China crushes Russia, leads Women's World Team Championship
China is leading the Women's World Team Championship in Mardin, Turkey after five rounds as the only team with a 100% score. India is one match point behind, with four more rounds to go.
Russia, with the Kosintseva sisters on top boards, lost 0-4 to China at the Women's World Team Championship | All photos courtesy of the Turkish Chess Federation
The Women's World Team Championship just passed it's half-way point (if there is any, with an odd number of rounds) on Thursday. The Turkish Chess Federation is organizing, and picked Mardin as the location, a city in southeastern Turkey. It is the capital of the Mardin Province and according to Wikipedia it is
known for its Arabic-like architecture, and for its strategic location on a rocky mountain overlooking the plains of northern Syria.
The old town of Mardin | Photo Florian Koch © Wikipedia
Strong teams, such as China (with Hou Yifan playing), India (with Humpy Koneru) and Russia (with the Kosintseva sisters and Kosteniuk), are present. A bit of a surprise team might be South-Africa, who thus far lost all their matches with big scores. They are replacing Algeria, who had qualified via the African Continental Championship.
A strong team not present in Mardin is the USA. Early December the USCF decided not to send a team to Turkey. Normally such matters are related to money, while the federation gave the following explanation:
Mr. Ali Nihat Yazici, Members of the Organizing Committee, and interested parties:
After serious consideration of multiple issues and several topics that were a concern to us, the USCF has decided to respectfully decline the invitation to the 2011 Women's World Team Championships.
One of the primary concerns was the principle that, although the qualification process for teams to the Women's World Team Championship are the same as for the World Team Championship, the regulations for the conditions are not consistent. We feel that this is an inappropriate gender bias and hope that this issue is addressed in the near future. We wish you the best success with the event.
United States Chess Federation
In the regulations of the event we noticed that the total prize fund in Mardin is € 7,500 - the winners of the event get € 750 per board. This seems like a ridiculously low amount, but in fact money prizes for team events are not a tradition at all in chess. At the men's tournament, for example, which was held in Ningbo, China in July of this year, there were no money prizes. Generally speaking the host country takes care of the hotels and the venue while the federations deal with the travel costs and the players' appearence fees.
Anyway, let's see what is happening in Turkey. After five rounds the Chinese team, led by World Champion Hou Yifan, is the only team left with a 100% score.
China in round 4 (a 3-1 win against Vietnam), with Hou Yifan, Ju Wenjun, Zhao Xue and Than Zhongyi
Especially the result against one of their main rivals, Russia, was notable: a 4-0 sweep. Also before the 5th round it was already clear that the Russian team is not in good shape. In the first round they only won 2.5-1.5 against Vietnam, which was lower rated on all boards, and in the third round Greece managed to hold them to a 2-2 tie with Ekaterini Pavlidou (2176) beating Natalija Pogonina (2451). In round 4 Russia again played 2-2, this time against the only slightly lower rated Georgians, and then the rough day against China came.
In fact the Chinese ladies also beat the (not that weak) Armenian team 4-0 in the third round.
With four rounds to go, India is one match point behind China, which they already dropped in the first round, against Ukraine. China and India are due to meet in the final round.
Boards 2-4 of India in round 5, R-L: Harika Dronavalli, Tania Sachdev and Padmini Rout
Women's World Team Championship 2011 | Round 5 standings
8 hours 49 min ago
16 hours 8 min ago
1 day 8 hours ago
1 day 13 hours ago
1 day 14 hours ago
1 day 17 hours ago
2 days 3 hours ago
2 days 3 hours ago
3 days 6 hours ago
3 days 15 hours ago
4 days 7 hours ago
4 days 14 hours ago
5 days 7 hours ago
5 days 9 hours ago
5 days 14 hours ago
5 days 14 hours ago
6 days 5 hours ago
6 days 16 hours ago
1 week 6 hours ago
1 week 7 hours ago