Jermuk- Final Impressions
Jermuk is probably the most famous mountain resort in Armenia. The country that is mainly associated with the Ararat Mountains (which are already part of Turkey) is proud to have such a wonderful place. It also becomes one of the hottest spots on the chess map of the world after the second Grand Prix tournament, this time for females.
There are many things that make the place special-the extremely fresh air, wonderful mineral water springs, the beauties of the mountains, the view of Jermuk from above, the lake and the local waterfall. Those were things that the players enjoyed mostly during their free day. Another important thing is the experience that the Armenians have after the Men Grand Prix, the incredible chess tradition for such a small country, their hospitality, and the will to do things the right way. The chief organizer and right hand of the president of Armenia GM Smbat Lputian is the best sample of that. He is not only an experienced and famous GM, he is inside the game from very long time, and knows what the players need to show their best. During the free day when the mayor of the town gave lunch for the participants and the trainers we learned something more about him. He was making the toasts-greeting us all, and especially Nona Gapridanshvili, who was celebrating her birthday then, when Zurab Sturua stood and gave a toast for the organizer himself. “He is also ours” said Gaprindashvili. “Yes, we won the USSR championship back in 1977 for the team of… Georgia”, adds Sturua. Lputian told us that he dreamed to have Jermuk as a chess town since the time that he first saw it. He is now happy that this dream came true.
The tournament was very popular in Armenia as a whole. From the start of our journey at the Erevan airport, I saw many posters on the road to Jermuk. Daily reports were shown on the national TV. During the event Armenian school for young talents was established in Jermuk, and almost all the best young Armenian players participated in a tournament nearby the venue. Those young players took the chance to make pictures with some of the participants at the closing ceremony.
How did the tournament go? Nana Dzagnidze won her first Grand Prix tournament in an impressive manner after a stormy start- 7.5/8, with wins against her main rivals. She showed good preparation (this is the place to mention once again her trainer Zurab Sturua), excellent calculation skills, and above all-strong will and nerves. Tatiana Kosintseva took clear second and produced many modal games. Despite her loss against Dzagnidze, she was the only pursuer that the Georgian had. Third-fifth places were shared by L. Mkrtchian, A. Stefanova and E. Danielian. Both the Armenian players can be fully satisfied with their performance in the strong field, while Ety can be satisfied with the way that she recovered after the poor start. The elo favourite Hou Yifan looked very tired after two extra strong tournaments that she played in China. Shen Yang played very interesting games, and could do better, while Pia Cramling made it to the fifty percents only thanks to her final two wins. Both former champions M. Chiburdanidze and Xu Yuhua must be disappointed by their pale performance, as well as B. Kovanova and M. Fierro.
After the fourth tournament from the Grand Prix series, the leader in the overall ranking is Nana Dzagnidze who has in her active a first, second and third place. Tatiana Kosintseva is in the battlefor the overall victory too, with a first and second place, while Xu Yuhua and Humpy Koneru have also won tournaments so far. Let me remind you that the overall winner of the Grand Prix Series receives the chance to challenge the winner of the Women World Cup in a match for the world title.