Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Women's Chess 2015 - Mariya Muzychuk vs Natalia Pogonina

Women's Chess Championship in Sochi 2015 has reach its final round. Out of 64 women and girls, two has survive the knock out: Mariya Muzychuk and Natalia Pogonina. Before jumping to the pairings commentary, here is how they manage to survive the semifinals, which as usual, dramatic to the very last minutes.

Natalia Pogonina vs Pia Cramling 2.5-1.5, Semifinal 
Let first went into Pia Cramling vs Natalia Pogonina stories. The highlight is Natalia once again  crowned herself as the "Come Back Queen". This is her third time winning a "must win game" when she lost the first game against Pia. This time Natalija got white in the second semifinal classic games and Pia went into some strange Sicilian line to defend her lead. Pia failed and thus Natalia cheer the fans by third time saving herself from being eliminated.

In the rapid tie break games between Natalia and Pia, the first one done without much drama. The second one it is. Once again, Pia choose her double edge Sicilian defence and soon Natalia found her way to exploit it also. In completely winning endgame, Natalia should able to finish the game quicker, yet her exposed king is hardly can avoid abused from Pia's pieces. The game need to undergo 118 moves before its finish. Natalia went to the World Championship final by three times came back from losses. Thus also ended Pia Cramling great tournament, she defeated Valentina Gunina and Anna Muzychuk. Noted that Pia Cramling was probably in her thirties when she "must" witness the rise of Judit Polgar and her sisters in the '90s.

position after 13..Nd7, that eventually lead to..

completely winning endgame for Natalia, yet the exposed king provide enough playground for Pia Cramling's bishop and rook to abused it up to 118 moves

haha .... I'm in the semi finals... Pia Cramling happily resign her success story in Sochi 2015

Natalia Pogonina vs Pia Cramling 1-0, WCC Sochi 2015, Round 5.4


Mariya Muzychuk vs Harika Dronavalli

Mariya and Harika draw her two classical games, thus the tie break become their girly meeting last night. The first rapid went successfully for Mariya. Who when came to tactical battle, she is on top of Harika most of time.

the first rapid game Harika vs Mariya in Reti meet Dutch opening, 1.Nf3 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.b3 g6 4.Bb2 Bg7 5.Bg2 O-O 6.O-O, later ended up with this position ...

and Mariya manage to converted her tactical idea into full point, 0-1 as Harika resigned here

Harika in her Yoga chess stance ... still not enough to push her luck 
Photos: Anastasia Karlovich (sochi2015.fide.com)

In the second rapid game, Mariya was able to throw some nice tactic to busted Harika's Modern defence. Yet in crucial moment, Mariya didn't find the best continuation and allow Harika back in the game, press and win the second rapid.

black to move and can get a huge advantage by 38..Bxg2! 39.Nxg2 Qe2! , yet Harika did not find it in minutes time, the game still prolonged many moves before Harika able to won this position

Thus Mariya and Harika continued to the 2x10 minutes semi-blitz rounds. Here some of the most dramatic moment in WCC Sochi happened. In the first 10 minutes game, Mariya played the Dutch defence and able to equalize most of the time. She then try to made thing not equal by voluntarily gives up the h pawn in this position...

Black can choose to made everything dry by simple 44..Qf7, yet Mariya played 44..Kh6 which lead to losing h pawn in four moves 

then when Harika got completely winning endgame, Harika goes haywire in this position...

white just blunder by 83.Qe3?? .... black hold the position afterward easily. Mariya said "..is this really my happy day?"

Harika Dronavalli vs Mariya Muzychuk 1/2-1/2, WCC Sochi 2015 Round 5.5



The last 10 minutes game was won by Mariya, who overcame the game pretty easily. Harika use classic Philidor Defence but this opening is too pasive for her, letting Mariya once again punched in her tactical prowess and win the game. This is anticlimax for Harika, who done extremely good in the tournament. Mariya Muzychuk then go to final to challenge Natalia Pogonina in Ukraine vs Russia war.

white get big advantage with extra pawns and they are passed pawns 

the "tip-shake" to ended Harika's journey and advance Mariya to WCC final for her first time

Mariya Muzychuk vs Harika Dronavalli 1-0, WCC Sochi 2015 Round 5.6


FIDE World Women's Chess Championship 2015 Sochi - Final Pairing

WCC Sochi Finals!  Mariya Muzychuk vs Natalia "I'll be Back" Pogonina

Mariya Muzychuk played strong tactical games through out the tournament. She only lost the very first games against Yuan Yuanling and against Koneru Humpy. Her has problem in time trouble tough. If she won the world champion, she will meet Hou Yifan. Mariya is only one year older than Hou. Mariya is seeded 8th in the tournament and currently rank 12 in female chess player. This maybe the best time to give the younger Muzychuk to reach world level.
Mariya's previous opponents:
Round 1: Yuan Yuanling
Round 2: Monica Socko
Round 3: Antoaneta Stefanova
Round 4: Koneru Humpy
Round 5: Harika Dronavalli

Natalia Pogonina on the other side, struggling to reach her final. She got three losses to fight back. Yet she did. Natalia on 31st seed in the tournament, currently rank 40th in female chess player. Her best rating is 2508 just happened in July 2014.  If Natalia really to challenge Hou Yifan, I think the popularity of the match will be very high.
Natalia's previous opponents:
Round 1: Guo Qi
Round 2: Ju Wenjun
Round 3: Marie Sebag
Round 4: Zhao Xue
Round 5: Pia Cramling

In term of Mariya vs Natalija, both seem like to play tactical game, so expected to see (more) bloody rounds. They only got one draw games in chessgames.com, but should already played many times. Let's see how the match going on in April 2nd, 2015.

As we know, the winner of this FIDE Knock Out Championship will declared as Women World Chess Champion. Winner will played the future match against (now ex-) world champion Hou Yifan.
Eventually, popular opinions (and fact) see that both Mariya and Natalia will go only into one sided match against Hou Yifan.

All photos from official website

UPDATE : FINAL ROUND RESULTS

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Women's Chess Championship Semi Final - Sochi 2015

The Big Four has been decided for Women's Chess Championship Sochi 2015. Before the tournament I guess nobody predicted to see all these four players in the semifinals. None of the tournament top four seeds have survived. Koneru Humpy must once again buried her ambition to challenge Hou Yifan because she was eliminated by Mariya Muzychuk. In round 4 game 1, a Scotch game, well you will see many non mainstream opening in this WCC. Koneru experienced a black out in the position...25.f6?? She lost the first game and her 6-0 winning streak, very much Caruana's curse. Then Koneru win back the 2nd game and proceed to tie break. In the tie break, Mariya upset the tournament by knock out Koneru in the 2nd rapid game.

