Thursday, August 7, 2008

The strongest women’s tournament

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

I SELDOM feature women’s tournaments—not because I am biased—but simply because there are only a few of them.

However, if it is billed as the strongest women’s tournament ever, I guess every chess player has a right to know what is it all about.

The North Urals Cup is in its third edition and is ongoing in Krasnoturinsk, Russia from July 26 to Aug. 3. Here are the players and their background.

I am enumerating their accomplishments as very few chess players know about women chess and it is about time to show them our respect.

Koneru Humpy (India) is an International grandmaster with a rating of 2622. She is a semifinalist of the World Cup (2002), semifinalist of the World Women Championship (2004), winner of the super tournament “North Urals Cup” (2005), and first placer in the individual and the team categories (Asian Games 2006).

Stefanova Antoaneta (Bulgaria) is an international grandmaster with a rating of 2550. She is the European Champion (2002), Women World Champion (2004), and two-time champion of Russia (team “AVS”) (2005, 2006). She also won 3rd place in the Russian Championship (team “AVS”) (2007), winner of the male GM tournament in Salona (2007) and finished the Gibraltar Masters 2008 with an ELO performance of 2690.

Cramling Pia (Sweden) is an international grandmaster with a rating of 2544 and is a WGM since 1982 and International Grandmaster since 1992. She is the women’s European champion (2003), vice-champion of Sweden among men (1987, 2000), winner of the European Club Cup with the team of Monaco (2007). She also won second place in the Ataturk Masters Ustanbul (2008).

Sebag Marie (France) is an international grandmaster with a rating of 2529 and a winner of the European Youth Championship (1999, 2000, 2002), two-time champion of France (2000, 2002), and a quarterfinalist of the World Women Championship (2006).

Muzychuk Anna (Slovenia) is another international grandmaster with a rating of 2504. She is the champion of Ukraine among women (2003), Russian, Slovenian, German Club Cup champion, European Club Cup vice-champion with “AVS” (2007), and the winner of the international women tournaments “Moscow Open” and “1st Ladies Open” (2008).

Xu Yuhua (China) is an international grandmaster with a rating of 2483 and winner of the zonal tournament (1993, 2001), World Cup (2000, 2002). She is also a member of the World Olympiad Team Champion (2000, 2002, 2004), and is the Women World Champion (2006).

Ushenina Anna (Ukraine) is an International grandmaster since 2007 with a rating of 2476. She is the champion of Ukraine among women (2005), member of the Olympiad champion team (2006), member of the third-place finisher in the World Women Team Championship (2007).

Pogonina Natalya (Russia) is an international grandmaster with a rating of 2469. She is the European champion among in the 16-Under and 18-Under women (2000, 2003), the European rapid chess 18-Under champion (2003), third placer in the super tournament “North Urals Cup” (2007), vice-champion of European Club Cup with “AVS” (2007), first placer in the Russian team and the second placer in the World Students’ Championship (2008).

Here are the standings after the 3rd round: Stefanova 2.5,Ushenina, Sebag, Yuhua 2.0, Pogonina, Muzychuk, Koneru 1.0, Cramling 0.5.

Obviously it has been a disappointment for the top seed Koneru who started with two losses against Stefanova and Sebag and Cramling, who is the most experienced, who only has a single draw.

CEPCA BLITZ OPEN. The tournament has been moved to Aug. 9 starting at 1 p.m. and the venue will be the Opascor Bldg. Format is seven rounds Swiss with time control set at five minutes for Class A and 10 minutes for Class B and C plus three seconds increment. Registration is P100.

Total pot is P8,000. For more details contact tournament arbiter Marvin Ruelan

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