China & Russia lead Women's World Teams after round 2
China and Russia started the Women's World Team Championship in Astana with two victories, and are tied for first place after two rounds. China beat France and Georgia while Russia won against Romania and Kazakhstan.
Round 1 under way in the Duma Hotel in Astana | Photos © Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE
The Women's World Team Championship takes place March 2nd-12th, 2013 at the Duman hotel in in Astana, Kazakhstan. It is organized by the Kazakhstan Chess Federation together with FIDE. After the 2012 World Blitz and Rapid Championship, the Women's World Team Championship is the second big chess event held in Astana in less than a year. At the opening ceremony it was announced that the Kazakhs have even bigger plans: they want to organize the 2018 Olympiad as well.
The press conference right after the opening ceremony on Saturday
The time control of the Women's World Team Championship is 90 minutes per 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, plus 30 seconds increment per move from move 1. Ten teams of four players (and one reserve) compete in a single round robin. The teams were selected as follows:
- the three teams which were ranked the best at the 2012 Olympiad (Russia, China, Ukraine)
- five continental champions (USA, India, France, Georgia, Romania)
- the country of the organizer (Kazakhstan)
- one team selected by the FIDE President (Turkey)
The Women's World Team Championship has been organized since 2007 and Chinese team has won all the championships in the past. Hou Yifan and Zhao Xue did not come to Astana, so it won't be easy for the team to prove their dominance again. The top seeded team is Ukraine, who travelled to Astana with their top 5 of the country: reigning World Champion Anna Ushenina, Kateryna Lagno (now spelled with a 'g' instead of an 'h' by FIDE on the rating list), Mariya Muzychuk, Inna Gaponenko and Natalia Zhukova.
The Russian team, which won the Olympiad last September and took three silver medals in previous Women’s World Team Championships, is also playing without two top players: Nadezhda and Tatiana Kosintseva. The two sisters left the team because they refused to play under the leadership of the current captain, Sergei Rublevsky, citing "psychological incompatibility". The two former leaders of the team were replaced by Alisa Galliamova and Olga Girya and with them the Russian team is still ranked second behind Ukraine.
A remarkable team in the list is Turkey, last seeded with an average rating as low as 2162, 147 points lower than the number 9 on the list.
Women's World Team Championship 2013 | Teams
|1||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||2387|
|1||WGM||Yildiz Betul Cemre||2341|
The first round saw a small upset: Kazakhstan managed to hold the USA to 2-2. Well, in fact the rating difference wasn't that big. There were even chances of winning for the home team, as Dinara Saduakasova came close to victory but then she spoilt it:
The following game is from the Russia-Romania match. Alisa Galliamova, the former World Championship contender (and former wife of Vassily Ivanchuk), doesn't like airplanes. She travelled to Astana by train, and with only a few hours rest she faced Alina l'Ami, who was still playing in Reykjavik a few days before.
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov makes the first move for the game Nakhbayeva-Zatonskih
Kazakhstan couldn't follow up with another good result; they went down 1-3 against the Russian ladies. Except for board one: Guliskhan Nakhbayeva, who drew with Anna Zatonskih, now crushed Valentina Gunina!
The USA team again didn't really convince. Against lower rated players they drew all games on the first three boards, but they won the match against Turkey thanks to the following blunder:
Women's World Team Championship 2013 | Round 2 standings
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