Mariya Muzychuk vs Koneru Humpy 1-0, WCC Sochi 2015 Round 4.1




tie break rapid game, Zhao Xue vs Natalija Pogonina 0-1 in Benko Gambit


Benko Gambit for girls, four Benko Gambit appearances in Sochi 2015

The second successful story is again by Natalia Pogonina. She was once again behind the train with the first game lost to Zhao Xue. But then the Benko Gambit came in to rescue. Natalia won the second game via Benko Gambit that accepted but too passive for Zhao Xue to played as white. In the rapid game, Natalia repeated the Benko and won the first rapid, draw the second. Thus Natalia Pogonina also heroically in the semi final for the good Mother Russia cause. Well, talking about Benko Gambit, Viktorija Cmilyte also used this , twice against Meri Arabidze but her games are only draw.

Harika, concentrated on her rook endgame favorite

Meri Arabize herself found no more luck against the super luck Harika Dronavalli. Harika once again show her rook ending power to win the match 1.5-0.5. Noted the opening for the second game in round 4 is Torre Attack, which utilized to achieve the double rook ending very quick by Harika.


Apple Pia .... source of success

Then Pia Cramling made the story of the day by eliminated Anna Muzychuk. Both played the most games in the quarterfinal. Pia Cramling won the first rapid games in black, to be returned by Anna in second rapid game. In the semi-blitz game, Anna defended the black side by repeting the Benoni she once played in game 1 against Pia Cramling. This time it is very difficult to see why the position slowly turned into white benefit. Pia Cramling wins the  third tie break game. The last tie break game was also very tense. It is a Sicilian Kan that favorite by Pia Cramling. Pia get the nice position after Anna's 14..e5? Position became risky for white. But then in the end Pia Cramling not found the best move and happy with the draw result.

Anna Muzychuk vs Pia Cramling 1/2-1/2, WCC Sochi 2015 Round 4.6


Women's Chess Championship Semi Final Pairings - Sochi 2015

IM Mariya Muzychuk (2526 Ukraine) vs GM Harika Dronavalli (2492 India)
Harika's success so far can be said upon two things, her opening is solid and her endgame seems hold on enough. Suddenly Harika is a fearsome opponent when came to tense fight also. She is on her second semi finals as in the 2012 she got eliminated by Antoneata Stefanova. Mariya Muzychuk herself continued to be stronger and stronger in the field. Eliminating Koneru is quite a big task and her morale is high. Her big sister may help as well. On their both encounter, Mariya vs Harika, Harika is on +1 after about 10 games in chessgames.com Mariya now hold the strongest elo among the semi finalist. This is pairing will show the battle of Mariya the Tactical vs Harika the positional.

GM Pia Cramling (2495 Sweden) vs WGM Natalia Pogonina (2456 Russia)
Not many fans expected Pia Cramling to able to get to semifinals. She demonstrated that her experiences and stamina still very strong. Same thing can be said to Natalia Pogonina, although her story  looks stronger. Natalia both coming back from losses in round 3 and round 4. Remember she is the one eliminating Ju Wenjun in the other day. Her Benko Gambit is probably can't work smoothly against experience Pia Cramling. Interestingly they are both very equal on four meetings. Looks like exciting fight of contrasting player we have here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Medina Warda Aulia Simuls vs 650 online players in Indonesia

One truly unique chess simultan held in Indonesia. WGM Medina Warda Aulia is to played 650 (or so) online chess players via Android application. The simultan is supported and sponsored by one of country telecommunication provider INDOSAT. The eligible participant should be student and must paid the entry fee of IDR 12,000 (almost USD 1 at the moment). The simultan started kick off this morning, March 28th 2015 and predicted can be run for 10 hours if needed. This event also set up to break chess record on Indonesian national record and Guiness book of records, for largest online simultan maybe?

Winners of online simultan will be transported to Jakarta for offline chess match against Medina. There are also 10 prizes for winners. The grand prize is one Toyota Car, this may also set as the highest chess simultan prize ever!!  The simultan also being live stream NOW:

Live streaming www.indosat.com/jagocatur

UPDATED:
Rekor Dunia dan Rekor Indonesia untuk Medina Warda Aulia
"Catur Simultan Online Nonstop dengan Lawan Terbanyak"
Medina received the record certificate for 
"Nonstop Online Chess Simultan against Largest Opponents"
photo from Facebook


screenshots and event flyer:

Medina Warda Aulia memberikan simul kepada 650 pecatur online

Event pamphlet , noted the prizes are quite amazing in Indonesia, One unit of Toyota car and IDR 25 millions or about USD 2000  for 1st winner

Do I see a scholar mate...oops.

Livestream at Youtube

You can download the application via Android device under the name "JAGO CATUR".

tampilan aplikasi JAGO CATUR

Android Application can be found at Google Play Services (must up to dated in order to play)

