Former Women’s World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk reigned supreme on Day 1 of the FIDE Women’s Online Steinitz Memorial. She played resourcefully and then gratefully accepted as her rivals blundered left, right and centre to reach 5/5, before taking a draw against Lei Tingjie in Round 6. Another former Women’s Champion Tan Zhongyi is second on 4/5, but there are still 12 rounds of blitz to go, so anything can happen.
Each day of the Steinitz Memorial will feature 60 blitz games, with the women’s section starting at 15:00 CEST before the men play from around 18:30 CEST. Jan Gustafsson and Peter Leko will be commentating on all the action:
You can replay all the women’s games using the selector below:
The way the tournament began for Russia’s Alexandra Kosteniuk was an omen for what would follow. Her French opponent Marie Sebag had a chance to take on f2 earlier when it was winning material, but she went for it with 63…Bxf2?
64.Be5+! was a game winning fork. That was echoed in Round 3 when the unfortunate Deysi Cori from Peru, who ended the day on 0/6, played 50.Rb6? in an equal position:
50…Rxf2+! 51.Kxf2 Bc5+! and once again Alexandra had won a rook. You need to be alert and resourceful to get lucky, however, and that was nowhere clearer than in a wild game against German no. 1 Elisabeth Paehtz:
Elisabeth was winning with Black, but 37.Rxe5! turned out to be an inspired last try. 37…Bxe5 38.Qxe5+ Qg7 39.Qxf4 is only a draw, and while it’s true that 37…Nd3! (or the very tricky 37…a6!) win, it’s easy to be knocked off balance in a blitz game. After 37…Qg7 White was right back in the game and even won after some more adventures.
It was a mixed day for top seed Kateryna Lagno, who lost to Paehtz and never really got going, but with 12 rounds to go she remains well-placed on 3.5/6:
There’s only a short break before the open section of the Steinitz Memorial takes over, so don’t miss all the games each day from 18:30 CEST:
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