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fourth round review by IM Elisabeth Paehtz
IMG 3889The quarterfinal was one of the most crucial rounds of this tournament. With Humpy Koneru and Anna Muzychuk the last two top favorites had to leave the tournament.

However this I would not even consider the only surprise of that round. The last remaining Russian hope Natalia Pogonina managed to strike back with black pieces in her classical game and eventually kicked out the last and by-the-way her third Chinese "victim" of this championship - Zhao Xue.

The only girl which escaped the tiebreak was Harika Dronavalli from India who was able to beat her opponent, and so far one of the biggest phenomenons of this tournament, Meri Arabidze from Georgia.

There is only one girl of the top 15 remaining in this tournament - Marya Muzychuk - the younger sister of Anna. She had the toughest pairing of this round, facing Indian top seed Humpy "the unbeatable" Koneru, who won up to that moment, frankly speaking, all her games in a very convincing manner!

Resetting the mindset
 MG 4728 idThe top seed Humpy Koneru is eliminated from the championship after tactical mishap in the rapid games. Natalija Pogonina exceded her own expectations to keep the Russian hopes alive. Pia Cramling continued to terrorize the young stars, knocking-out the 3rd-seed Anna Muzychuk.

Curiously, elo favorites went down in all three tie-breaks of the day. Grandmaster Evgeny Miroshnichenko brings you the details.

Humpy Koneru - Mariya Muzychuk

"It was a weird match to be honest, because in both classical and both rapid games it looked like Koneru is dominating, she was outplaying Masha practically from every position.

But when it came to tactics, meaning in both today's rapids, it was unbelievable. Same as in the first classical game.

Pia Cramling: I just forgot that I should play solid
IMG 5215Pia Cramling eliminated the higher-rated Anna Muzychuk after the tie-breaks and qualified for the Semifinals. FIDE Press Officer interviewed Cramling after the match.

Anastasia Karlovich: Dear chess friends, we are welcoming Pia Cramling in our press center, who has just outplayed Anna Muzychuk in the tie-breaks. Congratulations, Pia, it was a very interesting tie-break. Please tell us about your rapid games?

Pia Cramling: In the first game I was very worried. My opponent had better after the opening. She could make strike directly but she played c4, and I made Be6 move, probably I should have taken Bf5 and go Ne6 directly. I let her get the chance to triple on f file. Then afterwards, when I let her take on f7, I think I had a little compensation. I played Rd8, and push my d-pawn and I had a good knight. But of course I was very lucky that I could win. Of course she had a pawn up. But somehow my king was in a game, and I had more time. The game has changed completely.

The pairs of the semifinalists determined at the Women's World Championship in Sochi
wcc 04 24The tie-breaks of the Women's World Chess Championship were played in SCC Galactica (Sochi, Krasnaya Polyana) on March 28. Six players returned to the venue to determine the semifinalists in rapid and blitz games.

Natalia Pogonina (Russia) once again used the Benko gambit against Zhao Xue (China). Yesterday this opening allowed her to come back after the first game loss, today it gave her a comfortable lead on tie-break.

Zhao Xue did not prepare any improvement, and Black got a good game. In the subsequent maneuvering struggle White played imprecisely. Black pieces broke into the enemy camp, and Pogonina won a piece with a little combination, securing the match lead.

A blitz tournament for children was held at the Women's World Championship
IMG 5236A traditional blitz tournament for children of Sochi Olympic Sports School #11 was organized in the SCC Galactica on March 28.

Alexander Tkachev, tournament director of the World Championship, showed his territory to the guests. There was a standard program – playing hall, RCF Chess Museum exposition, press center, and it all made kids very excited.

They even organized an improvised press-conference, interviewing Alisa Demchenko, one of the strongest players of the school. A boy who acted as a host of the press-conference was asked whom he considers the best chess journalist. Without hesitation he named Mark Glukhovsky, the former chief editor of 64-Chess Review. The press-conference went on flawlessly and was followed by a blitz tournament.

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