Heboh acara simultan catur Medina vs 650 pecatur online sedang berlangsung sekarang. Bagi yang belum mengetahui even ini, berikut deskripsi resminya;
Indosat Grand Master Chess Match
Berani pecahkan rekor dunia? Download & daftar di apps JagoCatur!
Cara mengikuti kompetisi:
1. Masuk ke Google Play Store dan Search apps “Jago Catur”
2. Download dan Install aplikasi tersebut di android kesayanganmu.
3. Minimal OS Android yang dapat menginstall aplikasi ini adalah OS Android Kit Kat 4.0
4. Buka aplikasi dan isi form registrasi didalamnya, masukkan nama, no telp, dan nomor identitas (No Pelajar dan No Mahasiswa)
5. Setelah selesai proses registrasi, daftar terlebih dahulu dengan click pilihan paling atas; “Medina Vs 650 Pecatur”
6. Pendaftaran dikenakan biaya Rp 12.000
7. Setelah terdaftar tunggu pertandingannya
8. Pertandingan Catur Online terbesar ini akan dimulai pada tanggal 28 Maret 2015 pukul 09.00 WIB
9. Pastikan saat itu kamu masuk kembali ke aplikasi “JagoCatur” dan meng-click lagi pilihan paling atas; “Medina Vs 650 Pecatur”
10. Selamat mengalahkan Women Grand Master Medina
Ketentuan Kompetisi:
1. Peserta merupakan pelanggan Pra bayar dan Paska bayar Indosat
2. Peserta bukan merupakan Master/ Grand Master Catur
3. Peserta harus bermain untuk dirinya sendiri dan tidak dapat diwakilkan
a. Peserta harus jalan maksimal 10 detik setelah langkah WGM Medina, jika lebih dari 10 detik akan dianggap kalah oleh system
b. Lama keseluruhan pertandingan diperkirakan akan memakan waktu lebih 10 jam, peserta harus selalu siap dalam kurun waktu tersebut
4. Pertandingan dilakukan dalam dua tahap:
a. Pertandingan Online
Dilaksanakan pada tanggal 28 Maret 2015 pukul 09.00 WIB, bertempat dimanapun peserta berada. (pastikan kamu berada di dalam jangkauan wifi / jaringan kuat Indosat)
b. Pertandingan Grand Final (offline)
Dilaksanakan pada tanggal 30 Maret 2015 pukul 15.00 WIB, bertempat di Kantor Pusat Indosat, Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat no.21 Jakarta
5. Bagi para peserta yang terpilih sebagai finalis, akomodasi dan transportasi untuk pertandingan Grand Final (offline) akan ditanggung oleh panitia
6. Umur Finalis maksimum 22 tahun
7. Apabila ada peserta/finalis yang tidak sesuai dengan ketentuan kompetisi ini maka akan dinyatakan gugur
Hadiah Kompetisi Snap a Picture for Another Adventure:
1 Grand Prize
1 Unit Mobil Toyota Agya
(Bagi finalis yg berhasil mengalahkan WGM Medina di sesi Grand Final)
• Juara 1 Rp. 25 Juta,-
• Juara 2 Rp. 20 Juta,-
• Juara 3 Rp. 10 Juta,-
• Juara 4-10 @Rp. 5juta

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Women's World Championship Sochi 2015 Quarter Final Pairings

Eight players will continue their fight for Women's World Chess Championship in Sochi 2015. They are the ones that survive the drama of round 3, which some stories can be told here.

The most dramatic are, in round 3 all four remaining Russian girls are losing their first game. Kosteniuk misplayed a long battle of French defence game against Harika Dronavalli, get trouble with passed pawn then lost. Alexandra "Sasha" Kosteniuk then fight back in epic style on game 2, she won and happily continued to tie break session. In both rapid tie break games, Kosteniuk actually in control, but strange things happen in rapid one when Kosteniuk carelessly choose 35..Ra3? which allow Harika to win a pawn and win the game.

in almost equal position, Alexandra played 35..Ra3?, losing the A pawn due to 36.Ra5!

Harika Dronavalli vs Alexandra Kosteniuk 1-0, WCC Sochi 2015 Round 3.3 (Rapid)


In rapid 2, Kosteniuk played in must win situation, creating complication and ended up in a pawn plus against Harika. Nevertheless, the extra pawn also create the famous Phillidor rook endgame situation. Harika hold it and go through the next quarterfinal round.

61.Ke5 will be winning, but Sasha choose 61.Re6+ , the game continue with Phillidor rook endgame type position and draw

Alexandra Kosteniuk vs Harika Dronavalli 1/2-1/2, WCC Sochi 2015 Round 3.4 (Rapid)

On the second came back is Natalia Pogonina. She lost the first game on round 3 against Marie Sebag. But her story was more happier than Sasha. Natalia manage to equalized and in the tie break completely overplayed Marie Sebag.

Two other Russian girls didn't survive. Alisa Galliamova must be the sacrificial lamb for the sake of seeing Koneru Humpy get her 6-0 score in the tournament. In another happy mother's day story, Pia Cramling wrapped the young Valentina Gunina and Pia advance to quarterfinals. Meri Arabidze is the last Georgian in the field, Meri overcome Viktorija Cmilyte in tie break and advance. Both Muzychuk sisters also survived. And the last one is Zhao Xue, who defeated Bela Kotenashvili and advance.

photo from Official website

Women's World Championship Sochi 2015 Quarter Final Pairings

Koneru Humpy (2581 India) vs Mariya Muzychuk (2526 Ukraine)
The score is not good for Mariya as their encounter always largely a win for Koneru. On the other hand, Koneru Humpy is on the way "can you do Caruana?"path with 6-0 score. As for Mariya, she got a bumpy tournament, notably when lost to Yuan Yuanling in very first game. Mariya's last championship only advance to 3rd round, so this is her best result so far. Can Mariya stopped Koneru, or at least stop the winning streak? In fact, this is the strongest pairing with both player in 2500 rating strength.

Harika Dronavalli (2492 India) vs Meri Arabidze (2374 Georgia)
The same question to Meri Arabidze, can she also stop Harika, who doing extremely good combined with enough luck spell. Harika so far defeated Tatev Abrahamyan, Irina Krush and Alexandra Kosteniuk. One more fact that hardly everyone remember, Harika is always in the quarterfinals since the last two championships. In 2010 she lost to Ruan Lufei in quarter, in 2012 she lost to Antoaneta Stefanova in semifinal! On the other side, Meri Arabidze also having her first and superb tournament, she eliminated Elizabeth Paehtz, Yaniet Morrero Lopez and Viktorija Cmilyte. It's look like this is their only first serious encounter. Meri admit she likes rapid games to classical, so expect to see the round prolonged to tie breaks. Rating wise, this is quite one sided pairing.

Natalia Pogonina (2456 Russia) vs Zhao Xue (2527 China)
Seems like both have playing each other for long time. Zhao Xue got a slightly better score on the database. Natalia comeback from her lost against Marie Sebag while Zhao Xue quite smooth in her path. If you remember well, Zhao Xue is one of female chess player that been in top 10-20 for so long. A big fight to decide whether the Russian or the Chinese that worth for a semifinal slot.

Anna Muzychuk (2552 Ukraine) vs Pia Cramling (2495 Sweden)
They have many games played between the two. The stronger Anna got a slightly better score. The third seed on the tournament against the most senior remaining participant, Pia out-senior Anna by 26 years. How can you stop somebody who has more than 40 years of chess experiences?

