Snow Drops vs Old Hands 10-6 at half time
In the traditional Czech Coal Chess Match, this year held in Podebrady, "Snow Drops" Valentina Gunina, Tania Sachdev, Alina Kashlinskaya and Kristyna Havlikova are leading their match 10-6 against "Old Hands" Oleg Romanishin, Fridrik Olafsson, Vlastimil Hort and Wolfgang Uhlmann.
The first round under way | All photos © Anežka Kružíková courtesy of the official website
For the fifth time already the Prague Chess Society, in cooperation with Šach Mat ltd. is organizing a Scheveningen match between promising female chess players: "Snow Drops" vs "Old Hands". The first match was won by the men, then the ladies won twice, and last year the grandmasters equalized the historic score of the matches again.
This year the Snow Drops team consists of IM Valentina Gunina (2517, Russia), IM Tania Sachdev (2400, India), WGM Alina Kashlinskaya (Russia, 2344) and WIM Kristyna Havlikova (Czech Republic, 2310). Their opponents are GM Oleg Romanishin (2530, Ukraine), GM Fridrik Olafsson (2419, Iceland), GM Vlastimil Hort (2455, Czech Republic) and GM Wolfgang Uhlmann (2319, Germany). The venue is the Hotel Zámeček in Poděbrady, a historical spa town in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic.
Hotel Zámeček in Poděbrady
Although the "Old Hands" hardly need any introduction, you might want to learn more at the biographies page of the official website. Valentina Gunina is the reigning European Women's Champion and a former Russian Champion. Tania Sachdev came 3rd at the World U12 in 1998, and later won the Indian and Asian Championships. She has been active as a model as well. Alina Kashlinskaya became the youngest Woman Grandmaster in Europe when she was fifteen. Besides chess games, she composes poems and songs. Kristyna Havlikova is the number two female Czech player. She finished 4th at the World U18 in 2010.
Snow Drops (L-R) Kashlinskaya, Gunina, Havlikova and Sachdev posing with their team captain Sergei Movsesian
In the first round the ladies immediately took a big lead: they smashed their respected opponents 3.5-0.5. Tania Sachdev scored a victory over Wolfgang Uhlmann, Valentina Gunina beat Fridrik Olafsson and Alina Kashlinskaya won againt Vlastimil Hort. Only the top rated GM, Oleg Romanishin, managed to draw with black againts Kristyna Havlikova. The most interesting game was the following.
The Old Hands seemed to have a good chance of getting revenge in the next round. However, despite a few promosing positions out of the opening they went down again, this time 1.5-2.5. Romanishing blundered terribly on move 40.
This got worse in the third round, with three draws and Havlikova beating Uhlmann in his favourite French to set another 2.5-1.5 for the Snow Drops.
In the fourth round the Old Hands finally won. Again three games were drawn, but Olafsson was too strong for Havlikova.
Wednesday is a rest day in Podebrady. Guest of honour Yuri Averbakh, at 90 the oldest living grandmaster, will give a lecture on the history of chess in Europe and in Russia.
|round I.||round II.||round III.||round IV.|
|round V.||round VI.||round VII.||round VIII.|
|Olafsson - Gunina||Gunina - Uhlmann||Hort - Gunina||Gunina - Romanishin|
|Uhlmann - Sachdev||Sachdev - Olafsson||Romanishin - Sachdev||Sachdev - Hort|
|Hort - Kashlinskaya||Kashlinskaya - Romanishin||Olafsson - Kashlinskaya||Kashlinskaya - Uhlmann|
|Romanishin - Havlíková||Havlíková - Hort||Uhlmann - Havlíková||Havlíková - Olafsson|
Round 2 in action
IM Valentina Gunina (2517, Russia)
IM Tania Sachdev (2400, India)
WIM Kristyna Havlikova (Czech Republic, 2310)
WGM Alina Kashlinskaya (Russia, 2344)
GM Oleg Romanishin (2530, Ukraine)
GM Fridrik Olafsson (2419, Iceland)
GM Vlastimil Hort (2455, Czech Republic)
GM Wolfgang Uhlmann (2319, Germany)
Sergey Movsesian, team captain for the ladies and commentator
Top Czech grandmaster David Navara giving commentary
Jan Smejkal giving commentary earlier in the tournament
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