Six players returned to the SCC Galactica to find out who would advance to the quarterfinals, with only three tickets into the last eight. For the Russians, it was a very nervous affair since two of them were Russian, and elimination of the two would mean that was that. There are no easy matches left, and it showed as the games were nervy and dramatic.
In the first rapid game Marie Sebag (France) and Natalia Pogonina (Russia) repeated the line that occurred in the Carlsen-Anand World Championship match (Sochi 2014). Pogonina improved Anand’s play and got a comfortable position. Sebag continued playing aggressively, allowing the opponent to seize control of the d-file. As described by Pogonina, “She understandably tried hard for a win, but blundered badly when she was very short on time.”
France’s Marie Sebag (right) came with a will to win, but her nerves betrayed her in the end
The return game was a wild one in which Marie even had a few chances to win, but desperately short of time, the players erred understandably, and in the end luck was on Pogonina’s side as Sebag overstepped her time in a lost position.
Alexandra Kosteniuk was one of the final two Russians left in the competition
Harika Dronavalli (India) played a quiet opening against Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) in their first game, aiming at a complex middlegame, but nothing came of it until the end when Kosteniuk blundered a pawn in a rook ending, after which Dronavalli did not squander her chance.
In spite of the Zen-like posture, shoes off and legs tucked under her, Harika was not quite so calm
In the second game Harika equalized in the opening and even won a pawn. However, Alexandra managed to keep the game alive, and her persistence paid off as her Indian opponent lost control of the position and suddenly it was not so clear, and then at move 61…
Kosteniuk – Dronavalli
In this position, Black just took a pawn on g2. White played 61.Re6+ a terrible
blunder as it condemns the result to a draw. Instead, the body check 61.Ke5!
would have won the game, and forced the tiebreak into a second mini-match.
To be fair, it was a rapid game and both players were extremely short of time. White missed her chance, and Dronavalli thus advanced to the quarterfinals.
Georgian Meri Arabidze was the slightly unexpected winner over Victoria Cmilyte, but earned it deservingly, acknowledged graciously by the Lithuanian
The young Georgian Meri Arabidze showed excellent technique against Victoria Cmilyte (Lithuania), defeating her in the first game as she converted a strong centralized rook into a winning endgame. In the return game Cmilyte created massive complications and won a pawn, however, Meri showed great tenacity and held the draw, securing her spot into the Last Eight.
During the event, activities, seminars, and more are organized to promote the game
Anastasia Karlovich holding a princess in her arms
Vladimir Barsky has been providing photos at the site and for the Russian Chess Federation
Report by Albert Silver and Eteri Kublashvili
Photos by Eteri Kublashvili, Anastasia Karlovich, and Vladimir Barsky
Round 3 pairings / results
|Round 1 – 64 players|
|March 17||Game 1||3:00 p.m. local time|
|March 18||Game 2||3:00 p.m. local time|
|March 19||Tie breaks||3:00 p.m. local time|
|Round 2 – 32 players|
|March 20||Game 1||3:00 p.m. local time|
|March 21||Game 2||3:00 p.m. local time|
|March 22||Tie breaks||3:00 p.m. local time|
|Round 3 – 16 players|
|March 23||Game 1||3:00 p.m. local time|
|March 24||Game 2||3:00 p.m. local time|
|March 25||Tie breaks||3:00 p.m. local time|
|Round 4 – 8 players|
|March 26||Game 1||3:00 p.m. local time|
|March 27||Game 2||3:00 p.m. local time|
|March 28||Tie breaks||3:00 p.m. local time|
|Round 5 – 4 players|
|March 29||Game 1||3:00 p.m. local time|
|March 30||Game 2||3:00 p.m. local time|
|March 31||Tie breaks||3:00 p.m. local time|
|Rest day – April, 1|
|Round 6 – 2 players|
|April 2||Game 1||3:00 p.m. local time|
|April 3||Game 2||3:00 p.m. local time|
|April 4||Game 3||3:00 p.m. local time|
|April 5||Game 4||3:00 p.m. local time|
|April 6||Tie breaks||3:00 p.m. local time|
|April 7||Closing Ceremony*|
|*Closing Ceremony can be shifted to
April 6 in the absence of tie breaks