The opening games of the first round of the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk are now behind us. The 128-player tournament is run according to a knockout system, with the pairings formed so that the highest-rated player meets the player with the most modest rating i.e. No. 1 plays No. 128, No. 2 plays No. 127, No. 3 plays No. 126 and so on.
In the final round of the Women’s Russian Championship Superfinal Valentina Gunina drew with Black against Baira Kovanova and for the first time in her career won the title of Russian Champion. Our congratulations!
Natalia Pogonina, who had been second with a chance of catching Gunina, lost to Daria Charochkina. Alisa Galliamova beat Elena Zaiatz, while there were draws in the games between Anastasia Bodnaruk and Alexandra Kosteniuk and Olga Girya and Tatiana Shadrina.
On 28 August the 4th FIDE World Cup to be held in Khanty-Mansiysk got under way in the Yugra Chess Academy. The event is a knockout based on 128 players, though on health grounds Grandmasters Vladimir Akopian (Armenia) and Wang Hao (China) were forced to drop out. The event involves players from 46 countries.
On the eve of the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk there was a short business meeting between FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Grandmaster Evgeny Romanov – a representative of the interests of the Lokomotiv Sports Society (best known for the FC Lokomotiv Moscow football team but e.g. Boris Spassky played for the chess club) and Grandmaster Viorel Bologan – a member of the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) Board.
The opening ceremony of the FIDE World Cup took place on Saturday evening in the “Yugra Classic” Concert Hall in Khanty-Mansiysk. The foyer and stage recreated the atmosphere of the famous Parisian Café de la Régence. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov played a demonstration game against the Mayor of Khanty-Mansiysk, Vasily Filipenko, and they both then addressed the players and guests of the World Cup, welcoming them to the event.
In Round 8 of the Russian Championship Superfinal in Moscow Valentina Gunina got carried away with the white pieces, launching a risky attack and losing against the Russian Champion for the last two years, Alisa Galliamova. Her nearest rival, Baira Kovanova, also lost in a 115-move struggle against Daria Charochkina. Natalia Pogonina (in the photo) managed to win against Tatiana Shadrina and now has theoretical chances of catching the leader, who’s a point ahead.
With two rounds to go at the Women’s Russian Championship Superfinal Valentina Gunina is already one and a half points clear of second-placed Baira Kovanova. In round seven Gunina beat Daria Charochkina, while Kovanova lost to Tatiana Shadrina. The round’s other results were: Natalia Pogonina beat Alexandra Kosteniuk, while Olga Girya – Elena Zaiatz and Anastasia Bodnaruk – Alisa Galliamova were drawn.
The opening ceremony of the FIDE World Cup takes place today at 20:00 local time (16:00 CET). The tournament, a knockout event with 128 players, runs from 27 August to 21 September. Besides the World Cup itself the event will determine three places in the next Candidates Tournament: those will be given to both finalists, while one place will be decided by a match between the losing semi-finalists. The games will take place in the ultramodern building of the Ugra Chess Academy (in the photo).