2010 Women’s Chess Championship: Round #1

Round #1 – Game #1
Saturday, 4 December 2010

Top Seeds maul Challengers

GM Koneru Humpy got off to a promising start.

GM Koneru Humpy got off to a promising start.
Photo by wwcxc2010.tsf.org.tr.

In the first round of a two-game match, upsets are likely to occur. However, in the Women’s World Chess Championship, there were no major upsets and the top seeds rolled to easy victories. Pogonina-Kovanova was decided in 15 moves apparently a cell phone violation. Defending champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, Koneru Humpy and Hou Yifan all crushed their opponents.

Hou played against the main line Caro-Kann and sacrificed a piece leading to a full-fledged kingside attack against Carla Heredia-Serrano from Ecuador. Hou said after the game that the sacrifice was not very clear but her opponent was in time pressure and such positions are hard to defend. The attack came crashing through and the Chinese phenom had won her first game.

There were a couple of forfeits as Arianna Caoli and Iweta Rajlich did not show up for the first round. According to a report on Europe-Echecs.com, Rajlich stated that her flight to Istanbul was canceled due to harsh winter which meant she would have to take a 10-hour bus ride to Kiev. When her five-month old baby had fallen ill, she could not make such a trip with an infant. So her opponent Jovanka Houska will advance to the second round.

The second game will take place tomorrow and the winner of the matches will move on to the round of 32.

Official Site
Drum Coverage
Round One Results
(MS-Excel)

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

7 Comments

  1. WGM Baira Kovanova destroyed WGM Natalija Pogonina in Game #2. This can be considered a major upset. Not sure what happened with Pia Cramling’s loss to Yildiz. The game is roughly equal and the result is 0-1. Did Cramling’s phone ring? That is a 300-point upset and the Turkish player will move on.

  2. Round #1 – Game #2
    Sunday, 5 December 2010

    Couple of Upsets in Opening Round

    The change of scenery was welcomed!

    The change of scenery was welcomed!

    The organizers decided a chance of venue was best as the tournament moved from the art gallery to a spacious ballroom… a very welcome change. English participant Jovanka Houska called the choice “a bit weird” while French commentator Robert Fontaine called the site “unusual”. While neither of these characterizations are meant to be negative, they are normally not the words one associates with optimal playing conditions.

    The first round had a couple of unexpected results as both Pia Cramling and Natalija Pogonina bowed out in today’s game against Turkish hopeful Betul Yildiz and Russian Barina Kovanova, respectively. Cramling overstepped when she forgot to make her 40th move. Other top seeds were able to advance rather easily. Kovanova, who was upset at being paired with her friend, got a stirring sacrificial victory in their second game.

    There were seven matches that ended in 1-1 ties including two come-from-behind wins in Ding-Hoang and Bakinskaite-Ruan. They will play the tiebreaks tomorrow in a 25-minute rapid games followed by two blitz (if needed) and then a sudden death (if needed).

    Pia Cramling was in for an early exit.

    Pia Cramling was in for an early exit.
    Photos by wwcxc2010.tsf.org.tr.

    Official Site
    Drum Coverage
    Round One Results
    (MS-Excel)

  3. There are tiebreak results coming in from Turkey. Several higher-rated players will have early exits. China will have six players in the second round as will Russia. More details to follow.

  4. Round #1 – Tiebreaks
    Monday, 6 December 2010

    More favorites take an early exit

    Zhang Xiaowen holding up what turned out to be a prophetic victory sign.

    Zhang Xiaowen holding up what turned out to be a prophetic victory sign.
    Photos by wwcxc2010.tsf.org.tr.

    Chess is not a game of chance, but the odds were certainly against some of the unheralded players in the Women’s Championship. There were several rating upsets in round one with the largest being Pia Cramling falling to Betul Yildiz of Turkey. There was a 300-point difference in this match and the home favorite advanced when the Swedish legend forgot to play her 40th move and forfeited.

    The other upset was the relatively unknown Zhang Xiaowen of China winning against Armenia’s Lilit Mkrtchian. The Armenia tried pressing in both games, but her sacrifices did not rattle the young player from China. In the second game it appears as if she was poised to equalize, but missed mate (35…f2+! mates). The tide swung back to the Zhang and the upset was complete.

    Official Site
    Drum Coverage
    Round One Results
    (MS-Excel)

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