40th Belgrade Women Grandmaster Tournament

IM Natasa Bojkovic smashing through the competition

Celebrating the International Women’s Day – 8th March – with a strong chess tournament has become Belgrade tradition since 1965. After Hastings, England and Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, this event has the longest continuity in the chess world. Former world champions Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze were regularly featured in the tournament, but as of late the organizers have decided to give a chance to younger players.

The 40th tournament, that took place on 3-11 March, saw a respectable field with IM Cristina Foisor of Romania, IM Svetlana Matveeva of Russia, Moldavian hope IM Svetlana Petrenko and English star IM Jovanka Houska. IM Yelena Dembo from Greece was originally planned to play, but after her cancellation, current Greek champion WGM Marina Makropoulou was invited. They were joined with complete Serbian team that played at the European Team Championship.

IM Natasa Bojkovic played in devastating form to win the tournament with fantastic 8.0 points, 2.5 ahead of the chasing pack. Experienced International Masters Petrenko, Matveeva and Houska finished on tied 2nd-4th with 5.5 points. The most pleasant surprise was untitled Marija Rakic, who also celebrated 18th birthday during the event, to gather 4.5 for the excellent 50% score.

Photos and selected games are bellow.

Final standings:

1. IM Natasa Bojkovic (SRB 2408) 8.0

2-4. IM Svetlana Petrenko (MDA 2282), IM Svetlana Matveeva (RUS 2433) and IM Jovanka Houska (ENG 2393) 5.5

5. Marija Rakic (SRB 2218) 4.5

6. WGM Ana Benderac (SRB 2324) 4.0

7-9. WGM Marina Makropoulou (GRE 2250), WGM Andjelija Stojanovic (SRB 2310) and IM Cristina Adela Foisor (ROM 2412) 3.5

10. WGM Irina Chelushkina (SRB 2357) 1.5

IM Natasa Bojkovic

Winner: IM Natasa Bojkovic

Jovanka Houska square 2

IM Jovanka Houska

IM Svetlana Matveeva

IM Svetlana Matveeva


Svetlana Petrenko – Andjelija Stojanovic


Jovanka Houska – Cristina Foisor

Marija Rakic

Ready for big act: Marija Rakic


Flowers and gifts for all participants

8 mart Reception 1

In the city hall: Foisor, Makropoulou, Petrenko and Matveeva

8 mart Reception

Reception in the Belgrade City Hall

8 mart Playing hall

Playing hall in Hotel “Slavija”

8 mart Playing hall 1

All photos by Belgrade Chess Federation