Sunday, April 20, 2008

JAPFA Chess Festival

News on Irene Kharisma Sukandar's quest for a WGM norm: April 21, 2008 Irene edges 1st Grandmaster norm The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Indonesia's chess star Irene Kharisma Sukandar is only one win away from earning her first Grandmaster norm after she beat the odds by outsmarting top seed Woman Grandmaster Li Ruofan of Singapore in the ninth round of the Japfa Chess Festival. The 16-year-old Woman International Master, who is expected to become the first Indonesian to claim the Woman Grandmaster title, ended Ruofan's unbeaten run on the 23rd move in Saturday's evening match at the Indonesian Sports Council in Central Jakarta. "I was surprised I won," she told The Jakarta Post. This was Irene's first win over the overnight leader. She drew Ruofan in both their meetings last year. "I guess she (Ruofan) was too tired so she made a fatal blunder in the middle of the game. She did not play her best," Irene said. Despite the victory, Irene, who has bagged 5.5 points from three draws and four wins during the tournament, must win the last round against Woman Grandmaster Jana Krivec of Slovenia on Sunday to garner 6.5 points, the points required to claim a Grandmaster norm. In the eighth-round match in the morning, Irene drew Pokorna on the 39th move. Irene admitted the final match would be tough for her. She will be playing the black side in the match, a position she believes is unfavorable for taking the offensive. "I hope I can play relaxed and do my best, because it is such a decisive match," she said. "I found I could play my best when I played with a lot of composure. I hate that I did not find my best earlier on," she The Jakarta Post. Irene dropped her third and fourth rounds to Woman Grandmaster Regina Pokorna of Slovakia and Slovenian Krivec before finally regaining her momentum. She will spend the night preparing tactics for Sunday's match with her coach Tiber Karolyi of Hungary. She said earlier she needs "a miracle" to win her first norm after missing a golden opportunity last month during the Rector International Cup tournament in Ukraine. During the Cup, she posted 6 points, only one point away from grabbing a Grandmaster norm. Despite her loss on Saturday, Ruofan still topped the standings with 6 points. The 30-year-old player acknowledged the competition was really tough. Irene and Pokorna share second place with 5.5 points. At the time of writing, Catherine Perena of the Philippines was taking on Slovenian Krivec. ... (ind)

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