Humpy Koneru Wins with Black Against Cramling, Hou Yifan and Maia Chiburdanidze Drew
Saturday, 07 March 2009
The first round was played with many interesting game. Hou Yifan hold against Maia Chiburdanidze and avoided a second consecutive loss after Dresden. Humpy Koneru scored a crucial victory with black pieces against Pia Cramling. Local hero Betül Cemre Yıldız was close to producing the upset of the day but Antoaneta Stefanova escaped and managed to win. Martha Fierro was another player who ran through fear tunnel but win in the end against Zeinab Mamedyarova. Xue Zhao started well by converting the development advantage against her compatrot Shen Yang swiftly. Detailed report below.
Ladies were not intending to make a quiet start and only one game ended
as a draw, as last year since none of the games ended as a draw back in
Koneru Humpy scored a crucial win against
Pia Cramling with black pieces in the Queen's Gambit Ragozin but which
transposed from the Nimzo-Indian. Black established a firm control on e4 and
when white tried to make the breakthrough it looked it did not work. After all
black pieces got activated white had nothing to do but give the exchange away
and then black went on to win.
The game between the living legend and the
future legend, namely Maia Chiburdanidze and Hou Yifan ended as a draw but not
without blood. Black managed to find a breakthough with h4 after loss of a few
tempi on white's part. It looked dangerous for white but Chinese prodigy was
able to save the draw and avoided a second consecutive loss against her
experienced opponent. Maia Chiburdanidze praised her opponent's defensive
skills: "The game was very interesting and I had some chances to win. I think
my young opponent defended this difficult endgame very well".
The game between Betül Cemre Yıldız and
Antoaneta Stefanova nearly produced the sensation of the first round. The
Turkish youngster played very accurately at a point and was close to win but
then started lapsing against the ex-world champion. Until giving back the
exchange on e3 white seemed to be winning. The position was drawish then but
white mishandled the endgame and lost unfortunately. The two players already
faced each other in Calvia 2004 and Yıldız drew with Stefanova then world
champion. Stefanova was remembering the game perfectly and recalled"She really
played very well. I can say that she had improved a lot. It was really a tough
game for me".
Black had the better chances in Martha
Fierro-Zeinab Mamedyarova game. However, black erred later on. After f3 black
was already in a difficult position and white trapped the black queen on h4 in
The clash of the Chinese players Zhao Xue and
Shen Yang ended as 29-move victory for Zhao Xue thanks to the lack of
development for black. Both players agreed in the post-game press conference
that the knight moves for black was unnecessary and after Nb5 everything was
Elina Danielian started with a a victory to the
İstanbul Grand Prix against Marie Sebag where she sacrificed an exchange for
mobilizing the queen's side pawns. It was already practically difficult for
white to defend after the exchange of the queens and black managed to win more
pawns on king's side and went on to win.