Mika Won the battle against Ural!
The top seeded Ural and MIKA were engaged in fearless battle in the 4th round of the European Club Cup. Levon Aronian won a beautiful game against Gata Kamsky and Arman Pashikian beat Alexander Motylev to present MIKA with a solid lead. Vladimir Malakhov succeeded only to reduce the margin by defeating Baadur Jobava, but with all the remaining games drawn, Ural was left without match points today.
Arkadij Naiditsch played a magnificent game versus Evgeny Najer and Paco Vallejo got more out of the tactical mess on board five, which was enough for Baden Baden to sign a comfortable 4-2 victory against TPS Saransk. Much more drama was seen in Linex - Economist where three games ran into the time trouble. Eventually, Linex hero from the earlier competitions - IM Manuel Perez Candelario - succumbed to Alexander Galkin, which was the only decisive game in the match.
The struggle of the top two teams, Spartak Vidnoe and Cercle d’Echecs Monte Carlo did not have any winner, while EPAM won against Internet T-Com Podgorica with the slightest margin to join the the top two teams. All three clubs have 7 points followed by the Greek team Aspopirgos Attikis that added another game to its winning streak to meet the Monte Carlo team on round 5, while Spartak will face EPAM. More on the key round of the European Club Cup 2008 for women below.
The big match between Spartak Vidnoe and Cercle d’Echecs Monte Carlo ended as a draw with the draws on top two boards WGM Hou-GM Humpy and GM Stefanova-GM Cramling. Dzagnidze’s win against Zhao and Kosintseva’s win against Socko canceled each other out. The second and third highest rated women on earth WGM Hou Yifan and GM Koneru Humpy who met in the World Championship semi finals in Nalchik this year met each other again on the first board of the crucial match up. The clash of the two female stars ended as a draw without any obvious lapses for both sides.
Humpy Koneru herself revealed the interview that she have revealed that despite she played a different opening compared to her previous games and everything looked good for both sides in the middle game but she had some problems in the endgame stating “While transferring into the endgame, it was inferior for me. Maybe I should have played better in my arrangement of the pieces. Once I had the b file break in the queen side it was absolutely equal. The result was also good for the team since we can still play for the title.”
GM Cramling and GM Stefanova made a quick draw while IM Dzagnizde won a brilliant game against GM Zhao. The Georgian youngster forced her opponent’s king to have a journey around the board ending at h3, the point where the white king had no further escape from the mate. IM Kosintseva was the one to equalize by her win once again by utilizing the c4 outpost in the endgame.
EPAM continued its march to the top thanks to their narrow win against T-com Podgorica and joined the two other leaders Spartak Vidnoe and Monte Carlo Chess Club.Muzychuk and Hoang drew quietly. The second and third boards proceeded in a similar fashion and ended with the same result so it was the game between WGM Sharevich and IM Kovalevskaya that settled the game. White’s superior control over the center yielded the pressure on black’s camp which eventually left white with an extra camp but with opposite colored bishops and a pair of knights in the ending. In the end the decisive idea of playing f6 was executed by WGM Sharevich, the idea was already noted by GM Daniel Friedman who was already with the Chessdom team several moves before it was actually played.
The home side team Aspopirgos Attikis made another upset by grounding down Panevezys Chess Club thanks to the wins scored by WIM Cherenkova and WFM Farkretdinova while WIM Papadopolou hold IM Ciuksyte to a draw which were enough for the Athens team to get paired with the defending champions Cercle d’Echecs Monte Carlo and they are at the fourth place.
The two strong Russian clubs that were struggling including the winners of the 2008 Russian Team Championship Finek St.Petersburg and Economist Saratov faced each other on the fifth board. The Russian champions from St.Peterbrug went down with 1-3 while Econonist Saratov continued to look for a comeback after IM Ushenina and WGM Kovanova’s win against IM Korbut and IM Turova respectively.
MIKA Yerevan won against the Rumenian Cotnari-Politehnica Ias with the slightest margin, with the wins of IM Danielia and IM Khurtsidze despite the draw of GM Chiburdanidze with IM Peptan and the loss of Mrktchian against WGM Motoc. Rudar Ugljevcik was another team to score a close victory but against Herzliya Chess Club as did Vandoeuvre Echecs against SK Gross-Lenha. The French team inflicted yet another loss to the home side from Thessaloniki by 2.5-1.5 again.