Mikhail Chigorin Memorial 2009

Zaven Andriasian wins rapid tournament

Chigorin logo

The 17th International Chess Festival “Mikhail Chigorin Memorial” is being held on 14-25th October at Holiday Inn Moskovskie Vorota hotel in St. Petersburg, Russia.

A rich prize fund of about 40.000 EUR, provided by the sponsor pool led by Russian giant Gazprom, initiated a huge turnout of 264 players in the main open tournament, among them 24 rated above 2600 elo. Top seed is Indian Grandmaster Pentala Harikrishna.

The Festival opened with a two-day rapid tournament on 14-15th October. 159 participants fought over 11 rounds with a time control 15 min + 5 sec per player. Armenian Grandmaster and former World Junior Champion Zaven Andriasian convincingly won the race with 9.5 points, full point ahead of the chasing pack.

Rapid tournament final standings:

1. GM Andriasian Zaven ARM 2612 – 9.5

2-4. GM Khairullin Ildar RUS 2604, IM Kovalenko Igor UKR 2484 and GM Vorobiov Evgeny RUS 2606 – 8.5

5-11. GM Epishin Vladimir RUS 2590, GM Dreev Alexey RUS 2659, GM Vysochin Spartak UKR 2550, GM Aleksandrov Aleksej BLR 2639, GM Shomoev Anton RUS 2566, GM Savchenko Boris RUS 2638 and GM Zhigalko Andrey BLR 2601 – 8.0 etc

Zaven Andriasian

Zaven Andriasian receiving the trophy

The main open event started on 16th October. After five rounds, GM Alexei Fedorov of Belarus and GM Murtas Kazhgaleyev from Kazakhstan are sharing the lead with 4.5 points each. The two will meet each other in round six on Wednesday. There follows a group of 25 players with 4.0 points, while the top rated GM Harikrishna is with 3.5 points after a 2nd round setback against GM Klimov.

Round 6 top pairings (21st October):

GM Fedorov Alexei 4.5 BLR 2600 – GM Kazhgaleyev Murtas 4.5 KAZ 2643

GM Kurnosov Igor 4.0 RUS 2669 – GM Epishin Vladimir 4.0 RUS 2590

GM Deviatkin Andrei 4.0 RUS 2593 – GM Areshchenko Alexander 4.0 UKR 2667

GM Dreev Alexey 4.0 RUS 2659 – GM Kryakvin Dmitry 4.0 RUS 2571

GM Zhou Weiqi 4.0 CHN 2593 – GM Kobalia Mikhail 4.0 RUS 2648

GM Amonatov Farrukh 4.0 TJK 2643 – GM Malakhatko Vadim 4.0 BEL 2569

GM Romanov Evgeny 4.0 RUS 2588 – GM Savchenko Boris 4.0 RUS 2638

GM Volkov Sergey 4.0 RUS 2616 – GM Rychagov Andrey 4.0 RUS 2552

GM Maletin Pavel 4.0 RUS 2576 – GM Negi Parimarjan 4.0 IND 2615

IM Chadaev Nikolai 4.0 RUS 2561 – GM Vorobiov Evgeny E. 4.0 RUS 2606

GM Evdokimov Alexander A. 4.0 RUS 2556 – GM Burmakin Vladimir 4.0 RUS 2599

IM Yudin Sergei 4.0 RUS 2599 – GM Wen Yang 4.0 CHN 2538

GM Popov Valerij 4.0 RUS 2595 – GM Shimanov Aleksandr 4.0 RUS 2508

IM Bellaiche Anthony 4.0 FRA 2435 – GM Azarov Sergei 3.5 BLR 2625

Vadim Zvjagintsev

GM Vadim Zvjagintsev

Pentala Harikrishna

GM Pentala Harikrishna

Boris Savchenko

GM Boris Savchenko

More information and photos on the official website

Magnus Carlsen withdraws from the European Team Chess Championship

The Norwegian team in check mate for ETCC 2009

Carlsen press square

Breaking news: Magnus Carlsen withdraws from the European Team Chess Championship 2009. He has confirmed his participation several weeks ago, but after discussing the matter with Garry Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen has choosen to rest and prepare before Tal Memorial. The news was confirmed by his father Henrik Carlsen to tv2.no.

