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East vs West
September 7, 2008

The participants of the Women's World Chess Championship were seeded according to their ELO rating. But nobody could expect the situation to  be something like East vs West by the beginning of the quarter final. On the one hand,  Konery, Mktrchian, Hou Yifan and ShenYang are moving to the final, on the other hand, we have a quartet of European chess players: Stefanova, Kramling, Kosteniuk and Ushenina.

It is unreasonable to speculate on the strengths and weaknesses of the players of the quarterfinal. Since they are there, they proved that they are strong enough. But if the European players can equally claim for crown, the favorites of the Asian group are easily seen with the naked eye.

Shen Yang's luck has become a legend at this tournament. It is not without luck that she qualified into the second round, then quite unexpectedly beat her compatriot Zhao Xue. If Nadya Kosintseva made her a present in the third round losing to her without really putting up serious resistance Koneru didn't make any presents for her. At the first sight white's attack didn't seem fatal: Humpy slowly and confidently set the pieces on the board, and then out of the blue attacks resembling a heavy rainfall poured down on her. The Indian interchanged direct attacks with quiet moves. By the 31 move the Chinese was bound to yield.    

The first day can be considered quite successful for Hou Yifan as well. She was playing with black against Mkrtchian and made a draw in 2 hours without taking great pains. Taking into consideration how successfully Hou plays her "white" matches (she didn't loose any of them), a severe battle is awaiting Lilit  Mktrchian tomorrow.

Stefanova is even in a worse situation: playing with black she will have to beat experienced Cramling to be qualified into the next round. Antoaneta disregarded the white color today. She is known to disregard the opening theory. Should it be disregarded to such an extent? As her second said she had deviated from the home preparation, and then disregarded the development: she left her king in the center and had to pay for it. Pia could finish the game much earlier. But her mistakes together with Antoaneta's resourcefulness prevented from changing the result of the match. Antoaneta stopped the clock on the 54th move.

Kosteniuk  will play tomorrow not without feeling of resentment. It seemed today that she was very close to the victory. But time was passing and she didn't succeed.  Anya was defending herself very keenly. As a result the opponents spent more than 5 hours at the board. The result is a draw on the 57th move. When Kosteniuk drew with Kosintseva  everybody thought she would lose the round , but Sasha did her best during the second game. What will happen this time?

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Round 4, game 1
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