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Rohonyan Goes to Tiebreak; Anna Out Print E-mail
September 2, 2008
Photo courtesy Goran Urosevic of chessdom 

In the Women's World Championship in Nalchik, Russia, U.S. representative WGM Katerina Rohonyan struck back against Inna Gaponenko to advance to round two tiebreaks tomorrow.

Gaponenko was coincidentally, Rohonyan's second Ukrainian opponent in a row. Katerina, a UMBC grad with her sights set on Seattle, once played for Ukraine also and was nicknamed the "Kiev Killer" by UMBC. 
Katerina Rohonyan talked about her game today with Goran Urosevic on behalf of chessdom and CLO. (All comments by Rohonyan in italics)

 Inna Gaponenko
(who just needed a draw to advance) was trying to simplify from the very beginning and at some point she traded her light-squared bishop for a knight. I thought that, in spite of opposite-colored bishop, there were still lots of possibilities in the resulting position, because queens are on the board.

Position after 22...a5

When Inna played 22...a5, I was happy to place my bishop on a4, from where it controls important diagonal a4-e8, and I thought to myself - I will try to squeeze out whatever I can.

Position after 32...Qxe8

Later on, I decided to exchange the queens and take a pawn (with Qxd5+ in the position above), because there didn't seem to be anything better.
Position after 47...Bf8

In this endgame with opposite-colored bishops, the only practical chance was to sacrifice a bishop on f5. I calculated and saw that a few lines were winning. I couldn't see everything, but I decided to go for it.

Final Position in Rohonyan-Gaponenko, after 57.h6

In the final aesthetic position above, Gaponenko resigned in view of d2 Kg6 mating or Kh7 Ke6 (not f7?? Bxg7) d2 Kf7 winning. 

Here are both full games from the Gaponenko-Rohonyan match so far:



Katerina said today that she first hesitated to play in Nalchik and some of her friends advised her not to go. But earlier she traveled to Azerbaijan and had no problems whatsoever, in spite of her last name of Armenian origin.  "Since I survived that trip, I (felt) prepared to go anywhere."

Katerina added that after she had won that first game against Zhukova, she said to herself that that victory alone made it worth coming to Nalchik.

Be sure to watch Rohonyan tomorrow in the tiebreak against Gaponenko. The winner of that match will play the winner of Stefanova-Ju Wenjun, which also goes to tiebreaks. Check out the full bracket.

Anna Zatonskih in Nalchik. Photo Goran Urosevic of chessdom.com

Meanwhile, 2008 U.S. Women's Champion Anna Zatonskih is out of the competition after drawing a wild game against Tatiana Kosintseva of Russia. Anna lost her first game of the mini-match, so she needed to win at all costs, and Anna did have her chances. In the following position, she found a great idea.

Position after 42.Rf2

Anna just played 42.Rf2, which at first glance looks like a blunder because of 42...Rxg2+ when Rg2 is impossible because of Qxe1. However, Anna played 43.Kxg2 Qg3+ 44.Kh1 Qxf2 and after 45.Rg1!, Rxg7 is a huge threat. Re7 doesn't help in view of Qb8+ and Qxf4 so Tatiana Kosintseva tried 45...Be2. After a few moves, they reached this position: 

Position after 48...Qxf3+

Zatonskih should win but she had to find a series of accurate moves. Her mistake was 49.Rg2 in the above position, after which Kosintseva found a forced variation that leads to a draw: 49...Qh3+ Kg1 Qe3+ Kh2 Rg8! Instead, Anna should have played 49. Kh2 when Qf2+ loses to the simple Rg2 when the f4-pawn conveniently blocks all perpetuals. After 49. Kh2, Black should try 49...Qe4 50.Qf7 f3 White should not play Qxe8? but can win with the simple Rh7+ Qxh7 Qxe8 Qg8 Qxg8 Kxg8 and the outside passed pawn assures victory.

So after a very near miss, Anna Zatonskih is eliminated.



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