1st World Team Chess Championship (women): Ekaterinburg 2007

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Basic data

1st World Team Chess Championship (women)
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 19th - 30th May 2007
City: Ekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk region, Russia
Venue: World Trade Center Yekaterinburg
Chairman of Organizing Committee: Mr. Levin Alexander Yuryevich (RUS)
Executive Director: Mr. Sergei Vitalievich Semidotsky (RUS)
Chief Arbiter: IA Ignatius Leong (SIN)
Teams participating: According to FIDE Rulations D.III.
Russia - host nation;
Ukraine, Russia (already qualified as hosts), China, USA (did not arrive), Hungary (did not arrive), Georgia, Netherlands (did not arrive), Armenia, Slovenia (did not arrive), Czech Republic, Germany - top teams from 2006 Women's Olympiad;
Poland - winners of 2005 Women's European Team Championship;
Vietnam - winners of 2005 Women's Asian Team Championship;
Botswana - invited team from Africa (Algeria and South Africa, winners of 2003 All-Africa Games could not participate so Botswana were drafted on a basis of their relatively good performance at 2006 Olympiad);
NOTE! There is no Women's Panamerican Team Championship so possibly sixth best team from 2006 Olympiad took its place instead. It is not confirmed whether ommitted teams refused to participate or were possibly not invited.
Players participating: 49 (incl. 1 GM, 16 IMs, 14 WGMs, 7 WIMs and 4 WFMs)
Games played: 180
Competition format: Four board round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Match points; 2. Game points; 3. Direct result; 4. Berlin system
Time control: 40 moves in 90 minutes, then 30 minutes for the rest of the game, 30 sec. increment after each move
Official logo: Ekaterinburg 2007
Website: http://www.chesswomen.com/en/index.php
Other websites: ChessBase reports: #1, #2, #3, #4
fide.com report from the opening ceremony
Botswana Chess Team to Play in Russia
Daily notes from Susan Polgar's blog
Jonathan Speelman's report from The Independent
Downloadable game file: 07wtchw.zip

Tournament review

Head of the Republic of Kalmykia, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov visited Ekaterinburg to attend the Opening Ceremony of the 1st World Women's Team Championship 2007. The Governor of the Sverdlovsk region Mr. Eduard Rossel; head of the Expert Department of the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich; FIDE Vice President, Honorary President of the Russian Chess Federation Mr. Andrey Selivanov participated in the Opening Ceremony as well.

The same day the foundation-stone for the Ural Chess Academy was laid. As Mr. Eduard Rossel mentioned in his speech, the decision to build up the Ural Chess Academy was taken as a result of resonance that was caused by the fact that Ilyumzhinov presented 1000 chess boards to the chess players of Ural region.

In his turn, the FIDE President underlined that the Ural Chess Academy's foundation is a logical continuation of the chess traditions in Ural, the outstanding representatives of which are such great chess players as Anatoly Karpov, Evgeny Sveshnikov and many others. Also, it was said that FIDE takes Ural Chess Academy under its patronage.

At the end of the ceremonial events, devoted to the opening of the World Women's Chess Championsohip 2007, the blitz tournament among the guests was held. FIDE President became the winner of the blitz tournament.

/ taken from fide.com /

*     *     *

The town of Yekaterinburg – which is usually romanized to Ekaterinburg, is located on the eastern side of the Ural mountains and is the main industrial and cultural centre of the Urals Federal District. Its population well over one a million makes it Russia's fifth largest city. It was founded in 1721 by Vasily Tatischev and named after Saint Catherine, the namesake of Tsar Peter the Great's wife Empress Catherine I (Yekaterina).

Yekaterinburg is famous for its theatres, like the Academic Ballet and Opera, the Sverdlovsk Academic Theatre of Musical Comedy and the Academic Dramatic Theatre. The city is the centre of New Drama movement of contemporary Russian playwrites, and is also the capital of contemporary dance. There are more than 30 museums in Yekaterinburg.

At the grand opening ceremony the participants and guests of the championship were treated to a laser show, performance by acrobats, etc. Present were the Governor of the Sverdlovsk region, Eduard Rossel and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Round 1 – May 20th: In the first round of the championship China beat Vietnam resoundingly with 3½—½. The Russian team easily won against the Germans with a 3—1 score. Tatyana Kosintseva and Nadezhda Kosintseva drew against Elizabeth Pähtz and Ketino Kachiani-Gersinska; Ekaterina Korbut beat Jessika Nill and Ekaterina Kovalevskaya beat Maria Schöne.

The encounter Ukraine vs Armenia was a seven-hour battle, which the Ukraine team won 3—1. Maya Chiburdanidze won her game for the Georgian team, which beat the Czechs 2½—1½. Poland curshed Botswana 4—0. There were no drawn matches in the first round, which confirms that we are in for uncompromised battles of other rounds.

