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Peter Rajcsanyi: Almost perfect performance by the end of the first round
September 1, 2008

Thirty chess players went into the second round. Some of them managed to do it very easily because of the absence of their opponents. Others had to pass the difficulties of tiebreaks.

The best US chess player Anna Zatonskih can be referred to the first group, the Georgian player Bosboom Lanchava representing Holland was to be her opponent. But the latter does not participate supporting the decision of her compatriots to ignore the Championship. Therefore, Anna Zatonskih got two days off and had a chance to make a trip to the Blue Lakes and to pull herself together before the second round where she plays against Tatiana Kosintseva. Tatiana won the game against Nafisa Muminova from Uzbekistan in the first round.

Another Russian player Alexandra Kosteniuk also got a chance of having a little rest. Having won against Pourkashiyan Atousa from Iran she is waiting for the third round because none of her probable opponents in the second round (Korbut and Gvetadze) do not participate.  Humpy Coneru from India is in the same situation. On winning both games of the first round against Yorsa Alaa El Din from Egypt, she as well as Kosteniuk makes plans for her two days off.

The FIDE press-officer Peter Rajcsanyi considered the World Chess Champion Natalia Zhukokva's loss against the US chess player Catherine Rohonyan to be the big surprise of the first round.

There were some other surprises. For instance Anzel Solomons manage to end the game in a draw with the acting World Champion Xu Yuhua from China. Though there is 500 points gap in the ratings of these two participants. Another surprise is a very rapid victory of Hou Yifan over her opponent from Egypt. They have the same rating difference. The ten participants of the tiebreak had a very hard time. Only two pairs were able to finish the game quickly: Catherine Rohonyan won against Natalia Zhukova (the Ukraine), Ju Wenjun  (Chine) defeated Bojkovic (Serbia). All the other players ended the games in a draw. Lilit Mkrtchian (Armenia) and Eve Moser (Austria) had to play the second series  of blitz-games which lead to the victory of the Armenian chess player. 

The Paehtz - Kadimova and the Socko - Foisor pairs had to face another challenge, the sudden death game.

In the first pair the winner was Elizabeth Paehtz. In the second pair the situation triggered debate. After long discussions and official appeals provided by the players, the Appeal`s Committee made the final decision: the winner is Socko.

It is a rather rare situation when 6 pairs play tie-breaks.

Now half of the participants are leaving the tournament. Their share of the prize fund is $3750 each. Those who will be knocked out after the second round will get $5500. The Champion will get $60 000. According to Peter Rajcsanyi the most interesting events are ahead. Summarizing the first round he said:"Our first stage was a perfect success. All the officials and participants are quite satisfied with the accommodation and food. It is a question though whether it is a national or international food. The playing hall is quite acceptable. There is nothing that could disturb the participants. They were really impressed by the Opening Ceremony. I was at many Championships but I can say that the one in Nalchik is one of the bests".

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