Reports May 15, 2020 | 4:42 PMby Colin McGourty

Steinitz Women’s Day 1: Kosteniuk leads with 5.5/6

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.

Alexandra Kosteniuk was almost perfect on Day 1 of the Steinitz Memorial | photo: David Llada, FIDE

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:

See also:

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