Round 2 – May 21st: The second round saw the probably key encounter of the entire tournament. In an eight-hour struggle the Chinese team produced an unprecedented 4—0 whitewash of their Russian opponents!

Nobody could have anticipated such a result. The Russian team decided not to field its most experienced player, Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, and to try a new team composition: Tatiana and Nadezhda Kosintseva, Ekaterina Korbut and Elena Tairova. After the opening it was clear that there would be long struggles on all four boards. On board three Ekaterina Korbut managed to outplay Ruan Lufei and get good chances to win. But she wasn't able to increase the advantage consistently. A couple of mistakes lead to the worsening of her position and finally Ekaterina lost. After that bad things happened with the rest of the Russian team. The loss of Elena Tairova was a pity. At first she had a bad position, then she not only equalised but managed to win an extra pawn. As compensation Chinese Huang Qian had a good central piece in the endgame. During the sixth hour Tairova made a mistake and the centralisation of the opponent turned into an advantage. The Chinese player promoted a pawn, for which Tairova had to give a piece together with the game. The Kosintseva sisters did not put up much resistance, and in the end the meeting of the two biggest opponents finished with a "dry victory" for the Chinese team.

In the rest of the games of the second round there were small surprises. For instance the Armenian team, which is considered to be one of the favourites for the medals, lost to the team of Vietnam 1½—2½. Poland beat Germany 3—1, after a five-hour battle. The match between Georgia and Botswana ended earlier than any other match – the Georgian team won 4—0, even without the participation of their top player Maya Chiburdanidze. She had a day off today.

Round 3 – May 22nd: One of the main questions of the third round was if the Russian players would be able to vindicate themselves after their sensational defeat in the second round. The answer was simple. Yes they were, yes they did!

The composition of the host team in the match against Vietnam was as follows: Tatyana Kosintseva, Nadezhda Kosintseva, Ekaterina Kovalevskaya and Elena Tairova. The Russian players got good positions on all four boards, and step by step were gaining more and more advantage. Elena Tairova was the first who achieved success. She managed to outplay Nguyen Thi Thanh and as a result won. So the debutant of the Russian team, after an unlucky loss in the second round, could score a first win not just in this tournament, but also as a member of the main national team of Russia. After the game Elena looked satisfied but could not hide her excitement as she worried about her compatriots. She realised that after the "dry" defeat in their match against the Chinese team they had to summon their strength and begin to win.

And they began to do just that. Tatyana Kosintseva had the advantage during the whole game against Le Kieu Thien Kim, and ended it logically with victory. After the game Tatyana talked to journalists with enthusiasm and noted that despite the loss against the Chinese, for the Russian team and fight for Gold was not over yet. Tatyana's sister Nadezhda did not take risks in her game against Le Than Tu and agreed to draw. Ekaterina Kovalevskaya had no serious problems with Hoang Thi Bao Tram and won in the rook endgame with the advantage. Final score in the match Russia – Vietnam is 3½—½.

The Chinese team, one of the main aspirants for the gold medal, easily beat the team from Poland, with a 4—0 score. They played in their favourite sportswear as usual and did not give their opponents any chance.

In the match Georgia—Germany the first board game ended rather quickly, with Maya Chiburdanidze losing to Elizabeth Pähtz. After the leader's defeat the other team members managed only to equalise the score, so the result was 2—2. By the way it was the first match in the championship that ended with equal points. The players from Armenia crushed the team of the Czech Republic with a 4—0 score.

The team from Ukraine, which played without their leader Ekaterina Lahno, didn't have any difficulties in the match against Botswana. The result was 4—0. Thus teams from China and Ukraine are 100% leaders after three rounds. The participants from Georgia follow, Russia and Poland share 4th and 5th places.

Round 4 – May 23rd: This round saw the key encounter of the experienced Georgian and the young but strong Chinese team. On the first board World Champion Maya Chiburdanidze played Zhao Xue. It was a New Indian Defense, with Maya managing to equalise with black very easily. In middlegame the former World Champion tried to outplay her less experienced opponent, but failed. The Chinese player exchanged queens expediently, and in the endgame she put up enough resistance to draw.

Meanwhile Lela Javakhishvili and Hou Yifan were sorting out their relationship on the second board. They played a New Indian Defense as well. Javakhishvili gained an advantage, which she increased move by move, until she finally scored a deserved victory. The players on the third board signed for peace, and on board four Shen Yang saved China from defeat when she outplayed Sofio Gvetadze and equalised the score in the match 2—2. The Chinese team lost its first point.