His team mate and Nettavisen’s chess expert GM Leif Erlend Johannessen comments for Nettavisen, “This was noot good for us. But I understand the decision. China was a huge effort. Kasparov probably decided that the wisest thing to do was to get some rest before Tal Memorial.”

The Norwegian team consist of GM Jon Ludvig Hammer, GM Leif Erlend Johannessen, IM Frode Elsness og FM Joachim Thomassen and coach GM Peter Heine Nielsen (DEN). With Magnus Carlsen it was considered a top 10 candidate. As they are not allowed to have a substitute player, they will have to play a game every round. Besides, as GM Johannessen will arrive to Serbia a day late, they will automatically lose on board 4 in round 1.

“This is an awkward position. It’s unclear if we are able to participate”, comments for Nettavisen chairman of the top player’s committee Hans Krogh Harestad at the Norwegian Chess Federation.

Magnus Carlsen understands the serious matter of the situation. He was going to play in Serbia without any additional remuneration, only his expenses were covered by the federation. Now he has offered to recover the money spent for him on accommodation.

The story is still developing and Chessdom.com is bringing you the latest details thanks to our good friends from Norway – Ole Valaker and Eirik T. Gullaksen.

IM Sriram Jha wins the 1st Syna International Chess Tournament

IM Sriam Jha conquers first on tiebreak

The World Cup 2009 participant IM Sriram Jha won the 1st Syna International Chess Tournament. IM Jha finished with the same points as IM Kamble and IM Saptarshi, but better tiebreak gave him the first place.

The tournament 1st Syna International Chess Tournament itself was not among the strongest opens of India, but surely was a massive event that collected over 320 players. Here are the top finishers.

1 IM Sriram Jha IND 2497 8.5

2 IM Kamble Vikramaditya IND 2350 8.5

3 IM Saptarshi Roy IND 2389 8.5

4 Shashikant Kutwal IND 2314 8.5

5 IM Deshmukh Anup IND 2256 8

6 Gupte Meghan IND 2174 8

7 Thakur Akash IND 2363 8

8 Singh Gurpreet Pal IND 2301 7.5

9 FM Akshat Khamparia IND 2263 7.5

10 IM Himanshu Sharma IND 2471 7.5

11 Abhishek Das IND 2263 7.5

12 Santhosh Kausik IND 2215 7.5

13 Negi V S IND 2034 7.5

14 Saurabh Kherdekar IND 2274 7.5

15 Bartakke Amardeep S IND 2197 7.5

16 Sharma Harish IND 2166 7.5

17 Sharma Hari O M IND 2211 7.5

18 Fenil Shah IND 2240 7.5

19 Jaiswal Puneet IND 2242 7.5

Total: 320 players

This is the last tournament of IM Jha before Khanty Mansiysk, where he will represent India together with GMs Abhijeet Gupta, Surya Sekhar Ganguly, Sandipan Chanda, Abhijit Kunte, and Parimarjan Negi.

Economists Romping Through The European Club Cup

4-10th October in Ohrid, Fyrom

The 25th European Club Cup was held on 4-10th October in Ohrid, Fyrom. The Russian club Economist-SGSEU-1 from Saratov won all seven matches and convincingly claimed the first place with perfect 14 points. This compact team was represented by Grandmasters Alekseev, Eljanov, Tomashevsky, Bu, Ni, Moiseenko, Andreikin and Roiz. The Championship was very exciting, but with 50+ teams competing, it should be definitely extended to nine rounds.

Mika Yerevan, featuring mostly members of the Olympiad winning Armenian national team, reached clear second place with 12 points. It is interesting that last year the same team had Magnus Carlsen and Boris Gelfand on the top two boards, yet they finished on tied 7-13th place.

