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Stefanova wins World Chess title

Last updated on: June 07, 2004 10:56 IST

Grandmaster Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria carved out a hard fought draw in the third game of the final match against Women Grandmaster Ekaterina Kovalevskaya of Russia to lift the World Women's Chess Championship title in Elista.

Needing just a draw following her two brilliant victories in the first two games of the match, Stefanova achieved the needful after 51 moves.

Stefanova wrested the title from Chinese Zhu Chen and also ended Chinese Supremacy in the Women's Chess in the new Millennium with her victory.

It may be recalled that Chinese Women, Xie June and Zhu Chen had split the title between themselves since 1999. Quite interestingly both Jun and Chen opted out of this year's championship citing personal reasons.

"It is yet to sink in, perhaps it will take some time to dawn on me that I have actually done it," said Stefanova who had arrived with a make-shift compatriot trainer Grandmaster Vladimir Georgiev during the course of event.

The Bulgarian bagged a winner's cheque of USD 60000, while Kovalevskya got USD 30000 for her effort.

The third game of the final gave some scares to the Bulgarian who had to wriggle out of a pawn less endgame. It was the tension yet again that played supreme in the minds of both the players and for the first time it appeared in the four-game match that Kovalevskaya was giving it her best.

Earlier both players battled a Glek variation with the Russian playing white. Stefanova was forced to part with a pawn as the rook and minor piece endgame approached but found compensation in the form of her more active pieces and a centralised king that won back the pawn.

Speaking about her performance in general and her last game in particular Stefanova said, "All the previous matches turned out to be not very simple for me and therefore I had been preparing for today's game very seriously considering it to be rather difficult battle. Actually I was right when I thought so, as Kovalevskaya had a good position and I could have lost but everything turned to be fine."

Stefanova, the 2002 European Women Champion attributed her success to her father who was also her first coach. "I think he has played a big part in world championship also," quipped the 25-years old champion.


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