Reports | December 04, 2008 18:55

"Czech beauty smashed Karpov"

Jackova smashed KarpovThis headline could be read in Blesk, the biggest newspaper of the Czech Republic, earlier this week. Its readers were informed about the fantastic victory of Jana Jackova over ex-world champion Anatoli Karpov, who lost in just 22 moves. After five rounds in Marianske Lazne, "Snowdrops and Old Hands" are exactly even: 10-10.

We know the formula from the 90s when chess maecenas Joop van Oosterom (currently responsible for the Amber and NH tournaments) sponsored many tournaments between talented female chess players against highly experienced, former top players. It was exactly this format that was chosen by Pavel Matocha for a tournament that's currently taking place in the Czech town of Marianske Lazne (the former Marienbad).

The town where 72-year-old Goethe met his 17-year-old Ulrika is witnessing four chess legends meeting promising young female chess players. In the "Old Stagers" (as they are called by the Czech) team there's Anatoli Karpov, Vlastimil Hort, Fridrik Olafsson and Wolfgang Uhlmann; the "Lasses" team consists of Viktorija Cmylite, Anna Ushenina, Katerina Nemcova and Jana Jackova.

The two teams (called "Snowdrops versus Old Hands" elsewhere - were prefer this one) meet twice following the Scheveningen system. Venue is the hotel Cristal Palace in Mari?ɬ°nsk?ɬ© L?ɬ°zn?Ñ‚Ä?, from November 29 to December 6, 2008.

Hotel Christal Palace

Hotel Christal Palace

The games start at 16:00 CET daily (live here) with the exception of the last day, when they start at 13:00. The tournament is organized by Prague Chess Society and tournament director is Pavel Matocha, who was also responsible for e.g. the rapid matches Navara-Short & Timman-Jackova and Navara-Kramnik.

The first round included a sensation: after a mere 22 moves Anatoli Karpov had to resign against Jana Jackova. He was about to get mated!

At half time, after four rounds, the young ladies were leading by a small margin: 8.5 points out of 16 games, to 7.5 for the legends. Yesterday the four distinguished gentlemen levelled the score with the white pieces: Karpov took revenge against Jackova and Hort beat Nemcova, while Olafsson-Ushenina had ended in a draw. Cmilyte prevented the men from taking the lead; she beat Uhlmann.


Here are all the games played so far:


Old Hands, Old Friends: Karpov, Uhlmann, Hort and Olafsson


WGM Katerina Nemcova (2369), no. 1 in the Czech Republic, at the drawing of lots


World champion in "footbag" Vaclav Klouda


IM Jana Jackova (2360) interviewed for NOVA TV


Pavel Matocha - remarkable haircuts, remarkable tournaments


Vlastimil Hort with his wife, who works in the publishing business


Jackova made headlines by crushing a former world champion


Viktorija Cmylite, best performing lady with 3?Ǭ? / 5


Anatoli Karpov, with the same score after five rounds


Former FIDE President GM Fridrik Olafsson (2440) analyzing with Katerina Nemcova


The legendary GM Wolfgang Uhlmann (2417) from the Olympiad's city of Dresden


IM Anna Ushenina (2496), Ukraine's highest rated female player


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


ChessGirl's picture

The girl looks normal to me, not too cute, not a beast... whatever the appearance, though, beating Karpov for a 2360 is always a great feat, congratulations!

renzo's picture

no sexism in chess?
okay. But then no women's tournamens/championships anymore!
Because that's sexism.

Arne Moll's picture

"From having your smiley emoticon telling me how far in the cheek tongue was planetd in your post, I commend the layered and plausible distance you can put between yourself and the editorial decision made by Chessvibes to run the story and the header."

@Richard DiCredico: apart from your rather tedious points about sexism: if you want to use difficult words and expressions or make sentences longer than a few words, at least learn some grammar and spelling, or I'm afraid you will only be laughed at.

Peter Doggers's picture

Some of you are getting much too serious here. Except for the headine (which is explained in the very first sentence; quite noteworthy, how mainstream media treats chess) the whole article is about chess, and chess only. Besides, the tournament formula makes it pretty hard to avoid a distant, tiny bit of sexism...

Manu's picture

As i said before , Ushenina is also a very beautifull lady.Although she looks bored in that picture.

Ark's picture

I'm sure the czech will have a lot to thank you for, peter, you have not only brought her unwarranted attention (on her assets) and also unwarranted humiliation :(

Jens Kristiansen's picture

I think Peter Doggers article is OK, showing a wellknown phenomana in the context of our game. There are "newspapers" like this "Blesk" all over the world, who like to use such ambiguous headlines. I do not believe the average czekish are so well informed, that they immidiately reckon how this Karpov has been smashed.
And, by the way, this style is very much in line with the rather vulgar headline of the event in question.