Third place was shared by the last year champions Ural Svedrdlovskaya, this time playing without Teimour Radjabov and Gata Kamsky, and SPbChFed from Sankt-Peterburg, but Ural took bronze medal on better tiebreak score. Peter Svidler from SPbChFed scored 5.5/7 on the first board, for the highest rating performance of the competition – 2920.

Economist-SGSEU-1 Saratov

Winners – Economist-SGSEU-1 Saratov

Mika Yerevan

Silver medal for Mika Yerevan

Ural Sverdlovskaya

Third place for Ural Svedrdlovskaya

Four-time European Champions Bosna Sarajevo did not participate. Full standings and selected games are bellow, for more information visit the official website.

Final Standings (7 rounds):

1. RUS Economist-SGSEU-1 Saratov – 14

2. ARM Mika Yerevan – 12

3. RUS Ural Svedrdlovskaya – 11

4. RUS SPbChFed Sankt-Peterburg – 11

5. GER OSG Baden-Baden – 10

6. UKR PVK – Kievchess – 10

7. ISR Beer Sheva Chess Club – 10

8. RUS ShSM-64 Moscow – 10

9. RUS Tomsk-400 – 10

10. ISR Ashdod Illit Chess Club – 10

11. MKD Alkaloid Skopje – 10

12. UKR A DAN DZO & PGMB – 9

13. LTU CC Margiris Kaunas – 9

14. CZE 1. Novoborsky SK – 8

15. SRB Lasta Belgrade – 8

16. BEL Borgerhout – 8

17. FRA EVRY Grand Roque – 8

18. AUT Husek Wien – 8

19. NED Utrecht – 8

20. MNE Buducnost Podgorica – 8

21. AUT ASVOe Pamhagen – 8

22. BEL Rochade Eupen-Kelmis – 8

23. GER Werder Bremen – 8

24. SVK SK Slovan Bratislava – 8

25. ISL Chess Club Bolungarvik – 7

26. DEN Jetsmark – 7

27. HUN Zalaegerszegi Csuti-Hydrocomp – 7

28. MKD Gambit-Peksim Skopje – 7

29. GER Schachgesellschaft Solingen – 7

30. NED HMC Calder – 6

31. FIN Salon Shakkikerho Salsk – 6

32. BEL KSK 47 Eynatten – 6

33. NOR Oslo Schakselskap – 6

34. NOR Moss Schakklubb – 6

35. GER Sfr Berlin 1903 – 6

36. LTU Vilnius Chess & Bridge Club – 6

37. HUN Haladas VSE Szombathely – 6

38. BLR Vesnianka Gran – 6

39. NED LSG – 6

40. MKD GSK Kochani – 6

41. ISR Porat Chess Club – 6

42. FIN Etela-Vantaan Shakki – 5

43. EUR KSH Prishtina – 5

44. DEN Aarhus Skolerne – 5

45. SUI Schackklub Niederrohrdorf – 4

46. ENG White Rose – 4

47. EUR KSH Llamkos – 4

48. WLS Cardiff Chess Club – 4

49. LUX CE De Sprenger Echternach – 4

50. IRL Ennis Chess Club – 4

51. LUX CE Gambit Luxembourg-Bonnevoie – 3

52. ALB Roskovec – 2

53. ALB Butrinti – 2

54. MNC Cercle d’Echecs de Monte-Carlo – 1


Spartak Vidnoe Wins European Club Cup for Women

4-10th October in Ohrid, Fyrom

The 14th European Club Cup for Women took place on 4-10th October in Ohrid, Fyrom. Spartak Vidnoe had a slow start, with draws in rounds two and three, but then they won the remaining matches and convincingly claimed the trophy, full three points ahead of the chasing pack. Fourth board Kateryna Lahno had an amazing performance of 5.5/6, or 2772 elo.

Cercle d’Echecs Monte Carlo, who dominated the European scene over the last two years, had many problems throughout the competition and only in the last round did they reach shared 2-5th place. The team won the silver medal on the best additional criteria. It is interesting that the top two teams haven’t met each other over the board.