One more interesting match of the fourth round was between Russia and Poland. The Polish players had been whitewashed in the previous round by the Chinese team. But, according the coach Alexander Sulipa, they were not discouraged by this defeat and adopted a militant approach in the battle with Russia. The latter were in high spirits after their third-round victory over Vietnam. After the first hour play the material balance on the board was shaken. Iweta Rajlich played a sharp opening line and sacrificed a pawn, which was followed by the second one in a couple of minutes. She was trying to benefit from the opponent's undeveloped pieces, but only managed to get an endgame a pawn down. The game ended peacefully in a draw.

Russia's fourth board didn't have a lot of problems. Our Elena Tairova beat Karina Szczepkowska quite easily. But on the first table there was an uncompromising battle. Tatiana Kosintseva and Monika Socko were struggling until the very last seconds of time control. Their game was the longest and the most strenuous in round four. The young ladies played a French Defense, and in the middlegame the position was equal. Closer to the first time control their fortunes started to swing, and every other move changed the position. At first Tatiana missed the path to victory, then the Russian player could make a perpetual, but for reasons that were unclear to her coach she decided to try to win, when she had only 30 seconds left till the end of her time. Yuri Dokhoyan couldn't conceal his discontent; he shrugged his shoulders and went away from the table. But after a couple of minutes he came back. By that time Tatiana already had a bad position, and much less time than her opponent. But a miracle happened which saved Tatiana, and the game was drawn by three-fold repetition. The match Russia—Poland brought success to the hosts of the Championship and ended 2½—1½.

Round 5 – May 24th: Russian fans were worried about the first board in the important match against Georgia, which fielded Maya Chiburdanidze against Russia's Tatiana Kosintseva. But as it turned out later their concern was groundless. Tatiana managed to equalise with black and got a good position in end game. She later admitted that she intended to struggle for victory, not taking into consideration Chiburdanidze's enormous experience. But a pitiful mistake changed the position and soon Tatiana and Maya agreed to draw. On the second board sister Nadezhda Kosintseva, playing Lela Javakhishvili with white, got a difficult position. But the game ended in a draw. On boards three and four the Russians didn't their opponents any chances: Ekaterina Kovalevskaya beat Nino Khurtsidze, Elena Tairova outplayed Sopiko Khukashvili. As a result Russia scored 3—1.

The struggle of the tournament leaders lasted longer, although in the end the Chinese team turned out to be much stronger than the Ukrainians. They won confidently on the first two boards. Zhao Xue beat Katerina Lahno; and the youngest participant of the tournament Hou Yifan managed recover nicely from her previous loss by outplaying Anna Ushenina. The other boards resisted longer, but in the end the Ukrainians managed to win only ½ points, and China became the sole leader of the tournament.

The most active group on the day off was the team from Botswana, which visited a chess school for children in the Chkalovskiy district of Yekaterinburg. The girls from Africa took great pleasure in playing chess in the school with the children. Before their arrival the school had staged a special tournament, and the the best players of the school had the honour to play against the guests. After the games the players from Botswana gave autographs and made a lot of photos with the children, who were also taking pictures of their own.

The second part of the program was the visit to the industrial complex of Shabrovskiy. The guests were impressed by the beauty of landscape and nature around the complex. The ended with an outdoor picnic, and the guests also got to taste some of Russian drinks.

Almost all the teams attended the show "Stars on Ice", enjoying the great performances of such honoured masters of figure skating as Alexey Yagudin, Tatyana Navka, Roman Kostomarov, Mariya Petrova and Alexey Tikhonov.

Round 6 – May 26th: The Chinese team met Armenia, with Zhao Xue playing Elina Danielyan on board one. White won a pawn, Danielyan activated her central pieces and soon won a pawn back. The game was drawn.

On the second board the youngest participant of the World Championship, Hou Yifan, played Lilit Mkrtchian. After three hours the physical condition of the players influenced the situation; Hou Yifan turned out to be more enduring, she kept on making precise moves, while Lilit let a couple of small mistakes slip in, which was enough to lose her the game. On the third board the superiority of the Chinese players was clear: Shen Yang beat Nelly Aginian. And on board four Liana Aghabekian, playing Sicilian Defence, sacrificed a piece for an attack, but Huang Qian cooly counted all threats, kept th piece and earned the point. As a result, Chinese team scored heavily again: 3½—½.

Ther was one more important match in round six: Russia—Ukraine. On board one we had an encounter between two permanent rivals: Tatiana Kosintseva and Kateryna Lahno. These two have played about ten games against each other. This time it was a Ruy Lopez, and there was a complicated positional struggle in the middlegame. Tatiana won a piece for three pawns; the situation with the pawns was quite dangerous, but the Russian girl managed to overcome the problems and celebrate victory.

Tatiana's sister Nadezhda drew playing Anna Ushenina. But on the rest of the boards things didn't go so well for the hosts of the tournament. On the third board Ekaterina Korbut playing Inna Gaponenko had an advantage, but a mistake lead to a loss. The experienced Ekaterina Kovalevskaya saved the Russian team from defeat by drawing a complicated game against Tatiana Vasilevich.

