3rd Asian Team Chess Championship (women): Jodhpur 2003

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Basic data

3rd Asian Team Chess Championship (women)
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 7th - 17th April 2003
City: Jodhpur, Rajasthan province, India
Venue: Abhay Days Hotel
Chairman of Organizing Committee: Mr. Jagdish Talwar (IND)
Chief Arbiter: Mr. Rudrani Charan Chatterjee (IND) and Mr. Jethu Singh Sisodiya (IND)
Teams participating: 12 (incl. India "B" and "C")
Players participating: 46 (incl. 1 GM, 1 IM, 6 WGMs, 12 WIMs and 6 WFMs)
Games played: 162
Competition format: Three board nine round Swiss
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Buchholz; 3. Match points
Time control: N/A
Website: http://www.asianteamchess2003.com (cached only)
Official logo: JODHPUR 2003
Other websites: ChessBase reports: report1, report2
Reports from Indian chess portal
The Hindu reports: format discussion, team overview, r1, r2, r3, r4&5, r6, r7, r8, r9, summary
Short summary at www.fide.com
Downloadable game file: 03asiatchw.zip (about 55% of games are missing)

Tournament review

Umaid Bhawan PalaceTen women's teams accepted invitation for 2003 Asian Team Championship including medal winners from previous event, namely China and Vietnam. As India had right to enter a reserve team the number of participating teams grew to 11. To make it even, the organizers decided to allow India's third team into the competition and make it eleven round round-robin. This aroused protest of China's team leader, the reigning World Champion Zhu Chen. She sturdily opposed running a round-robin with three Indian teams taking part clearly suggesting the possibilities of Indian teams helping each other if needed. China's tough opposition, supported by couple of other teams, finally forced head referee to give up and announce that the event will be a nine round Swiss.

Like in the men's section, China's challenge looked too strong for the rest. Led by World Champion Zhu Chen the team included World Cup winner Xu Yuhua and two more 2300+ players. India "A" answered with WGM Vijayalakshmi at top board (rated 2414) but apparently not enough for the Chinese as India's no. 1 Koneru Humpy joined men's event this time. Apart from China and India only Vietnam looked a worthy candidate to make it to the medal-bracket.

Koneru Humpy missed women's eventThe Chinese women took off with a 3-0 verdict over Kyrgystan after resting Zhu Chen. Vietnam's girls emulated their male counterparts and blanked Bangladesh. India "B" joined China and Vietnam in the lead after the trio of S. Meenakshi, Swati Ghate and Tania Sachdev dismissed Malaysia's challenge. India "A" started not as well as Vijayalakshmi and Nisha Mohota found the going very easy but the national champion Aarthie Ramaswamy opened with a draw to set the match result vs Turkmenistan to 2½-½. In the hit clash of day two medal-contenders Vietnam managed to take a point off hot favourites and leaders China as Lê Kiều Thiên Kim prevented a clean sweep at the expense of Wang Yu. The match between India "A" and "B" teams proved a damp squib. The top-board game ended in friendly draw lasting just seven moves! The winning shot came from the last board where Harika outwitted five-time former national champion Bhagyashree Thipsay in what was clearly a battle of generations. The women from Iran kept pace with their men on that day. While the Iranian men were busy putting the finishing touches to a 4-0 drubbing of Kyrgyzstan, the women blanked Sri Lanka 3-0. Thursday, the day of round three, was a glory day for the Indians when Vijayalakshmi scripted a fairy tale victory at board #1 over Zhu Chen to join two draws at bottom boards and shape a truly historic 2-1 verdict for India "A" over the titleholders China, the undisputed champion side in the World those years. The result raised the tally of India "A" to 6½ points and made them joint leaders with Vietnam who beat Iran dropping just a fraction. China along with India "C", which blanked Bangladesh 3-0, fell down to third with six points.

India A - China matchOn day four China swept India "C" 3-0, moving ahead of India "A" and Vietnam who tied at 1½-1½ after fierce battle. Vijayalakshmi's board 1 loss was compensated with Harika's win at bottom board but again both teams were again overtaken by almighty Chinese women, something they certainly did not want to see that quickly. India "B" moved into tied second wiping out Iran and Kazakhstan were lying just a fraction behind as they hammered Kyrgyzstan by 2½-½ in the ex-Soviet derby. After Vijayalakshmi it was the turn of Swati Ghate to tame a famous Chinese rival and enjoy her moment by pulling off a surprising 55-move over World Cup winner Xu Yuhua on the second board for India "B" in round 5 encounter vs China. Fortunately for China, two Indian ladies playing with white pieces could not brighten up things further and China maintained itself on the top with 11 points after 2-1 victory. Vietnam prevailed over Kazakhstan 2-1 to remain a point behind China, while India "A" only halved vs "C" team due to Harika's loss vs Sai Meera and were lying in third, a fraction behind Vietnam. On the next day China doubled their overnight lead of one point by getting rid of Kazakhstan 2½-½. Though World champion Zhu Chen was held on the top board, China struck on the next two to emerge an easy winner. India "B" did well to hold second-placed Vietnam to a draw and India "A" produced a disappointment against Iran to only achieve a 1½-1½ tie. Standings after six rounds: China 13½; Vietnam 11½; India "A" 11; India "B" and "C" 10½.