The event had only 11 teams participating, which is a huge decline after the last year’s 18 in Kalithea. Official website

Final Standings (matches win, draw, loss):

1. RUS Spartak Vidnoe (5 2 0) – 12

2. MNC Cercle d’Echecs Monte Carlo (3 3 1) – 9

3. GEO Samaia Tbilisi (3 3 1) – 9

4. RUS Economist-SGSEU Saratov (3 3 1) – 9

5. MNE T-com Podgorica (4 1 2) – 9

6. ROU CS Cotnari-Politehnica Iasi (2 4 1) – 8

7. POL Polonia Votum Wroclaw (3 2 2) – 8

8. SRB Radnicki Rudovci (3 1 3) – 7

9. ARM Mika Yerevan (2 2 3) – 6

10. SRB BAS Beograd (2 1 4) – 5

11. FRA Vandoeuvre Echecs (1 0 6) – 2

Spartak Vidnoe

Winners – Spartak Vidnoe

Cercle d'Echecs

Second place – Cercle d’Echecs Monte Carlo

Samaia Tbilisi

Third place for Samaia Tbilisi


GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili wins the 5th Prospero Pichay Cup

2-7th October in Quezon City, the Philippines

Prior to the ninth and final round, both GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili of Georgia and Iranian GM Ehsan Ghaemmaghami shared the top spot with 6.0 points. Not taking anything for granted, both co-leaders defeated their respective opponents in the final round. Mchedlishvili beats current world junior champion, Abhijeet Gupta of India and Gaemmaghami beats defending champion, Li Shilong of China. But at the end of the day, it was the Georgian grandmaster who emerges victorious by piling up with the most superior tie break points over his Iranian rival, giving him the rights to claim the 5th Prospero Pichay International Chess Cup held from October 2 – 7 in Quezon City, the Philippines. The Pichay Cup, named after the current president of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, Congressman Prospero Pichay Jr, is the twin tournament of the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Chess Cup, an annual two weeks chess festival organized by NCFP.

With the win, the 30 year old Mikheil Mchedlishvili and rank no.4 in his native Georgia became the first European player to capture the tournament usually dominated by Asians. Mchedlishvili was very consistent all through out the tournament, always on top of the leader board from the first till the final round. Eight of his nine opponents he faced were all grandmasters and was undefeated with five wins and four draws with performance rating of 2752. GM Mchedlishvili recently won the Ravana chess challenge held in Sri Lanka where many grandmasters who saw action in that event also joins the 4th PGMA and Pichay Cup.

The same rule and system as the 4th PGMA Cup was also applied at the Pichay Cup. A nine round Swiss system and the time control of 90 minutes for the whole game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 1. And to prevent an early draws, players are not allowed before the completion of Black’s 30th move unless by the repetition of position rule. Pichay Cup offers a total prize of $30,000 and $5,000 goes to the winner.

Report by Des Catolos, admi. of ChessHeroes blog

Final Standings after 9 Rounds:

1 GM MCHEDLISHVILI Mikheil GEO 2613 – 7,0

2 GM GHAEMMAGHAMI Ehsan IRI 2579 – 7,0

3 GM ANTONIO Rogelio Jr PHI 2557 – 6,5

4 GM NGUYEN Ngoc Truong Son VIE 2589 – 6,5

5 GM ZHANG Zhong SIN 2606 – 6,5

6 GM LAYLO Darwin PHI 2537 – 6,0

7 GM DAO Thien Hai VIE 2542 – 6,0

8 GM DAS Neelotpal IND 2471 – 6,0

9 GM KOTANJIAN Tigran ARM 2553 – 5,5

10 GM GUPTA Abhijeet IND 2584 – 5,5

11 GM PARAGUA Mark PHI 2501 – 5,5

12 GM FILIPPOV Anton UZB 2595 – 5,5

13 GM GAGUNASHVILI Merab GEO 2564 – 5,5

14 GM LI Shilong CHN 2531 – 5,5

15 GM TORRE Eugenio PHI 2535 – 5,5

16 IM DABLEO Ronald PHI 2417 – 5,5

17 GM ISMAGAMBETOV Anuar KAZ 2528 – 5,5

18 IM NOLTE Rolando PHI 2424 – 5,5

19 GM KOSTENKO Pyotr KAZ 2491 – 5,5

20 IM DIMAKILING Oliver PHI 2434 – 5,5

21 FM DONGUINES Fernie PHI 2373 – 5,5

22 TIRTO INA 2407 – 5,0

23 ANDADOR Rolando PHI 2260 – 5,0

24 IM GARMA Chito PHI 2331 – 5,0

25 IM SENADOR Emmanuel PHI 2367 – 5,0

26 LUMANCAS Lyndon PHI 0 – 5,0

27 GM VILLAMAYOR Buenaventura PHI 2426 – 5,0

28 FM PASCUA Haridas PHI 2310 – 4,5

29 GM GOMEZ John Paul PHI 2521 – 4,5

30 MAGA Mirabeau PHI 2230 – 4,5

31 ELORTA David PHI 2326 – 4,5

32 BITOON Richard PHI 2490 – 4,5

33 ROQUE Merben PHI 2209 – 4,5

35 DATU Alcon John PHI 2188 – 4,0

36 MARIANO Nelson III PHI 2095 – 4,0

37 MACALA Allan PHI 2266 – 4,0

38 BRANZUELA Ali PHI 2288 – 4,0

39 LEGASPI Rhobel PHI 2325 – 4,0

40 MORAZO John Ranel PHI 2172 – 4,0

41 SEGARRA Randy PHI 2300 – 4,0

42 OLAY Edgar Reggie PHI 2325 – 4,0

43 WGM NADIG Krutika IND 2273 – 4,0

44 MILAGROSA Alexander PHI 2254 – 4,0

46 LAO Elias PHI 2233 – 4,0

47 FM CARLOS Leonardo PHI 2334 – 3,5

48 RICANA Leodegario PHI 2082 – 3,5

49 CAUSO Deniel PHI 2334 – 3,0

50 RIVERA Albert PHI 2172 – 3,0

51 POLAO Ben PHI 0 – 3,0

52 BAGAMASBAD Efren PHI 2311 – 3,0

53 BERNALES Christy Lamiel PHI 2056 – 3,0

54 PORTUGALERA Ric PHI 2221 – 3,0

55 LEE Elgin MAS 1810 – 3,0

56 CAUMBAN Jose Piff PHI 0 – 3,0

57 BAUTISTA Paolo Lorenzo PHI 0 – 2,5

58 BAGAYNA Magellan PHI 0 – 2,0

59 LEE William MAS 0 – 2,0

60 PINERO Arnel PHI 0 – 0,0

WGM Anna Zatonskih at the sole lead after 2 rounds

US Women Chess Championship 2009

Defending U.S. women’s chess champion WGM Anna Zatonskih is using her versatility to keep her opponents off balance at the 2009 championship at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis . After two games, she was the only player to move to 2-0, reflecting two victories. Zatonskih played a solid opening variation that she seldom uses to frustrate the aggressive style of Battsetseg Tsagaan. “I’m expecting Zatonskih to surprise us in many games,” said Grandmaster-elect Ben Finegold, who provided live commentary.

Round 2 results

Sabina-Francesca Foisor ½-½ Tatev Abrahamyan

Alisa Melekhina ½-½ Camilla Baginskaite

Rusudan Goletiani 0-1 Irina Krush

Anna Zatonskih 1-0 Battsetseg Tsagaan

Yun Fan 0-1 Iryna Zenyuk

Read about Anna Zatonskih’s simul record and round 1

Zatonskih Krush

Anna Zatonskih and Irina Krush

The top-seeded Zatonskih, of Long Island, N.Y., avoided the trap of overlooking Tsagaan, of Ellicott City, Md., the seven-time Mongolian women’s champion. Zatonskih insisted she was not placing undue emphasis on her upcoming encounter with second-seeded IM Irina Krush, with whom she shared an infamous incident at last year’s championship.