UPDATED:
SOCHI 2015 WCC FINALS
SOCHI 2015 WCC SEMI FINALIST

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Women's World Championship Sochi 2015 Round 3 Pairings

Women's World Championship 2015 in Sochi has reached sweet 16 phase. Round 3 will start tonight with remaining 16 players that passed through the round 2 battle. There are drama as always in round 2 and its tie break session. The best games so far are Alexandra Kosteniuk's 23..Nc5!! breakthrough against Shen Yang as mentioned in many mainstream chess media.

Shen Yang vs Alexandra Kosteniuk


I particularly also impressed with Natalia Pogonina's win against 2nd seed Ju Wenjun. The games went into endgame that required winning moves to be played. Natalia Pogonina found them all, not always Stockfish's first choice, but it's winning moves. The thing is, Ju Wenjun also played resiliently and played the best defensive moves. Ju Wenjun actually has many tricks in defending the position, including checkmate trick. Natalia Pogonina saw them all and win this game.

Natalia Pogonina vs Ju Wenjun 1-0, Sochi WCC 2015

In the round 2 tie break session, the drama was when Anna Ushenina failed to show up to played against Marie Sebag. The reason is Anna's handphone got switch off and when restart, the time in the handphone show another time zone, one hour behind from Sochi time zone. Quite amusing to think when nowday smartphone is smart enough to automatically adjusting time zone according to where its activated. More interestingly, Anna has a wrist watch actually.....



Of hard fought round 2 tie break are Harika Drovanalli vs Irina Krush. In the first rapid tie break, Irina playing white side and quickly went down after the opening. In fact, Irina seems don't have any concrete opening against Harika in all her games. In drama start when in a position where Irina completely lost, both playing in only 20 seconds left, and both seemingly missed and found any check mated that can occured. In the end, the position is just too losing for Irina and she lost. In the second rapid Harika finally got into trouble but Irina just can't find the killing moves.

Irina Krush vs Harika Dronavalli 0-1, Sochi WCC 2015


The longest game to finished in the tie break is Huang Qian vs Bela Khotenashvili. Both trade peace offer for seven games, until finally Bela won the first blitz games and going through round 3.

Thus the pairings for Women's World Chess Championship 2015 are:

Koneru Humpy (2581 India) – Alisa Galliamova (2484 Russia) 
After playing two low seed players in each round Koneru will met her first experience strong opponent. Alisa Galliamova is in good form, defeating Christiana Lujan and Tatiana Kosintseva. In both encounter record, Koneru beat Alisa twice.

Marie Sebag (2482 France) – Natalia Pogonina (2456 Russia)
Natalia eliminated Ju Wenjun who is the second strongest player in the field. While Marie Sebag kind of get lottery when Anna Ushenina give away the first tie break game without fight. In their previous record, Marie Sebag is winning against Natalia.

Anna Muzychuk (2552 Ukraine) – Lela Javakhishvili (2481 Georgia)
looks like they haven't played each other before, but the sister, Mariya got outplayed many times. perhaps Mariya should share some knowledge to Anna.

Meri Arabidze (2374 Georgia) – Viktorija Cmilyte (2530 Lithuania)
no record found between the two. Viktorija is on the upper hand based on rating and experiences.

Alexandra Kosteniuk (2529 Russia) – Harika Dronavalli (2492 India)
They played many times with Kosteniuk still holding the winning side. Pretty interesting fight here. Both in good form.

Pia Cramling (2495 Sweden) – Valentina Gunina (2528 Russia)
Pia get a nasty bad record against the young Valentina. Four defeated and one draw only, on their encounter. Valentina surely on favorite side. Valentina is one of four Russian girls that still around in round 3.

Zhao Xue (2527 China) – Bela Khotenashvili (2513 Georgia)
Seven games in chessgames.com and the score is equal. Zhao Xue is the only remained China player in round 3. She should get help from her many colleagues (if they still in Sochi). On other hand, Bela is one of three Georgian player that still around.

Antoneata Stefanova (2522 Bulgaria) – Mariya Muzychuk (2526 Ukraine)
They played many times and the score seems equal. Antoneata is one the experience side even though both are pretty equal in rating wise also.

Official website is here with lots of photos. There is also lots of player interviews and many good reading on the official website. This is good when mainstream chess media (chessbase, chess24.com, chess.com etc.) all seemingly too late in reporting, some up to more than 2x24 late.

Le Quang Liem Wins HDBank Chess Open 2015

Le Quang Liem has double his success on this month's tournament by winning yet again HDBank Cup Chess Open tournament 2015. This is after he successfully dominate the Asian Zone 3.3 tournament that happened right before this event.

HDBank Chess Open was joined by many grandmaster, top seed is GM Li Chao followed by Le Quang Liem, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, Aleksandr Rakhmanov, Zhang Zhong and many others such as Eugenio Torre. After nine rounds, Le Quang Liem is the sole winner with 7.5/9. 2nd place is Zhang Zhong from Singapore with 7/9. Li Chao only finished third, because of his two last round losses.

HDBank Chess 2015 - Final Standings
1 Le Quang Liem 7.5
2 Zhang Zhong 7
3 Li Chao 6.5
4 Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 6.5
5 Pascua Haridas 6.5
6 Gomez John Paul 6.5
7 Nguyen Duc Hoa 6
8 Torre Eugenio 6
9 Le Kieu Thien Kim 6
10 Dao Thien Hai  5.5


HDBank Cup International Open Chess Touranment 2015 - winners Le Quang Liem, Zhang Zhong and Li Chao - Vietnam - Gallery of Photos from official website


Turnament catur terbuka di Vietnam yaitu HDBank Open Chess Tournament 2015 berlangsung tepat setelah turnamen Asian Zone 3.3 selesai. Beberapa pecatur yang mengikuti zone 3.3 ini juga melanjutkan main caturnya di turnamen ini. Unggulan teratas sekarang adalah pecatur top dari China, GM Li Chao. Disusul Le Quang Liem yang barusan memenangkan Asian Zone 3.3 tersebut. Hasil dari turnamen ini seteleah 9 babak adalah dimenangkan oleh Le Quang Liem, lagi. Lihat urutan ranking final standings di atas.

Di turnamen ini pecatur Indonesia FM Pitra Andika juga turun. Pitra memulai turnamen dengan hasil lumayan kuat, menang 3 kali di 3 ronde awal. Baru setelah bertemu grandmaster seperti Li Chao dan Eugenio Torre, Pitra kehabisan akal dan musti menyerah. Hasil akhir Pitra Andika adalah 5/9 dan berada di papan tengah final standings. Berikut salah satu partai catur kemenangan Pitra Andika di turnamen HDBank 2015 di Vietnam ini.

