Thursday 19 March 2015

Holding a draw

     The first mini-matches of the Women's World Chess Championship are coming to an end. It is the tie break day today, with 11(!) matches to be disputed.
     I was following closely the games, enjoying the commentaries of GM Miroshnichenko and GM Rogozenco. I must say that the organization seems to be really nice, many interviews, video translation, live commentary in both Russian and English... Every day I can't wait for the morning to pass faster :D (no exception today).
WGM Marrero Lopez Yaniet vs GM Elina Danielian
     As I had expected, there were a lot of interesting games and also some surprises. My feeling is that the biggest upsets of the first mini-match were: GM Elina Danielian (2488) knocked out by the Cuban WGM Yaniet Marrero Lopez (2322) and GM and ex European Champion Hoang Than Trang (2475) knocked out by GM Arakhamia Grant Ketevan (2379). Women's chess can be particularly unpredictable and it is vital to be at your best from the very beginning, as the distance is very short and one wrong move can be crucial.
     There were a lot of games worth mentioning but I will stop on the one of IM Mariya Muzychuk (2526) vs WIM Yuan Yuanling (2257), where Mariya managed to win the second game in order to even the score and continue the fight in the tie-break. I think it is quite representative.

White to move

     As we can see, a typical Dutch Defense structure is on the board, though the 3...g6 might be already inaccurate, which Mariya has successfully proven in the game. 3...d6 or 3... e6 were the alternatives. Another interesting fact is that Mariya herself likes to play Dutch from time to time, so, maybe the opening choice wasn't so inspired from this point of view as well...
     4.h4- Bg7 5.h5- Nxh5 6.e4!
Black to move

     This is the most principled way to make use of 3...g6.  It seems to me that black is already in big trouble. The opening battle is clearly lost by black.
     6...fxe4 7. Rxh5- gxh5 8. Qxh5- Kf8 9. Bh6- e6 10. Nxe4- Qe7 11.Bxg7- Kxg7 12.000-d6 13.Rd3
Black to move
IM Mariya Muzychuk
     Black's position is already hopeless due to the lack of development and the too exposed king.
     The game ended a few moves later with white claiming a win.

     The game looks very convincing and one may wonder why I've chosen it to analyze. The answer
is simple. It is very difficult from the psychological point of view to stay calm and just play chess
after you've lost the first game in the match and you must win the 2nd one. On the other hand, this game proves that it is also a challenge to stay calm after a win in the 1st game. As a friend told me- this kind of KO championships are about the ability to make a draw.

     Follow the games and the commentaries on the official site of the event:
(photos taken from: )

     May the best one win!

xoxo from Iasi ;)

Wednesday 11 March 2015

KO Fight

     The Women's World Championship is starting really soon (16th March) and I expect nothing less than the usual big fights, unexpected results and a lot of spectacular chess!
     I hope that one day I'll also be there, but until then, I'll settle with just following it and cheering for my friends. The tournament will take place in Sochi, under the patronage of the Russian Chess Federation. Here you can check the official page of the event:
     Here are the pairings for the 1st round, as well as the initial ranking list:
     It is very difficult to predict a winner in such kind of events, especially in women's ones. I think that a lot depends on the preparation before the tournament, to concrete opponents and about the psychological approach. I find it very important to feel confident in your chess.
     The first thing that has caught my eye is that the reigning World Champion is missing- Hou Yifan. Despite this, the tournament announces to be very strong, with 10 players with 2500+ Elo:
Rank   Name Title Country Rating Games
1   Koneru, Humpy g IND 2581 0
2   Ju, Wenjun g CHN 2557 9
3   Muzychuk, Anna g  UKR 2552 10
4   Cmilyte, Viktorija g LTU 2530 0
5   Kosteniuk, Alexandra g RUS 2529 0
6   Gunina, Valentina g RUS 2528 0
7   Zhao, Xue g CHN 2527 0
8   Muzychuk, Mariya m UKR 2526 10
9   Stefanova, Antoaneta g  BUL 2522 12
10   Khotenashvili, Bela g  GEO 2513 10

     Keep tuned for updates!

xoxo from Iasi ;)

Monday 9 March 2015

Social Game

     They were right... Cappelle really does know how to be intense.

     It has taken me quite a long time, getting into the typing spirit, but here I am, back to Iasi, remembering Cappelle and wondering how could it pas so quickly!
     France is getting more and more interesting for me with each tournament I play there. My first memories from the World Junior Championship in Belfort 2005 had cut my desire to return until 2012, when I played my first Cap d'Agde Open and since when I've started to get the actual taste of playing chess in France.
     Once again, Cappelle la Grande has proven to me that it's a place to return. Being such a huge festival, with over 500 participants, one can imagine the challenges the organizers had to face each day. Nonetheless, I have really enjoyed this event- the nice playing hall, the interesting games, the "all about socializing" dinners, the time spent in the analyzing room ... I felt chess ingrained everywhere and it was really nice. The atmosphere of the event is one which makes you understand why so many GM's are at theirs 20+ participation.
     Despite the feeling that one have time for nothing which some might have got, for me, it didn't feel like there should have been time for anything more.
     I scored 5p out of 9 and I've gained some Elo points. There were some missed opportunities, some of them really frustrating, but after all, it was a great experience and a very instructive one from all points of view.
     All in all, if you haven't been to Cappelle yet, you should definitely make room for it in your calendar!
( -the official site of the event, for those who might want to check the standings, games or any other details)

xoxo from Iasi ;)