent. I could’ve sworn I’d seen this whole wild 11.Be5 0-0 line in recent high-level play. Perhaps it was one of Kramnik’s games?

WWCC08 – Quarterfinals Game 1

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

The round-of-16 FIDE bulletin is ready, and the quarterfinals are underway.

  • Kosteniuk – Ushenina (1/2 – 1/2)
  • Koneru – Shen Yang (1 – 0)
  • Mkrtchian – Hou Yifan (1/2 – 1/2)
  • Stefanova – Cramling (0 – 1)

My pick for most exciting game of the day goes to Koneru’s for her well-calculated sacrificial (one piece after another) attack.

Junior 10.1 assigns exclamation marks to both 21.Bxg6 and 27.Nxd5. In other words, there’s no bluff to these shots!

WWCC08 – Quarterfinal Pairings

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

While Yifan Hou easily dispatched her opponent in the tiebreak, the battle between GM Shen Yang and IM Nadezhda Kosintseva was a more rocky (and tragic) affair. After winning the first rapid game, Kosintseva looked well on her way to a draw from a superior position. Then something happened — probably time-trouble — and suddenly it was game over… but for the “wrong” player.

Unable to recover, she offered little resistance in the blitz games. Chess can be a cruel game indeed!

So, here we have it, the quarterfinals are upon us:

  • Kosteniuk-Ushenina
  • Koneru-Shen
  • Mkrtchian-Hou
  • Stefanova-Cramling

WWCC08: Defending Women’s World Champ Out

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Round 3 started today with some great fighting games. But, before we look at my favorite, FIDE’s Round 2 Bulletin is ready for download. In it, you’ll read about the surprise upset of the current Women’s World Chess Champion, Xu Yuhua, by Svetlana Matveeva.

I’m really impressed with these PDFs FIDE is putting together, full as they are of pictures, interviews, and all the games, including tiebreaks.

OK, so back to the round at hand. 50% of the games were decisive, the victors being Hou Yifan (the only player with a perfect score), Anna Ushenina, Pia Cramling, and Antoaneta Stefanova.

However, you won’t find the most exciting game among them. Believe it or not, in my opinion, the feature battle today had to be the draw between Alexandra Kosteniuk and Tatjana Kosintseva.

Definitely gutsy play by Kosteniuk, if not completely sound. She kept up the pressure though and landed another shot with Nxe5 that enabled her to save the game. Fun stuff.

WWCC08 – Round of 16 Pairings

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Ah well, no Americans left in the draw. :(

We’re getting down to some real heavy-hitters here!
The matchups for the next round of mini-matches:

  • Svetlana Matveeva – Anna Ushenina
  • Hoang Thanh Trang – Humpy Koneru
  • Yifan Hou – Elena Sedina
  • Inna Gaponenko – Antoaneta Stefanova
  • Pia Cramling – Lufei Ruan
  • Dronavalli Harika – Lilit Mkrtchian
  • Yang Shen – Nadezhda Kosintseva
  • Aleksandra Kosteniuk – Tatjana Kosintseva

Serious chess. Serious fun!