IM Viacheslav Diu vs FM Pitra Andika, 0-1 HDBank 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Woman's World Championship Sochi 2015 Round 2 Pairings - Irine Sukandar Tersingkir

(bahasa Indonesia di bawah)
In tie break rounds, our Indonesian player, Irine Kharisma Sukandar repeated the same variation on both games, pretty similar to what they've played in previous classical games. Only that this time, in both games Irine was simply outplayed in the last part of the game. Notably on the second rapid game, Irine can't avoid Salome's play that keep exchanging pieces out of the opening, she push too hard in must win situation and lost.

On the dramatic moments, Tatiana Kosintseva pushed to played in Armageddon round by Mary Ann Gomes. Tatiana even got lost position in the final moment but Mary Ann lost on time. Same thing happened in Alexandra Goryachkina vs Lilit Mkrtchian, both through the Armageddon phase and  Alexandra won it. Four lower seeds eliminated their stronger counterpart, notably, Yaniek Marrero Lopez from Cuba (knocked out Elina Danielian), Inna Gaponenko (k.o.-ed Natalia Zhukova), Meri Arabidze (k.o-ed Elizabeth Paehtz), and Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (eliminated Hoang Thanh Trang).

The pairings for round 2 are:

Koneru Humpy (2581 India) vs Lei Tingjie (2444 China)
Battle of strongest seed against the new black horse from China. Lei Tingjie won convincingly against Desy Cori in first round. Noted that Lei Tingjie is the winner one of Moscow Open groups in this January.

Alisa Galliamova 2484  – Tatiana Kosintseva 2483 (both Russia)
Both coming from tie break yesterday, Tatiana her equal opponent now.

Mariya Muzychuk (2526 Ukraine) – Monika Socko (2463 Poland)
Mariya get a highlight when lost to lower rated Yuan Yuanling, but then proved that's only a small incident. She will meet more experience opponent, Monika Socko.

Antoneata Stefanova (2522 Bulgaria) – Inna Gaponenko (2384 Ukraine), 
Still, Antoneata is hundred points stronger than Inna Gaponenko. According to databse, Stefanova is having crushing winning records against Inna.

Viktorija Cmilyte (2530 Lithuania) – Ekaterina Kovalevskaya (2438 Russia), 


Yaniet Marrero Lopez (2316 Cuba) – Meri Arabidze (2374 Georgia), 
Both are the winning against their previous stronger opponents.

Alexandra Kosteniuk (2529 Russia) – Shen Yang (2459 China), 
They played three games, 2-1 in favor to Shen Yang.

Harika Dronavalli (2492 India) – Irina Krush (2477 USA), 
Irina Krush may wanted to take revenge on her country compatriot, Tatev Abrahamyan, who got eliminated by Harika Dronavalli.

Jun Wenjun (2557 China) – Natalia Pogonina (2456 Russia), 
Most interesting pairing. Ju Wenjun as second seed against Natalia Pogonina. Found five games from chessgames.com, with equal 2.5-2.5.

Anna Ushenina (2486 Ukraine) – Marie Sebag (2482 France), 

Zhao Xue (2527 China) – Melia Salome (2459 Georgia), 
Melia Salome eliminated Irine Kharisma Sukandar in the tie break, destroying hope of millions Indonesia fans. She deserved the victory and need to face even stronger opponent, Zhao Xue.

Bela Khotenashvili (2513 Georgia) – Huang Qian (2473 China), 

Anna Muzychuk (2552 Ukraine) – Aleksandra Goryachkina (2456 Russia), 

Tan Zhongyi (2487 China) – Lela Javakhishvili (2481 Georgia), 

Valentina Gunina 2528 – Olga Girya 2459 (both Russia), 

Pia Cramling 2495 (Sweden) – Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant 2379 (Scotland). 


Lilith Mkrtchian vs Alexandra Goryachkina sochi 2015 tie break goes to Armageddon round

Salome Melia vs Irine Kharisma Sukandar rapid games 1, 1-0

Irine Kharisma Sukandar tersingkir di babak pertama Sochi 2015

Shen Yang eliminated Alina Kashlinskaya

most dramatic moment from round 1, Tatiana Kosintseva chose the color for Armageddon round against Mary Ann Gomes

Irine Kharisma Sukandar Tersingkir Melalui Babak Play Off
Setelah melalui dua babak catur klasik di kejuaraan catur wanita dunia Sochi 2015 melawan Salome Melia, Irine Kharisma Sukandar akhirnya kandas di babak play off. Memainkan dua partai catur cepat melawan Salome dari Georgia, keduanya mengulang pembukaan Ruy Lopez dan Caro Kann yang sudah mereka mainkan di babak sebelumnya. Namun ternyata Salome Melia memiliki kontrol yang lebih baik dan akhirnya memenangkan kedua partai catur kilat ini. Di game ke-3 (rapid 1), Melia berhasil perlahan-lahan membuat bangunan yang lebih baik dari Irine, setelah Irine memilih 13.. Nc6 ketimbang 13...Rd8 seperti partai sebelumnya. Walaupun banyak ketidak akurasian antar kedua pemain, tapi di kondisi catur kilat ini Salome lebih banyak membuat langkah tepat. Salome pun menang di langkah ke-55 setelah men-skak mat Irine yang terus bertahan.

Di partai catur cepat / rapid ke-2, Irine tidak bisa menahan permainan Salome yang terus berhasil menukar-tukar perwira di pembukaan Caro Kann. Tambah lagi kondisi harus menang yang diembang Irine membuat dia harus mencari komplikasi agar permainan tidak senyap sampai draw. Irine akhirnya musti menyerah setelah kehabisa bidak di endgame. Walau kalah di partai play off, Irine bisa terhibur karena memetik sedikit elo rating melalui dua drawnya.

