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Round 7: Cramling and Yifan Back on Top

Pia Cramling won the crucial game against Ekaterina Atal?k while Hou Yifan won against Irina Krush. The two players are now sharing the first place, another change in the leading position, with 5.5 out of 7 followed by Ekaterina Atal?k with 5 out of 7. The other local player Betül Cemre Y?ld?z won her second game against Lela Javakishvili. Detailed report with pictures together with the analysis of Cramling-Atal?k game is available below analyzed by IM Pruess.
SNo.   Name Rtg Res.   Name Rtg SNo.
4 IM USHENINA Anna 2484 ½  -  ½ GM CHEN Zhu 2548 10
5 WIM YILDIZ Betul Cemre 2207 1  -  0 IM JAVAKHISHVILI Lela 2470 3
6 GM CRAMLING Pia 2524 1  -  0 IM ATALIK Ekaterina 2408 2
7 WGM YIFAN Hou 2527 1  -  0 IM KRUSH Irina 2473 1
8 WGM XUE Zhao 2517 ½  -  ½ IM DRONAVALLI Harika 2455 9


The crucial game between Atal?k and Cramling which would even prove decisive in determining the winner ended as a loss for the "home" side playing with black pieces.

Cramling Pia (GM) - Atalik Ekaterina (IM) [D38]
?? Bank Ataturk International Women Masters Istanbul (7), 17.03.2008

Half a point behind, with three rounds to go GM Cramling held the white pieces against the leading IM Atalik. It was a chance to pull ahead in the home stretch, and take her chances at first place into her own hands. She did not achieve much of an advantage out of the opening. Despite the presence of dark squared weaknesses on the black kingside, and possession of the only dark squared bishop, no good aggressive opportunities ever presented themselves. But she kept playing, and finally an opportunity did present itself. In the Q+ opposite colored Bishop endgame, Atalik failed to challenge the good squares Cramling had found for her pieces. These two pieces were able to make strong enough threats against the black king to force Atal?k to sacrifice a pawn and bail out into a bishop ending, which Cramling converted without difficulty.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.e3 c5 8.Bd3 Qa5 9.Qc2

c3 does not actually require defense but Qc2 is a useful enough move, developing and fighting for control of e4.

9...c4 10.Bf5 0-0 11.0-0 Re8 12.Nd2 g6 13.Bxd7

[Another approach to this opening is 13.Bh3 ] 13...Nxd7 14.Bh4 preparation for e4 [14.e4? Bxc3 15.bxc3 dxe4 16.Nxe4? (16.Be3 Qd5 black is slightly better) 16...Rxe4 17.Qxe4 Qxg5-+]


[I think black could radically prevent e4 with the further weakening 14...f5 15.a3 (a cool move would be 15.g4?! but sadly it lacks in effectiveness. 15...Nb6 black is slightly better (black can probably also take this pawn, but most humans would prefer Nb6 15...fxg4 16.e4) ) 15...Bxc3 (15...Bf8? 16.b4 cxb3 17.Nxb3 Qc7 18.Bg3±; 15...Bd6 16.b4 cxb3 17.Nxb3 Qc7 18.Bg3 white is slightly better) 16.bxc3 in spite of the many kside weaknesses, it doesn't seem white has any way to get at them soon. this may be an acceptable position for black.]
15.e4 Bxc3 16.bxc3 dxe4 17.Nxe4 Nd5

[17...Bf5? 18.Nf6+ Kh8 (18...Kg7 19.Nxe8+; 18...Kf8 19.Qd2) 19.Qd2+-]

18.Rae1 Bd7

[slightly preferable might be 18...Bf5 19.f3 Kg7 (19...Bxe4!? 20.fxe4 Nxc3 21.Re3 Nb5 22.Qxc4 Nd6 23.Qb3 Qb6 seems very close to equal) 20.g4 Bd7 21.Bg3 f6 is balanced 22.Nc5 Bc6]

19.f3 Qa3 20.Qd2 Re6 21.Nc5

[the queen on a3 can defend the kingside: 21.Qh6 Qf8]

21...Rxe1 22.Rxe1 Bc6 23.Ne4 Re8 24.Nf6+ Nxf6 25.Bxf6 Rxe1+ 26.Qxe1 h6?!

[26...Qd6 white is slightly better It seems logical to immediately challenge the Bf6 which is hemming in the black king. After this centralization of the black queen, I don't think Katya would have had too much to fear.]


The white pieces have assumed extremely dominating positions. At some point white will make mate threats against the black king.


[the white pieces must be challenged! this seems like the last chance: 27...Qf8 28.h4 Qe8 white is slightly better and white's advantage is under control]

28.Kf2 Kh7

[black's defenses are probably inadequate now. if she tries: 28...Qd2+ 29.Kg3 g5 30.h4 Qf4+ 31.Qxf4 gxf4+ 32.Kxf4 this endgame will probably be lost, like in the game]


[if 29.Bh8 Qd2+ 30.Kg3 Qg5+ 31.Qxg5 hxg5 32.Bf6 black is quite likely to save the endgame]

29...Qc2+ 30.Kg3

On an indifferent move follows Bh8. black no longer has better than to make a very unfavorable exchange of queens. More even than the loss of a pawn, the white king's easy path into the center (supporting the d5 pawn) decides.


30...Qf5 31.Qxf5 gxf5 32.h5!

A doubly virtuous move! White keeps the black king from joining the white king in the center via g6. Also white nails down the Ph6, so that even if the black king eventually went to the center, white might win with Bg7.


The black queenside pawns provide minimal counterplay.

33.a3 a5 34.Kf4 Kg8 35.Kxf5 b4

[35...Kf8 36.Ke5 b4 36.d5 seems to be winning]

36.cxb4 axb4 37.axb4 c3 38.d5 c2 39.Bb2 Bxd5 40.b5 Kf8 41.Ke5 Be4 42.Kxe4 1-0
img_4682 img_4666

Left:Pia Cramling Right: Ekaterina Atal?k

The opposite bishop endgame which occured in the end was quite bad for black since white king had the path to come and support the d pawn but black king was out of play. This enabled white to win the endgame and captured the leadership flag from Atal?k.


Left: Hou Yifan recording Nd4 down Right: Yifan and Krush


Local audience checking whether everything is all right


The game between Xue and Dronavalli ended as a draw after a long fight but it should have been winning for white as the two made amazing post-mortem at the board they played the games since it was the longest game of the round. The two made an amazing piece of analysis with quickly checking variations then putting pieces back in a second whenever they finish checking one continuation after another.

Harika Dronavalli is doubtful whether the move Xue suggests is still working...


Anna Ushenina and Zhu Chen ready for the round

Anna Ushenina and Zhu Chen had a quick draw one of the rare instances in the competition. Afterwards, they checked the game in the analysis hall.


FIDE Honorary President who arrived in Istanbul for FIDE Presidential Board Meeting is checking Betül Cemre Y?ld?z who were to win her second game against Lela Javakhishvili.


Turkish youngster seemed to have some space advantage which would not be telling and everyting seemed to be order until Kf1 but after that black gained some initiative. However, taking on g2 and the weirdly placed rook on g2 were not sufficient for black to have a winning attack. It looked like the excite will melt down but black did not prefer Bf3 so the c pawn which came from b2 was now on c6 and this pawn together with some tactics proved decisive for the Turkish side. The Turkish fans experinced the day and night at the same time since Atal?k who is playing for the first place lost the crucial encounter against Swedish grandmaster Pia Cramling.







 AWM 2008