Chinese teams holding the trophiesWith only 12 teams in the field a nine round Swiss is extremely tight contest. With as much as three rounds to be played all of top teams have already played each other. Now the strong teams were paired weak ones and the question of who the winner of each match would be was quite obvious, only the eventual margins held the interest of the discerning followers. Vietnam, India "A" and India "B" ruthlessly steamrolled their opponents with a clear 3-0 while India "C" and Kazakhstan dropped only a fraction. The sensation of the day was Wang Yu's loss vs Iranian Mona Salman Mahini to lower the extend of China's win to a modest 2-1. This reduced China's gap over Vietnam down to one point. Round 7 also saw 15-year-old Eesha Karavade make her second WIM norm. On day eight, China virtually solved the problem of gold medals sweeping out Bangladesh 3-0 to earn 1½ point advantage over runners-up India who extricated from two lost positions and were very lucky to beat Sri Lanka 3-0. Vietnam conceded three draws vs animated India "C" to fall down to third position. The news of the day was completion of the WGM norm by India "B" captain Meenakshi. Standings: China 18½; India "A" 17; Vietnam 16; India "B" 15½. In the last round the Chinese ladies simply walked past the finish line after agreeing to friendly draws on all three boards against Turkmenistan making a total of 22 moves! Vietnam easily defeated Malaysia 3-0 to overtake India "A" at the very finish. The Indians met ultimate resistance from Kazakhstani side only to manage to win one game and draw another. Mohota's loss to Sergeeva at board #1 cost her not only individual prize for best result at respective board but also silver medal for her team. India "B" beat Bangladesh 2-1 to finish in 4th, equal on points with India "C". Kazakhstan took 6th position and Iran came in 7th. Other teams were much weaker.

Prizes for best individual results went to Zhu Chen and Xu Yuhua at top boards, then to Lê Kiều Thiên Kim of Vietnam and Harika of India. Other individual results to be mentioned: Sergeeva, leader of Kazakhstani team (6/8 and second best result at first board) and Meenakshi of India "B" (6½/9 and WGM norm).

/Based on reports from The Hindu, India's National Newspaper/

Individual medals

1st Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Zhu Chen China CHN 7 78.6
2. WGM Sergeeva, Maria Kazakhstan KAZ 6 8 75.0
3. WIM Meenakshi, Subbaraman India IND2 9 72.2

2nd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. WGM Xu Yuhua China CHN 7 9 77.8
2. WIM Swathi, Ghate India IND2 9 72.2
3. WIM Paridar, Shadi Iran IRI 6 9 66.7

3rd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. WIM Lê Kiều Thiên Kim Vietnam VIE 5 7 71.4
2. WIM Gokhale, Anupama India IND3 5 7 71.4
3. WGM Wang Yu China CHN 7 64.3

Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. WFM Harika, Dronavalli India IND 6 7 85.7
2. WFM Võ Hồng Phượng Vietnam VIE 4 5 80.0
3. Meera, Sai India IND3 6 75.0

Interesting games

The Rook at f3 had long been cramped until finally blocked.
Meenakshi, Subbaraman (IND2) - Zhu Chen (CHN) 0 - 1

Black wasted good chances committing two positional blunders.
Hoàng Thanh Trang (VIE) - Vijayalakshmi, Subbaraman (IND) 1 - 0

White was dominant all over the board but played badly under time pressure.
Xu Yuhua (CHN) - Swathi, Ghate (IND2) 0 - 1

A 2000 player very close to sweep out a 2400 one.
She only missed one simple tactical shot.
Wijesuriya, Vineetha (SRI) - Vijayalakshmi, Subbaraman (IND) 0 - 1

This is definitely NOT recommended way of development for Black.
Xu Yuhua (CHN) - Paridar, Shadi (IRI) 1 - 0

The obsolete opening was not an obstacle on her way
to beat the player rated some 300 points higher.
Salman, Mahini Mona (IRI) - Wang Yu (CHN) 1 - 0