Partai Catur Irine K. Sukandar vs Salome Melia di Women's World Chess Championship 2015



lihat juga :
ROUND 1 GAME 1: Irine K. Sukandar vs Melia Salome 1/2-1/2, Sochi 2015
ROUND 1 - GAME 2: Melia Salome vs Irine K. Sukandar 1/2-1/2 - C99 Ruy Lopez Closed

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Irine Sukandar Kembali Tahan Draw Melia Salome - Game 2 Round 1 WCC Sochi 2015

Pagelaran Kejuaraan Catur Wanita Dunia di Sochi memasuki partai ke-2 dari ronde 1. Duel wakil Indonesia melalui Irine Sukandar melawan Melia Salome dari Georgia kembali berlangsung. Di partai kedua ini kedua pemain bermain lebih keras dan panjang lebar sampai 95 langkah. Di partai ini, Irine memegang buah hitam dan bermain di pembelaan Spanyol / Ruy Lopez variant Chigorin. Melia Salome lebih memilih membuat permainan tetap tenang dan positional dengan menolak beberapa provokasi dari Irine. Setelah masuk ke ending di mana hitam (Irine) punya gajah kembar melawan gajah+kuda, kedua pemain tidak bisa mencari langkah akurat di fase babak ending ini. Hasil remis pun disepakati. Dengan demikian, Irine harus main di hari ke-3 tie break, di mana catur cepat dimainkan untuk menentukan pemenang. Kalau masih draw dilanjut catur kilat, bahkan catur Armageddon kalau dibutuhkan.
Kejuaraan Catur  Wanita Dunia 2015 ini berlangsung di Sochi. Woman's World Chess Championship, bekennya, bertujuan mencari juara dunia catur tahun ini, namun siap ditantang Hou Yifan di akhir tahun. Unggulan teratas, Koneru Humpy sudah lolos ke babak ke-2. Dia akan berhadapan dengan pecatur muda dari China, Lei Tingjie. Demikian juga Ju Wenjun akan bertemu Natalia Pogonina di babak ke-2.

finally, a close up photo for Irine, game 2 round 1, Sochi WCC 2015
Both Irine and Melia Salome will need to go tie break, because tonight's game is a draw


Berikut partai Irine vs Melia Salome 1/2-1/2, game 2 round 1 Sochi 2015
C99 Ruy Lopez Closed Chigorin



lihat juga :
GAME 1 ROUND 1: Irine K. Sukandar vs Melia Salome 1/2-1/2, Sochi 2015
PLAY OFF ROUND 1 - : Irine Tersingkir

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Irine Tahan Draw Melia Salome - Kejuaraan Dunia Sochi 2015 Game 1 Round 1

(bahasa Indonesia di bawah)
FIDE Woman's World Championship 2015 of Chess has started in Sochi. The first game of round 1 saw most of top seeds have little difficulty against their lower seeded opponents. First seed, Koneru Humpy gave her opponent an opening lesson because of daring 1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nf6 3. cxd5 Qxd5?! ... dan Humpy won as white in 31 moves against Ayah Mootaz. Ju Wenjun in 2nd seed give a good Sicilian lesson also, against Closed Grand Prix attack by Shrook Wafa. The upset has to be on Mariya Muzichuk lost, in a complicated Caro-Kann middle game, Mariya blunder a tactic and gives the Canadian Yuan Yuanling a good puzzle test, which she answered correctly.  Other big sisters such as Alexandra Kosteniuk also having easy time against Oceanian IM Irina Berezina. Three of last ended game are Irina Krush vs Sophie Millet, in a not so Lucena Position endgame, which Irina Krush played instructively and win. Tatiana Kosintseva vs Mary Ann Gomes, a queen endgame and draw. The last game, Marie Sebag defeated Wang Jue in 2 rooks vs bishop+knight+2 pawns endgame, 0-1.

Our Indonesian IM Irine K. Sukandar held higher rated Melia Salome in an adrenaline pumping Caro-Kann, see the games below. Irine played the Flohr variation, her "teacher" GM Sergei Tiviakov's pet line. The tension arise among Indonesia online patzers, when Melia Salome's provocative 13...a5 was answered by challenging 14.O-O-O by Irine. The rest of middlegame has been around black's Nxa2+ theme, which can create many complicated lines. Melia Salome as black, choose to played solid and safe, the game drew in 24 moves.

photo source from Chessdom's Facebook page - by Goran Urosevic

Partai Irine Sukandar vs Melia Salome, berakhir draw di game 1, round 1

Official Live video, Woman's World Chess Championship


Kejuaraan Dunia Catur Wanita 2015 di Sochi telah dimulai. Perhatian dunia tertuju pada kota di Rusia ini. Kejuaraan ini akan menghasilkan pecatur dengan gelar Juara Dunia Wanita Catur, dan tentu diikuti dengan serius oleh pecatur-pecatur wanita dunia. Di game 1, ronde 1 ini, dua pecatur unggulan, Koneru Humpy dan Ju Wenjun menang mudah melawan pecatur papan terbawah. Namun kejutan tak kepalang dialami pecatur Mariya Muzichuk yang gagal melihat taktik-taktik ketat di partai Caro-Kann, akhirnya salah langkah dan digebuk pecatur Kanada keturunan China, Yuan Yuanling.

Namun, tentu perhatian insan catur Indonesia ada di partai panas, IM Irine Kharisma Sukandar melawan IM Melia Salome dari Georgia. Di partai ini, Irine menghadapi pembelaan Caro-Kann, yang langsung dijawab dengan variasi Classical, Flohr , yang pasti adalah ajaran trainernya GM Sergei Tiviakov. Setelah itu partai baru mulai panas waktu Melia membuat langkah 13...a5, mencoba mengkail air keruh di sayap menteri Irine. Lebih tegang lagi, Irine justru menjawab dengan rokade panjang, dan membiarkan seakan-akan ekspos bidak a-nya. Sepanjang permainan tengah berikutnya adalah berkisar bagaimana kalau hitam mengambil bidak a tersebut dengan Nxa2. Sangat banyak variasi line yang dicapai, ada yang menurut komputer ternyata tidak berhasil, namun di langkah 22.Bd2, Stockfish dari chessbomb melihat tangkapan 22..Nxa2+ cukup berbahaya sekarang. Namun dengan sisa waktu yang tinggal beberapa menit, nampaknya Melia menghindari masuk ke "persiapan" Irine, dan memilih langkah solid. Irine pun memberikan repetisi langkah dan akhirnya game 1 ini berakhir remis alias draw.

Mari kita saksikan partai catur Irine K. Sukandar vs Melia Salome ini, dengan komentar ringan hasil pantauan pribadi dan bantuan Stockfish.

Kedudukan sementara : Irine K. Sukandar - Melia Salome 1/2-1/2.

