The European Women’s Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship, organized by the Monegasque Chess Federation, took place at the Novotel Hotel, where participants from all over Europe competed for the title of best European chess player.
13 rounds were played using the fast-paced Swiss system, in increments of 2 seconds per move. According to Emil Sutovsky, president of the Association of Chess Professionals, the championship was probably the strongest European rapid championship ever and one of the most important competitions organized in Monaco. There were lots of players from out of town, but many excellent players are based here in Monaco. He believes the competition was an utter success, since the Principality brought all the best European players together.
Almira Skripchenko, who played for Team France, was born in the Soviet Union. For her, chess is both cultural and competitive. The professional players live each tournament with great intensity. She imagines that for the wider public and for spectators, it’s difficult to conceive that chess is a sport and above all, a very intense sport. But when playing 13 rounds one after another, adrenaline levels rise and fall and it’s sometimes difficult to manage all the nervous pressure. For her, it’s a spectacular and very difficult exercise.
Chess assembles young and old, girls and boys of all nationalities. Once seated in front of the chess pieces, only the game matters. Noëla Joyce Lomandong, a young Monegasque, started playing when she was 5 years old. Her father had played in the Philippines and wanted to teach her and her brother to play. They went to Menton to find a club before realizing there was a local club in Monaco.
Anna Musychuk, from Ukraine, won the championship with 9 out of 11 points. The Rapid & Blitz tournament 2nd and 3rd place winners were both from Russia.