WWCC 2008 Day 1 – photos, video, and interviews

all about the start of the World Women Chess Championship

The first day of the World Women Chess Championship started without many surprises. The favorites won their opening games and despite the age difference and experience of the players, the ELO logic was reflected onto the results.

The first one to finish was the young Chinese prodigy WGM Yifan Hou. After a few opening errors from her opponent, Hou was unstoppable and achieved victory in less than 30 moves.

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Yifan Hou in round 1 of the World Women Chess Championship

Several of the players talked to the editor-in-chief of Chessdom.com – Goran Urosevic. IM Harika, who won her game against Vera Nebolsina, shared that white made a couple of bad moves that allowed her to activate the pieces. The exchange of d4 pawn for c6 allowed her to advance to d4 and block white pawn on e2 which became very weak and a burden on white’s legs. Anna Ushenina said for Chessdom that after the regular opening, her opponent made a few inaccuracies which allowed White to gain a strong initiative. Anna was already significantly better when Black blundered and ran into checkmate.

Anna has a birthday today, August 30th. The Chessdom.com team wishes her all the best!

Photos from the first day in Nalchik can be found at the day 1 photo gallery. There you will find Svetlana Mateeva, Harika Dronavalli, Georgios Makropoulos, and many photos from Nalchik.

From day 1 there are only two games that can be counted as real upsets. Draws were few as well.

Kadimova, Ilaha – Paehtz, Elisabeth 1-0

Zhukova, Natalia – Rohonyan, Katerina 0-1

Mkrtchian, Lilit – Moser, Eva ½-½

Kachiani-Gersinska, Ketino – Shen Yang ½-½

Zhang Jilin – Gaponenko, Inna ½-½

Foisor, Sabina-Francesca – Socko, Monika ½-½

Tan Zhongyi – Sachdev, Tania ½-½

Bojkovic, Natasa – Ju Wenjun ½-½

All results are available on the official website

WWCC opening ceremony

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has officially opened the Women`s World Chess Championship 2008 in Nalchik, Kabardino Balkaria. During the pompous ceremony yesterday, local dancers and singers entertained the public and the chess game was also personified through youngsters in costumes. In his welcome speech, President of the Republic, Arsen Kanokov expressed the gratitude and hapiness of the republic to have the World Championship in its capital and promised good organization, great interest from the inhabitants, excellent conditions and clean, healthy environment for the tournament. Alexander Zhukov, President of the Russian Chess Federation delivered the greeting address of Dmitriy Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation praising the beautiful, intellectual game and the Russian chess school. He also expressed the belief that the peaceful competition of chess players turns into a real festival of that sport, promoting development and strengthening of international relations among the nations of the chess world.

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Press conference with FIDE President and officials before round 1

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Traditional dances at the opening ceremony

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The best dancer at the opening ceremony

Press conference with Antoaneta Stefanova

Press conference with Antoaneta Stefanova started at 14:10 CET, as her 1st round opponent is missing. Stefanova said she is delighted with the opening ceremony. However, she did not have any idea that her opponent will be missing. On a question from the Chessdom.com journalists about her rating jump in the past year,Antoaneta Stefanova replied, “I been around and above 2500 for some 10 years or so, and the real question is how I managed to lose so many points.” Since recently Stefanova is working with GM Vladimir Georgiev and her form is returning.


Antoaneta Stefanova


Muminova, Nafisa (UZB) – Kosintseva, Tatjana (RUS)


Alaa El Din, Yorsa (EGY) – Koneru, Humpy (IND)


Svetlana Mateeva

More about the first day of the World Women Chess Championship

On August 28, 2008 the Women’s World Chess Championship started in Nalchik. Arsen Kanokov made the first move «е2-е4» on the chess board of the Chinese chess player Xu Yuhua, the Championship favorite.

As the FIDE President Kirsan Ilymzhinov said Arsen Kanokov started the winning game of the incumbent World Champion: “If Xu Yuhua wins, her victory can be regarded as Kanocov’s victory”. In his interview to the journalists the President expressed his hope to see Nalchik among other chess cities of the world. “We will be glad if the Championship doesn’t become a singular event for Kabardino-Balkaria. We are ready to create all the necessary conditions in case FIDE chooses Nalchik for events like that. We have about 15 chess clubs and I am sure that the current Championship will give an impulse for this game popularization”.

Kirsan Ilymzhinov expressed his gratitude to the organizers for the excellent conditions provided for this Championship. He particularly noticed: “We hold different tournaments of different levels but conditions like that can hardly be met elsewhere. We shall support Kabardino-Balkaria’s plans in every way possible to popularize this game”.

As Kirsan Ilymzhinov underlined FIDE is intended to put forward a suggestion to hold one of the Grand Prix tournaments in Nalchik. The series of these events is going to be introduced into the tournament regulations next year.

The President of Kalmykia praised the restored chess pavilions in the city park. He offered to set up special prizes for chess admirers who use to play chess there.

According to him, Nalchik will be included in the FIDE calendar. He himself being 14 year old boy became the Champion of Kalmykia.

His first important victory can be referred to the age of 5 when he became the winner of street championship, with the first prize of a pack of beer. He remembered: “Because of my young age I wasn’t given beer, I had to be contented with two bottles of lemonade and a biscuit”.

The President of FIDE said that it is 100 % – not 99% of schoolchildren that are involved in chess activity in Kalmykia. It has a positive effect on children’s discipline. He underlined that chess contributes to his work as a statesman. It usually helps him to figure out correct moves.

The KBR President Arsen Kanokov admitted his love for chess but however he referred to the lack of time to play a game of chess. He did it last time when he was a student. He remarked: “The game is really intellectual, it develops reasoning and thinking. But unfortunately I can’t afford myself playing chess when I have to settle so many important problems”.