Thorn's picture

I fully agree with Richard DeCredico on this point.

While it will guarantee more readers, it dramatically lowers the standards of this site if you focus on women chess players' appearance in the first place. It won't help to dismiss this as 'political correctness', which for some reason seems to be a bad thing.

Lajos, the point is not that the article is about something else than chess, which is of course fine. The point is that it reduces women to their degree of sexiness.

There is always a fine line which to some extent is determined by personal taste. I for one would be very sad it this site goes for the chessbase strategy of plastering 'articles' with as many 'hot chick' pics as possible.

Anyway, keep up your good work and stick to your tradition. It's a great site.


Grzegorzetze's picture

The idiom 'a storm in a teacup' seems highly appropriate here.

Will the title of this article really matter in a week's time, when the article will be stored in the archives? Certainly not. And the Czech newspaper Blesk used the same title, so people commenting here should not give Peter such a hard time.

The only section of the article I disapprove of is the following:

"The first round included a sensation: after a mere 22 moves Anatoli Karpov had to resign against Jana Jackova. He was about to get mated!"

I agree that this comment is sexist and somewhat disrespectful of Karpov. Even so, the article was posted four days ago, so most people would have forgotten about it by now.

Grzegorzetze's picture

Edit: Make that a month's time, when the article will no longer be in the 'Recent Headlines'. But the same points still apply.

joe's picture

And Karpov smashed her back in 27 moves!

Ark's picture

smashed her back? that was sheer debaunchery

Scott Young's picture

I had to laugh at some of these comments!
All women to me have beauty! So in Chess , so in life!
I love the concept of this tourney. Let`s see more and less FIDE corrupt thugs running things!

Manu's picture

The article is fine , this is a great site no sexism involved.
In this case the sexism is in the eye of the beholder.

Christos (Greece)'s picture

I think the first comment's tone is completely unacceptable.

The guy thinks he can give orders to the author about which things he should write on his website and which not. He does not realize he is lucky and privileged enough only to be able to make a comment on the article.

I would add that I also disagree with Chessbase's strategy of treating women's chess, but this is only my personal opinion, and that this is the best chess news website.

Macauley's picture

18.Rxf6 --- hot
20.Nf4 -- YOWSA!

mdamien's picture

20 Nf4 ... wow.

Titus's picture

Does white (beauty) has more than perpetual after 18 .., gxf6 19 Qxh6 fxg5 20 Qxg5+ Kh7! ??

Michael Lubin's picture

?¢‚Ǩ?ìUnattractive Woman WIns at Chess by Forcing World Champion to look away!?¢‚Ǩ?

Change woman to man and I think this is Gelfand's strategy. ;)

Come on, everyone -- lighten up about this. It's not automatically sexism to say something about a woman's appearance. Jana may not be any great beauty, but she IS cute, and there's nothing wrong with appreciating that, just as long as it doesn't make you forget about everything else about her.

ron's picture

It is probably because we switched to English that some (anti)-ism fundamentalists are visiting the site. Let's return to Dutch or another decent European language to be able to write what we think.

Richard DeCredico's picture

You think she is hot>?

I guess I need to spoil the joke for those that cannot understand layered and nuance and satire in their-non native language.

Richard DeCredico's picture


Lajos Arpad's picture

Why should a chess newspaper contain only chess? Come on... It's more colourful if we know the journalists opinion and nice stories about the players too.I'm mostly interested in chess, but why is the title bad? It catches the eye, implicitly saying that the winner is not only a good chess player, she is cute too. What's the problem with that?

jmws's picture

Geez....political correctness is invading this site.... Peter: please, write what you want...

Richard DeCredico's picture

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think Chess Beast would have been more appropriate, but either way would be sexism.

Stop making comments about a women's appearance. On any level.

Stick to the chess and leave out the sex.

Michel's picture

I fully agree

Peter Doggers's picture

Well, please tell the Czech newspaper. Naturally I was only talking about the beauty of the game. ;-)

ron's picture

And she is not beauty at all...

Richard DeCredico's picture

@Peter Doggers: from having your smiley emoticon telling me how far in the cheek tongue was planetd in your post, I commend the layered and plausible distance you can put between yourself and the editorial decision made by Chessvibes to run the story and the header.

Very funny.

I am sure you agree with my point that headers calling all the other ladies "Not Beauties" or saying "Ugly Woman loses to B Player" would not be run. Regardless of its source.

"Unattractive Woman WIns at Chess by Forcing World Champion to look away!"

I guess I'll have to bust out my bell bottom flares and Male Sex Symbol Pendants to make the ladies more comfortable with me at the next tourny I attend.

One Question: Does she prefer her men cut or un-cut?

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