Irine K. Sukandar vs Melia Salome, 1/2-1/2, Sochi 2015 Woman's World Championship
B18 - Caro Kann, Classical, Flohr variation



Nonton siaran langsung catur / live chess partai Irine K. Sukandar vs Melia Salome bisa dilihat di:

Lihat ROUND 1 - GAME 2: Melia Salome vs Irine K. Sukandar 1/2-1/2 - C99 Ruy Lopez Closed
ROUND 1 - PLAY OFF  : Irine Tersingkir

http://sochi2015.fide.com/en/schedule/133-live-games 
http://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2015-wwcc

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Le Quang Liem Wins Asian Zone 3.3 Chess 2015

Le Quang Liem confidently wins this event with 7.5/9 points. His close competitors followed by half point behind, those are Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son and Zhang Zhong. They are also the first, second and third seeds for FIDE Zone 3.3 Chess Championship, meaning the power horse for this zone is actually already sealed upon these big names. The last round saw Le Quang Liem being pushed into 96 moves by Oliver Barbosa. Le Quang Liem defending the black side of Queen's Gambit Declined, winning one extra pawn but the activity of white pieces is still enough to hold for a draw. Le Quang Liem is clearly cleansing this field, see last round report.

Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son is not worry to employ the French defence against senior Eugenio Torre. Truong Son won this game after 57 moves. The third place were decided when Zhang Zhong also seemingly quite smooth getting out from his Queen's Gambit Declined with advantage. Zhang Zhong finished the game with full point over Dao Thien Hai.

With these results, Le Quang Liem and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son will be eligible for tickets to the next world championship, or world cup? Supposedly being in Baku. On the girls section, IM Pham Le Thao Nguyen claimed the ticket over her two strong competitor, IM Munguntuul Batkhuyag and Li Ruofan. Munguntuul only half point behind the leader and must wait for other opportunity.

FIDE Zone 3.3 Chess Championship 2015, Ho Chi Minh City, Final Standings:
1 Le Quang Liem 7.5
2 Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 7
3 Zhang Zhong 6.5
4 Barbosa Oliver 6
5 Cao Sang 6
more at chess-results

FIDE Zone 3.3 Chess Championship 2015, Ho Chi Minh City, Female Final Standings:
1 Pham Le Thao Nguyen 7.5
2 Munguntuul Batkhuyag 7
3 Pham Thi Thu Hien  5.5
4 Pham Bich Ngoc 5.5

5 Luong Phuong Hanh 5.5
more at chess-results

Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, photo from official website

Turnament kejuaraan catur FIDE zonal 3.3 akhirnya memang dimenangkan oleh grandmaster Le Quang Liem dari Vietnam. Di zone 3.3 yang memang hanya terdiri dari negara-negara ASEAN, selepas pindahnya Wesley So ke Amrik, jelas tinggal Le Quang Liem satu-satunya pecatur  yang  paling kuat di sini dengan rating 2676. Rekan seangkatannya Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son menjadi unggulan kedua dengan rating 2659 sekaligus pemenang kedua, disusul pecatur Singapore ex-China grandmaster Zhang Zhong di urutan ketiga. Semua sejalan dengan rating yang mereka kantongi, menandakan memang sulit ada kekuatan lain untuk menembus barikade pecatur handalan di zone ini. 

Di bagian puteri adalah International Master Nguyen Pham Le Thao yang berhasil menyelip dua pecatur unggulan di atasnya, yaitu pecatur Mongolia Munguntuul Batkhuyag dan Li Ruofan dari Singapore. Dari hasil ini, tiket menuju Piala Dunia Catur 2015 di Baku akan dipegang Le Quang Liem, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son dan Nguyen Pham Le Thao, Vietnam tampaknya berhasil menyapu habis jatah dari zone ini. Apakah kelak Indonesia ada harapan untuk menembus barikade pecatur-pecatur Vietnam?

Partai Catur GM Eugenio Torre vs GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 0-1, Ho Chi Minh 2015
French Defence, Pembelaan Prancis "Steinitz variation"


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Women's Chess Championship Sochi 2015 - Graphical Pairing Tree

The FIDE Women's World Chess Championship 2015 in Sochi is about to started. 64 selected female chess warriors are put in brackets, to be eliminated one by one per round. Yes, another knock out chess tournament is on the roll once again. Although the format believed as less likened by chess elites, but the excitement of knock out is good for chess fans. Koneru Humpy is the top seed, followed by Ju Wenjun, Anna Muzychuk, and Viktorija Cmilyte. The fours of them placed on separate "group", expected to only encounter each other in semifinals. However, of course things are not as easy on paper. Alexandra Kosteniuk, Natalia Pogonina, Stefanova, Ushenina, and many other players are there to spice thing up. Funnily enough, Hou Yifan, the current woman world champion is not playing. She will immediate forfeited the title by system. Amazingly enough, Hou Yifan is already secured her "challenger" position. So, this year's women chess championship is trivial, the challenger is the one who first decided. Hou will enjoy the sun of March in Hawaii (but still under the worry of Cyclone Pam as happened in Vanuatu), while FIDE going to organized who is going to be their champion in Sochi.

I've edit the existing pairing diagram bracket from official website:

2015 FIDE World Women's Chess Championship 2015 Pairing Diagram tree bracket
click to enlarge

UPDATED:
ROUND 1- GAME 1
ROUND 1- GAME 2
ROUND 1 - TIE BREAKS
ROUND 2 - REPORTS
ROUND 3 - REPORTS / Round 4 Pairings
ROUND 4 - REPORTS / Semi Final 5 Pairings
ROUND 5 - REPORTS / FINAL PAIRING
ROUND 6 - FINAL RESULTS

Some pairing commentaries and highlights;

India, Humpy Koneru 2581  vs Egypt, Ayah Moaataz  2022
There haven't any example of first round loss of first seed in all FIDE Knock out tournament, so Humpy Koneru will  likely not to be the first on this. In fact, Koneru is kind of missing from top chess circle for quite sometimes now. She will want to get this opportunity to secured her current status as one of worthy challenger to Hou Yifan-reign.

China, Lei Tingjie 2444 vs Peru, Deysi Cori 2444
Both rating at 2444. Equality is the guarantee of hard battle in this pairing. Cori Deysi career is bumpy to the road of elite group. She largely neglected in the European chess scenes. On other hand, Lei Tingjie is the latest China product of chess player and WGM. She played in Moscow Open 2015 and proved to be well prepared as she bring home the first trophy in Women's Cup group. Hard work for Cori Deysi.
 