In 2008, the pair played a controversial championship playoff. After the pair were tied following nine rounds of regular play, the two women played an “Armageddon” blitz match to decide the winner. Both women had their time dip below 5 seconds, so Zatonskih made several random moves quickly, and Krush overstepped the time limit. Zatonskih had one second remaining and claimed victory. Krush, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was nonplussed by the strategy and claimed Zatonskih began making her moves before she was legally allowed. Video replays were inconclusive and the accusations flew faster than the pieces. Since then, the two have competed as American teammates, but have not had a chance to face off over the board. They meet in round three on Tuesday.

In other round two action, Krush make a remarkable comeback from a horrible opening position to defeat third-seeded Rusudan Goletiani, of Hartsdale, N.Y. “It was a complete opening disaster,” Krush said.

The youngest competitor, 18-year-old Alisa Melekhina, of Philadelphia, battled the oldest player, 42-year-old Camilla Baginskaite, of Sioux Falls, S.D. Like the first round, Melekhina faced a tough defense, but again she was able to hold the balance and score one-half point for the drawn game.

foisor

WGM Sabina-Francesca Foisor, currently a student at UMBC, Maryland.
(Photo Betsy Dynako)

Sabina-Francesca Foisor of Baltimore, Md., and Tatev Abrahamyan, of Glendale, Calif., also battled to a draw, giving Foisor 1.5 points out of two and Abrahamyan her first half-point of the tournament. The two played an uncompromising affair with wild imbalances before the game petered out into an equal ending.

In the last game, Iryna Zenyuk, of Pittsburgh, Pa., got her first win by grinding out an equal ending against Yun Fan, of Greencastle, Ind., who is now 0-2.

Round three will begin Tuesday at 2 p.m. Games can be followed live at the official site.

FM Mike Klein’s daily wrap

Defending U.S. women’s chess
champion WGM Anna Zatonskih is
using her versatility to keep her
opponents off balance at the 2009
championship at the Chess Club
and Scholastic Center of Saint
Louis. After two games, she was
the only player to move to 2-0,
reflecting two victories. Zatonskih
played a solid opening variation
that she seldom uses to frustrate
the aggressive style of Battsetseg
Tsagaan. “I’m expecting Zatonskih
to surprise us in many games,”
said Grandmaster-elect Ben Finegold,
who provided live commentary.

The top-seeded Zatonskih, of Long
Island, NY, avoided the trap of
overlooking Tsagaan, of Ellicott
City, MD, the seven-time Mongolian
women’s champion. Zatonskih
insisted she was not placing undue
emphasis on her upcoming encounter with second-seeded IM
Irina Krush, with whom she shared
an infamous incident at last year’s
championship.

In 2008, the pair played a controversial
championship playoff. After
the pair were tied following nine
rounds of regular play, the two
women played an “Armageddon”
blitz match to decide the winner.
Both women had their time dip
below 5 seconds, so Zatonskih
made several random moves
quickly, and Krush overstepped
the time limit. Zatonskih had one
second remaining and claimed
victory. Krush, of Brooklyn, NY,
was nonplussed by the strategy
and claimed Zatonskih began making
her moves before she was
legally allowed. Video replays were
inconclusive and the accusations
flew faster than the pieces. Since
then, the two have competed as

American teammates, but have
not had a chance to face off over
the board. They meet in round
three on Tuesday.

In other round two action, Krush
made a remarkable comeback
from a horrible opening position to
defeat third-seeded IM Rusudan
Goletiani, of Hartsdale, NY. “It was
a complete opening disaster,”
Krush said.

The youngest competitor, 18-yearold
Alisa Melekhina, of Philadelphia,
PA, battled the oldest player,
42-year-old Camilla Baginskaite, of
Sioux Falls, SD. Like the first
round, Melekhina faced a tough
defense, but again she was able to
hold the balance and score onehalf
point for the drawn game.
Sabina-Francesca Foisor of Baltimore,
MD, and Tatev Abrahamyan, of Glendale, CA, also battled to a
draw, giving Foisor 1.5 points out
of two and Abrahamyan her first
half-point of the tournament. The
two played an uncompromising
affair with wild imbalances before
the game petered out into an
equal ending.

