Nis, Serbia and Montenegro
The Serbia and Montenegro Woman Chess Champion was crowned in this March. (WGM) Irina Chelushkina came from behind to defeat (WGM) Suzana Maksimovic 2 ½ - 1 ½ in a match held in Nis. The match was set up after both women earlier scored 7-2 at the Individual SCG Woman Championship round robin in Tivat.
The first game began in hypermodern fashion when Chelushkina opened with 1.g3. After a positional struggle Maksimovic managed to create a dangerous looking passed pawn on the b file. White was able to eliminate it at the cost of a bishop, but with three connected passed pawns on the kingside White had sufficient compensation and the draw was agreed on move 59. In game two Chelushkina adopted a Queen' s Indian type setup with Black, but Maksimovic advanced her pawn to d6 on move 15 and threatened right away to support it with e5. Black was forced to relinquish the exchange to prevent this, and the rest was a matter of technique for Maksimovic, who seized the initiative in the match. Cheluskina went back to the king bishop fianchetto in game three. White was able to post a knight on b6 in the early middlegame, blocking the Black queenside. Maksimovic tried to generate counterplay on the kingside, but Cheluskina calmly traded off the queens. In the maneuvering that followed the weak black pawn structure decided the issue, and Cheluskina had tied it up. With everything on the line in game four Maksimovic was too cautious in the opening and Cheluskina took over the center with her pawns. White tried to break up the phalanx with a risky knight capture on e5, but the ensuing pin on the file netted Irina Cheluskina a piece, victory on move 26 and the Serbia-Montenegro woman' s crown. Monroi would like to congratulate the Serbia and Montenegro Chess Federation for a highly successful championship match. The games were keenly observed by a devoted group of spectators every night, attesting to the strong state of chess affairs in the country. Kudos to Director Ljubivoje Perunovic and Chief Arbiter Sava Kizova for their stellar efforts in overseeing this prestigious event.