Round 7 – May 27th: Most of the major clashes had already taken place, but the players still had to be careful to avoid mistakes and not to let the points slip away. With the exception of the Chinese team, who seem to be winning unfailingly, with good scores. In round seven Zhao Xue outplayed Jana Jackova, Hou Yifan beat Olga Sikorova, and Ruan Lufei took the point from Petra Blazkova. Only Katerina Nemcova survived with a draw against Shen Yang.

The encounter between the Russian and Armenian teams lasted longer than any other one on this day. On the first board Nadezhda Kosintseva encountered Elina Danielian, who sacrificed two light pieces for a rook, after which she was trying to attack the Russian's unprotected king.

Tatiana defended very well and finally after the repetitions of moves they agreed to draw. On the second table Nadezhda Kosintseva was sorting out the relations with her constant opponent Lilit Mkrtchian. Nadezhda, playing white, got an advantage in the opening but failed to turn it into a full point. On board three Siranush Andriasyan played a very rare line against Ekaterina Kovalevskaya. But that didn't save the less experienced Armenian player, and Kovalevskaya won. The final encounter of the match between Elena Tairova and Liana Aghabekian ended in a draw. Russia beat Armenia 2½—1½.

Round 8 – May 28th:Russia inflicted a heavy 3½—½ defeat on the Czech Republic, with Tatiana Kosintseva, Ekaterina Korbut and Ekaterina Kovalevskaya all scoring full points. Ukraine, battling to catch the Russians, took Georgia down with a 3—1 score. China had the "bye" against Botswana, whom the dutifully defeated 4v0, like everybody else. Germany drew their main rival, Vietnam.

Round 9 – May 29th: The Chinese team won Gold in the First World Women's Chess Team Championship. These young ladies, the oldest of whom is 22, struck everybody by their stable play and excellent physical state. The majority of the games they won lasted for about four hours, evidence of their battlelike attitude and a desire to struggle till the very end. A whole team of coaches supported the players in Yekaterinburg. In the last round they faced Germany, looking fresh and vigorous as usual, in spite of the early start of the round. They could have easily gone for a draw in round nine, but instead struggled until the very end in every game. The score against Germany: 2½—1½.

Meanwhile the Russian took their four points against Botswana and the Silver medal in this event, two match points behind the leaders. The Ukraine team struggled for five hours against Vietnam and won the encounter 3½—½, taking Bronze in the process.

The golden trophy for the first place weighs for about 15 kg, its height is more than 70 cm. It is decorated with 16 precious Urals stones: garnet, corundum and lavender pheonite. The sphere is made of optical glass with a laser engraving inside. Ural specialists spent more than a month creating the golden Cup.

/ written by Elmira Mirzoeva, taken from chessbase.com /

Individual medals

Best Rating Performance
no. name flag code ELOp
1. WGM Zhao Xue China CHN 2689
2. WGM Hou Yifan China CHN 2635
3. Ruan Lufei China CHN 2625

1st Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. WGM Zhao Xue China CHN 8 81.3
2. IM Kosintseva, Tatiana Russia RUS 6 9 66.7
3. IM Pähtz, Elisabeth Germany GER 5 8 62.5

2nd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. WGM Hou Yifan China CHN 9 83.3
2. IM Javakhishvili, Lela Georgia GEO 6 8 75.0
3. IM Ushenina, Anna Ukraine UKR 9 72.2

3rd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Gaponenko, Inna Ukraine UKR 7 8 87.5
2. Ruan Lufei China CHN 6 7 85.7
3. WGM Zawadzka, Jolanta Poland POL 8 68.8

4th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina Russia RUS 7 92.9
2. WGM Shen Yang China CHN 8 81.3
3. IM Vasylevych, Tatiana Ukraine UKR 8 56.3

1st Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. WIM Przeździecka, Marta Poland POL 5 7 71.4
2. WGM Tairova, Elena Russia RUS 5 70.0
3. WFM Phạm Lê Thảo Nguyên Vietnam VIE 5 70.0

Interesting games

"Thou shalt not trade your dark-squared Bishop at any cost!"
Once again Bg7 pin proved decisive.
Kosintseva, Nadezhda (RUS) - Hou Yifan (CHN) 0 - 1

A neat Rook sacrifice.
Soćko, Monika (POL) - Zhao Xue (CHN) 0 - 1

An extremely tough struggle brilliantly conducted by Black.
Gvetadze, Sopio (GEO) - Shen Yang (CHN) 0 - 1

Definitely a World Championship should be closed for a play like that!
Gvetadze, Sopio (GEO) - Pilane Masego, Sylvia (BOL) 1 - 0