In the last game, Iryna Zenyuk, of
Pittsburgh, PA, got her first win by
grinding out an equal ending
against Yun Fan, of Greencastle,
IN, who is now 0-2.

80th FIDE Congress details

arrival information

Greece chess

The 80th FIDE Congress will take place October 11th – 18th, 2009 Halkidiki, Greece. The Organizing Committee has received about 150 registrations for the 80th FIDE Congress. Among them PB members, EB members, Delegates, Commissions’ Chairmen and members, Federations’ officers and exhibitors. 80th FIDE Congress will be one of the biggest and most interesting mid Congresses (between Olympiads). FIDE will commemorate its 85th anniversary at the event.
during the Congress.

The weather in Halkidiki is expected to be nice during the whole Congress and the organizers have detailed instructions for the arrival and accommodation of all participants. You can download them here.

More information about the Congress and the parallel chess events can be found at the Congress preview.

International Championship of French-Speaking Countries

27th September until 4th October in Arvier, Aosta Valley

The first International Championship of French-speaking countries took place from 27th September until 4th October in Arvier, in the beautiful Aosta Valley. Winner of the Canadian Closed Championship and World Cup participant, IM Jean Hebert, claimed the first place with 6.5 points from nine rounds and best tiebreak score.

GM Joseph Sanchez from Philippines and IM Anthony Wirig from France also finished with 6.5 points. IM Fred Berend (LUX) and IM Petar Arnaudov (BUL) are sharing the 4th place with 6.0 points each. More information on the official website

Arvier 3

This belfry was built in 1202!

Arvier 4

A typical Arvier street is leading to the playing hall

Arvier 8

The closing ceremony, from right to left: the organizer Mr Agostino Scalfi, Jean Claude Moingt (President French Federation – FFE), third-placed IM Anthony Wirig (official representative France), the winner IM Jean Hebert (Canada), second-placed GM Joseph Sanchez (Cannes Echecs), Andy Christoffel (President, Federation of Luxemburg), Mario Leoncini (vice-president Italian Chess Federation), Noureddine Tabbane, presid. AIDEF (Chess Francophone)

Arvier 5

Sabrina Reginato (18), Italian women vice-champion

Arvier 7

Amira Marzouk from Tunisia

Arvier 1

Johannes De Leeuw, famous player born in Netherlands, now French

Arvier 6

The playing room

Arvier 2

Joslin Bazil (Haiti) against Amira Marzouk

Report by Adolivio Capece

US Women’s Chess Championship 2009

Alisa Melekhina holds Irina Krush at the start

The US Women Chess Championship 2009 started in style with IM Anna Zatonskih breaking a simul record. She took on five opponents, including CCSCSL founder and board member Rex Sinquefield — who was the last competitor standing. Zatonskih’s perfect five wins set a record for female blindfold chess.

Sabina-Francesca Foisor, Anna Zatonskih, Rusudan Goletiani, and Camilla Baginskaite won their round 1 games, while Irina Krush was held to a draw by Alisa Melekhina. Scroll down for full report of the round.

* Yun Fan (0) vs Sabina-Francesca Foisor (1)

* Iryna Zenyuk (0) vs Anna Zatonskih (1)

* Battsetseg Tsagaan (0) vs Rusudan Goletiani (1)

* Irina Krush (½) vs Alisa Melekhina (½)

* Camilla Baginskaite (1) vs Tatev Abrahamyan (0)

Round two sees some pretty good
match-ups as the players all try to
get into that groove and make
sure they don’t fall back too far.
The pick of the day is probably IM
Rusudan Goletiani vs IM Irina
Krush. Krush will not want to fall
too far behind the leaders having
drawn with the white pieces in
round one.
IM Anna Zatonskih gets her first
white pieces against WIM Battsetseg
Tsagaan and will possibly see
this as a chance to put some early
pressure on her main rivals.
The other games see WGM Sabina
Foisor vs WFM Tatev Abrahamyan,
WIM Alisa Melekhina vs WGM
Camilla Baginskaite and Yun Fan
vs WIM Iryna Zenyuk.
Foisor, Baginskaite and Melekhina
will all be looking to build on their
good start on day one.