Russia, Alisa Galliamova 2484 vs Argentina, Carolina Luján 2349
Russian veteran Alisa Galliamova is going to be challenge by Argentinian female champion Lujan Carolina. Though the rating different by more than hundred points in favor of Alisa, this should be interesting to see.
 
Russia, Tatiana Kosintseva 2483 vs India, Mary Ann Gomes 2354
Although her position as Russian top girl is a little bit shaken by the arrival of new bloods, Tatiana Kosintseva still hundred point above Mary Ann Gomes. The Indian girl is well known on internet.

Ukraine, Mariya Muzychuk 2526 vs Canada, Yuanling Yuan 2267
Canadian Chinese and the country strongest female player, Yuan Yuanling is having tough opponent. Mariya Muzychuk almost three hundred points above, is going to send home Yuan very likely.
 
Poland, Monika Socko 2463 vs Lithuania, Deimante Daulyte 2395
Lithuanian champion, Deimante Daulyte is the new 2015 Mediterranean Flower champion. She is going the get her present by facing big sister Monika Socko in first round.

Bulgaria, Antoaneta Stefanova 2522  vs Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Thanh An 2261
The other big sister Antoanetta Stefanova is having her "easier" day, facing Nguyen Thi Thanh An. Hopefully Stefanova get the correct "Nguyen" in her opponent analysis.... j/k.

Ukraine, Natalia Zhukova 2471 vs Ukraine, Inna Gaponenko 2384
 The derby between two Ukrainians, both should be experience enough playing each other. Natalia on +1 in their three encounter, according to chessgames.com
   
Lithuania, Viktorija Cmilyte 2530 vs Bangladesh, Akter Liza Shamima 2130
Astronomical big gap in rating meaning Viktorija is almost sure to crush Liza Shamima of Bangladesh.

Georgia, Nino Khurtsidze 2457 vs Russia, Ekaterina Kovalevskaya 2438
Close match.

Armenia, Elina Danielian 2488 vs Cuba, Yaniet Marrero Lopez 2316

Germany, Elisabeth Paehtz 2479 vs Georgia,  Meri Arabidze 2374

Russia, Alexandra Kosteniuk 2529 vs Australia, Irina Berezina 2182
One of former world champion, Alexandra Kosteniuk is on respective 5th seeded. Australian Irina Berezina is going to have tough days meeting the chess queen.

China, Shen Yang 2459 vs Russia, Alina Kashlinskaya 2436
Russian rising star Alina Kashlinskaya is on the underdog side, playing Shen Yang. Interesting pairing. The first China vs Russia pairing.

India, Harika Dronavalli 2492 vs United States, Tatev Abrahamyan 2322
Indian 2nd top player to be challenged by USA session player. Tatev Abrahamyan, many times US champion top finishers.

United States, Irina Krush  2477 vs France, Sophie Milliet 2377
US champion Irina Krush is the better seed against Sophie Milliet. Though the later is also session player. Sophie Milliet is one of few player who ever visit Indonesia for a chess games.

China, Ju Wenjun 2557 vs Egypt, Shrook Wafa 2058
The second seed vs the second last seed. Money is on Ju Wenjun, and most likely Ju Wenjun is the one set to be Hou Yifan serious challenger and successor.

Russia, Natalija Pogonina 2456  vs China, Guo Qi 2443
Natalia Pogonina, one of online chess celebrities. Guo Qi, noted that she is from Jiangsu Province in China, the same region as Hou Yifan and many other China grandmaster. According to Hou Yifan in the Gibraltar interview, Jiangsu Province is like China's Mecca in chess. Well, something to remember, Natalia. The second China vs Russia pairing of first round.

Ukraine, Anna Ushenina 2486 vs China, Zhang Xiaowen 2349
Anna Ushenina is last knock out champion. Zhang Xiaowen, a name lesser heard. She is 1989 born, age 25, considered "senior" sister for the China contingent.

France, Marie Sebag 2482 vs China, Wang Jue 2365

China, Zhao Xue 2527 vs Argentina, Marisa Zuriel 2219

Georgia, Salome Melia 2459 vs Indonesia, Irine Kharisma Sukandar 2415
Indonesian highlight pairing. Irine is fresh from her triumphant "warm up" in Moscow 2015. Of course a player as strong as Salome Melia is a tough challenge. Irine comes as Asian champion. The rating is quite close. Ulasan Bahasa Indonesia.

Georgia, Bela Khotenashvili 2513 vs Turkey, Kübra Öztürk 2284

China, Huang Qian 2473 vs Russia, Baira Kovanova 2381
the third China vs Russia pairing. Baira Kovanova is 2012 Russian Higher League champion.

Ukraine, Anna Muzychuk 2552 vs Algeria, Amina Mezioud 2071
Anna Muzychuk, 3rd seed and of course one of tournament contender.

Russia, Aleksandra Goryachkina 2456 vs Armenia, Lilit Mkrtchian 2443
Interesting match up. Russian young generation versus Armenian veteran.

China, Tan Zhongyi 2487 vs Kazakhstan, Guliskhan Nakhbayeva 2337
 
Georgia, Lela Javakhishvili vs Georgia, Sopiko Guramishvili
Unfortunate pairing for Georgian huge contingent. Guramishvili get one rapid win over Lela in chessgames.com database.

Russia, Valentina Gunina 2528 vs United States, Camilla Baginskaite 2192
Though opponent for the third United States player. Camilla is out rating by almost four hundred points.

Russia, Olga Girya 2459 vs Turkey, Ekaterina Atalik 2419
Again, Russian's young generation vs her senior rival.

Sweden, Pia Cramling 2495 vs Iran, Mitra Hejazipour 2302
Of many strong Iranian female player, it is Mitra Hejazipour that comes to Sochi. A name we less known. Pia Cramling is on her 51 year of life, making her the most senior player in the field (?)

Hungary, Hoang Thanh Trang 2475 vs Scotland, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant 2379
Hoang is Vietname name, in fact Hoang Thanh Trang played for Hungary for decade now. Ketevan is also not exactly Scottish name, originated from Georgian, Arakhamia-Grant is Scottish top female chess player. Interesting pairing.


Opening Ceremony Photo is up in this link and  Official website
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