The greatest ever gathering of female chess players in a mixed event takes place on the Rock next week with the start of the 10th edition of the 2012 Tradewise International Chess Festival Never before have so many of the world’s top women joined leading male players to compete in the same tournament. The women are led by the brilliant Judit Polgar, the youngest of the three Hungarian sisters who between them broke every chess record in the books, this year’s female contingent also includes champion players from China, India, Russia, the Ukraine, and the USA.
Stuart Conquest, director of the tournament, says all eyes will be on the reigning Women’s World Champion, 17 year-old Hou Yifan, coming to Gibraltar for the first time.
“Indian sensation Humpy Koneru will be keen to score well – if things go her way she could take home the special £5,000 Commonwealth prize. Anna Muzychuk, from Slovakia, has been in scintillating form lately, and looks a good bet for a high placing.”
Other female stars to follow include former World Champions Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) and Zhu Chen (Qatar), former European Champion Pia Cramling, and American rivals Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih. From Georgia, a nation famous for its support of women’s chess, come four top players, including last year’s joint female winners: Nana Dzagnidze and Salome Melia. Let’s also not forget British Women’s champion Jovanka Houska, who in December recorded a career-best performance at the London Chess Classic Open.
As well as the elite women players, many lesser-ranked females are coming to the Rock too, eager to show the men a thing or two, he adds.
“We have women entrants from Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Montenegro, and France, as well as from further afield: Chile and Pakistan are both sending players. The men had better watch out: the chess world’s best females are coming this way, and they aren’t just coming for fun – they are here on business, and that can only mean one thing: to win.”