Round 1 results

The opening round of the 2009 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship gave a taste of the combative play that will come over the next 11 days. The championship will take place at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, from Oct. 3, 2009. The first day’s action gathered 10 of the highest-rated women in the country as they faced off in five duels, with four ending in victories.

The lone draw, and biggest surprise of the round, came at the hands of 18-year-old Alisa Melekhina of Philadelphia, the tournament’s youngest participant. She played solidly in her battle with second-seeded former champion Irina Krush of Brooklyn, N.Y. Melekhina holds the second-highest female title, women international master. She is riding a hot streak, coming off an individual gold medal at the World Team Championships last month in China.

Krush, an international master and woman grandmaster, eschewed the sharpest opening lines on the white side of a King’s Indian Defense (a black systemfavored by former World Champion Garry Kasparov), but later tried to drum up complications with a pawn sacrifice. Melekhina accepted the pawn, but shortly after the game came to an impasse and the two players split the point by repeating moves three times.

The tournament’s most seasoned participant jumped out to a fast start as well. Fifth-seeded Women Grandmaster Camilla Baginskaite, 42, of Sioux Falls, S.D., used the advantage of the white pieces to orchestrate active pieces against sixth-seeded Woman FIDE Master Tatev Abrahamyan, of Glendale, Calif. With Abrahamyan down to only seconds on her clock, she overlooked a devastating sacrificial knight fork and was forced to resign. Baginskaite also won the event, in 2000.

The other three matches were all won by the players with the black pieces. Fourth-seeded Woman Grandmaster Sabina Foisor, 20, of Baltimore, played 71 moves over six hours before narrowly getting by tenth-seeded National Master Yun Fan of Greencastle, Ind. Fan is only one year younger. The two women are the only rookies of the event.

The title defense of 2008 champion Anna Zatonskih, of Long Island, N.Y., began as she would have liked. She used an unorthodox opening system to stymie any pre-match preparations of eighth-seeded Woman International Master Iryna Zenyuk of Pittsburgh, Pa. The top-seeded woman grandmaster used a malleable pawn structure to avoid modern theory, and cleared the middlegame complications with an advantageous knight against two pawns imbalance.

In the final game, third-seeded Woman Grandmaster Rusudan Goletiani. of Hartsdale, N.Y., squared off with ninth-seeded Woman International Master Battsetseg Tsagaan, of Ellicott City, Md. Goletiani, also a past U.S. Women’s Champion, pirouetted her queen around the board before finally corralling her opponent’s king.

US women chess championship

The participants in the 2009 US Women’s Chess Championship. Back row
(left to right): Rusudan Goletiani, Alisa Melekhina, Camilla Baginskaite,
Anna Zatonskih and Irina Krush. Front row (left to right): Sabina Foisor,
Tatev Abrahamyan, Iryna Zenyuk, Yun Fan and Battsetseg Tsagaan. (Photo
Betsy Dynako)

Facts about US Women Chess

* The first unoffcial U.S. women’s champion was crowned in 1857. Though her name was never listed, a description of the chess queen secured her legacy: “This lady is believed to be the strongest amateur of her sex in the country, and would certainly be ranked as a first-rate in any club.”
* The first published game by an U.S. woman player appeared in an 8-page brochure in 1830

* A Texas man in 1885 publicly offered a $100 bet that his wife could beat any man in chess

* Mona May Karff won seven titles, topped only by Gisela Kahn Gresser’s nine wins

* Irina Krush holds the record as the youngest player to win the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship. She won it in 1998 at age 14

* In 1909 Eliza Foot “placed on the market a series of chess puzzles”, making her the first female U.S. chess author.

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