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How to make history
IMG 5955The participants of the World Championship do not give arbiters and journalists a break, and once again we will see them playing tie-breaks.

Jokes aside, everybody just loves thrilling games of the very high quality produced by Natalia Pogonina, Pia Cramling, Mariya Muzychuk, and Harika Dronavalli. The Russian commentator Sergey Shipov talks about the first two days of the Semifinals.

“On the first day of the Semifinals we saw one of the best games of the championship. The level of play demonstrated by Cramling in a rook ending with Pogonina meets the highest standards. This game can easily be included into endgame manuals, and studying it will benefit chess players of any level.

The return games of the Women's World Championship Semifinals were played in Sochi
IMG 5968The SCC Galactica (Sochi, Krasnaya Polyana) hosted the second games of the Semifinals. The Russian Natalia Pogonina defeated Pia Cramling (Sweden) as White and equalized the match. The game between Harika Dronavalli (India) and Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine) ended in a draw. Both matches are tied, and their outcome will be determined on tie-breaks.

In the recent years, Natalia Pogonina plays 1.d4 more frequently, however, today she needed to win on demand, and went for the more aggressive 1.е4. The players arrived at a very sharp line of the Paulsen variation of the Sicilian. On the move 8 White offered a pawn sacrifice, but Black declined the offer, aiming at a rather cramped but solid position.

Natalia Pogonina: I would take any win
IMG 5468Natalia Pogonina managed to come back for the third time at the World Championship, defeating Pia Cramling with a swift attack. After the game Natalia came to the press center for an interview.

Anastasia Karlovich: Natalia, this is the third time you win on demand at this championship! How did you do it today?

Natalia Pogonina: My opponent went into a variation that is considered dangerous for Black – a strange choice in a situation when you need a draw to advance. We arrived at a complicated position with good attacking chances for White. My maneuvering was probably not ideal, but her 17...Qc5 gave me a tempo for 18.Nb3 and 19.Nd2, after which White should have a very comfortable edge.

After that I had so many tempting continuations that it was difficult to choose between them, that's why I took so much time for my moves.

The Semifinals started at the Women's World Championship in Sochi
IMG 53211The Semifinal matches of the Women's World Chess Championship started in SCC Galactica (Sochi, Krasnaya Polyana) on March 29.

Four players continue competing for the chess crown: Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine) faces Harika Dronavalli (India), and Pia Cramling (Sweden) meets Natalia Pogonina (Russia).
These matches consist of two games with the following time control: 90 minutes for 40 moves, then 30 minutes for the rest of the game, plus 30 bonus seconds after each move. If the match is tied 1-1, it is continued on the tie-break with quicker time controls.

Mariya Muzychuk, playing White, selected the Scotch game, the opening she already employed in the previous round against another Indian player Humpy Koneru. Harika Dronavalli responded with a rare variation, and in a couple of moves the players started to explore an unknown territory.

Israel Gelfer: Sochi has become a center of chess society
IMG 5337Anastasia Karlovich: Dear chess friends, welcome to the press center of the Women’s World Chess Championship in Sochi and our guest is the FIDE Vice President Mr. Israel Gelfer. Israel, how do you feel to be here? What do you think about the organization and conditions of the championship?

Israel Gelfer: It’s marvelous place. Sochi has become a center of chess society and has been playing an important role in the world of chess. Here the World Chess Championship match took place and now the Women’s World Chess Championship is under way. It is very well organized.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Russian Chess Federation for organizing this event with excellent conditions. Every player is satisfied and the tournament goes on very well.

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