The first round is hardly going to determine anything, but it does set the tone for the rest of the event, without doubt. This is how things panned out in the first round at Astana.

1.1          1             UKRAINE             3-1         10           INDIA

1             GM        Lagno Kateryna                2547      1/2-1/2 IM          Karavade Eesha Sanjay 2387

2             GM        Ushenina Anna                2477      1-0         IM          Mohota Nisha   2325

3             IM          Muzychuk Mariya           2479      1-0         WGM    Padmini Rout    2316

4             IM          Yanovska-Gaponenko Inna        2421      1/2-1/2 WGM    Gomes Mary Ann           2387

The Ukrainian team confidently outplaye dthe Indians. But it was a hopeless task for the latetr to hope to achieve anything without Koneru and Harika. Even so, it may be that the Indians have not yet acclimatised and that they will show their true strength when they do. 

1.2          2             ROMANIA          0.5-3.5  9             RUSSIA

1             IM          Foisor Cristina Adela      2401      0-1         IM          Gunina Valentina            2505

2             WGM    Bulmaga Irina    2354      1/2-1/2 GM        Kosteniuk Alexandra     2495

3             WGM    Lami Alina           2353      0-1         IM          Galliamova Alisa              2459

4             WGM    Voicu-Jagodzinsky Carmen         2281      0-1         WGM    Girya Olga           2440

Lami Alina-Galliamova Alisa

27... g4 28.Nd2 Rd3 29.Rc8 Rxc8 30.Rxc8 Rxd2 White resigns (0:1).

Despite expectations, Alisa Galliamova is playing, and winning. She did not give her opponent the slightest chance. And this was after a long train journey, with only a few hours rest before the game! A great fighter! The Russians rested Natalya Pogonina, but Olga Girya made a successful debut for the team. .

1.3          3             KAZAKHSTAN   2-2         8             USA

1             WGM    Nakhbayeva Guliskhan 2344      1/2-1/2 IM          Zatonskih Anna                2474

2             WIM      Dauletova Gulmira         2265      0-1         IM          Krush Irina          2448

3             WGM    Saduakassova Dinara     2353      1/2-1/2 WGM    Foisor Sabina     2323

4             WIM      Davletbayeva Madina   2272      1-0         WIM      Ni Viktorija         2263

Recently, in an interview, Geoffrey Borg commented that, beside sthe four clear favourites (Russia, China, Georgia and Ukraine), there are otehr teams which can influence the final results. This is especially true of the young and ambitious home team, he said. The Americans know to their costs that the FIDE general director's words were not just a sop to the hosts. For a long time, it seemed the Central Asian team woudl win the match, and only Saduakassova's slip, when on the verge of winning, allowed the Americans to save face. Their team captain Mikhail Khodorkovsky was not there at the time, and only found out afterwards about the biggest surprise of the first round. .

Saduakassova, Dinara-Foisor, Sabina-Francesca

54.Kxb7? – Missing the win in game and match, whereas she could have won both with 54.Rxb7 h4 55.Kc6 Ke4 56.h3 f2 57.Rf7 Ke3 58.Kd5 Ke2 59.Ke4 Ke1 60.Ke3 f1=Q 61.Rxf1+ Kxf1 62.Kf3 Kg1 63.Kg4 Kf2 64.Kxh4 Ke3 65.Kg5 Ke4 66.h4 Ke5 67.h5 Ke6 68.Kg6 Kd7 (Computerkibitz: Houdini 2.0c x64       Depth: 38 with 307.873 kN in 39s; 57…h4 55.Kc6 h3 56.Rb8 Ke4 57.Kd6 f2 58.Rf8 Ke3 59.Ke5 Ke2 60.Ke4 f1=Q 61.Rxf1 Kxf1 62.Kf3 Ke1 63.Kg3 Ke2 64.Kxh3 Kf3. Draw ( ½ : ½ )

1.4          4             TURKEY               1-3         7             GEORGIA

1             WGM    Yildiz Betul Cemre           2341      0-1         GM        Dzagnidze Nana               2554

2             WGM    Ozturk Kubra     2252      1-0         IM          Khotenashvili Bela          2499

3             WCM    Cemhan Kardelen           2025      0-1         IM          JavaKhishvilli Lela            2464

4             WFM     Sop Selen           2028      0-1         IM          Khurtsidze Nino               2437

The Georgians won comfortably, but the Turks' wqin on board two clearly shows that they are not going to be a pushover for anyone. 

1.5          5             CHINA  3.5-0.5  6             FRANCE

1             WGM    Ju Wenjun          2505      1-0         WGM    Maisurasze Nino             2330

2             WGM    Tan Zhongyi       2471      1-0         WGM    Safranska Anda                2328

3             WGM    Guo Qi  2435      1-0         IM          Collas Silvia         2282

4             IM          Shen Yang          2415      1/2-1/2 WIM      Benmesbah Natacha     2266

"The Chinese machine"  crushed the French resistance without any apparent effort. Interestingly, Pavel Tregubov rested his number one, Sophie Millet, allowing the reserve to play instead. was he saving his top player? After the match, neitehr players nor captain looked very upset by the result. 

So, the lead is held by the Olympiad champions and runenr-up, Russia and China. Georgia and Ukraine are half a point back. So far, it is all according to ratings. We will see what happens later. 

Text: Sergey Kim