Monaco is ready to take on the role of the world’s chess capital for the next 17 days. On November 30th, the European Chess Union stages its first European Chess Awards Ceremony with a gala that took place at the prestigious Hotel de Paris. Many famous guests including FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich and chess legends Garry Kasparov and Nona Gaprindashvili attended the event. From November 29 to December 1, Monaco also hosted the European Women’s Blitz and Rapid Championships in the Novotel Hotel.
The blitz event, a 13-round Swiss tournament brought together 88 players from 21 countries. Despite losing her last round game, Alexandra Kosteniuk scored 10 out of 13 and won the title. Antoaneta Stefanova and Valentina Gunina tied for the second with three other participants but received silver and bronze respectively thanks to better tiebreaks.
Final standings of the European Women’s Blitz Championship
1. Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS) – 10
2. Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL) – 9½
3. Valentina Gunina (RUS) – 9½
4. Marie Sebag (FRA) – 9½
5. Natalia Zhukova (UKR) – 9½
6. Alina Kashlinskaya (RUS) – 9½
7. Anna Muzychuk (UKR) – 9
8. Irina Bulmaga (ROU) – 9
9. Lilit Mkrtchian (ARM) – 9
10. Marta Michna (GER) – 8½
The second competition, an 11-round Swiss tournament saw Alexandra Kosteniuk celebrate double success. The Russian GM tied for the first with her compatriot Olga Girya but took her second title over the course of days this time due to better tiebreak (she beat her rival in the penultimate round).
Final standings of the European Women’s Rapid Chess Championship:
1. Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS) – 9
2. Olga Girya (RUS) – 9
3. Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL) – 8
4. Nino Batsiashvili (GEO) – 8
5. Valentina Gunina (RUS) – 8
6. Alina Kashlinskaya (RUS) – 8
7. Pia Cramling (SWE) – 8
8. Elisabeth Paehtz (GER) – 8
9. Natalia Zhukova (UKR) – 7½
10. Inna Gaponenko (UKR) – 7½
These events are followed by the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix, which runs December 2-15 at the Yacht Club de Monaco, under the patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II. This is the second leg of the 4-tournament Series of the World Championship Qualifying cycle for the Women World Championship 2019-2021.
The competition is a 12-participant round-robin tournament with most of the strongest female players in the world taking part. Humpy Koneru is the current leader of the Grand Prix Series, as she won the first leg in Skolkovo. The Indian is currently 3rd of the World Ranking and the highest-rated participant in Monaco. Among the stars, one should note the presence of former World Champions Alexandra Kosteniuk from Russia and Maryia Muzychuk from Ukraine, as well as living legend Pia Cramling. The Swede was already one of the best players in the world when none of her Monaco opponents had been even born yet!
List of participants:
1. Humpy Koneru
2. Alexandra Goryachkina
3. Kateryna Lagno
4. Elisabeth Paehtz
5. Valentina Gunina
6. Harika Dronavalli
7. Alexandra Kosteniuk
8. Pia Cramling
9. Anna Muzychuk
10. Mariya Muzychuk
11. Nana Dzaganidze
12. Xue Zhao
The opening ceremony takes place on December 2nd at 8 pm in the beautiful Yacht Club de Monaco. Many honored guests from the diplomatic world are expected to attend the act, as well as FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich.
The first round will be played on December 3rd. The drawing of lots has already been made at the end of October. Play starts at 3 pm for all rounds days except the last one on December 14th (1 pm). December 9th is a day-off.