You follow Serbian chess and you are familiar with the current situation in the chess world. It seems to us that your connection with chess is still very strong, even though you are not an active player anymore.
I may have prematurely left competitive chess, but that does not mean I have lost touch with the problems of practical play. That is why I am happy that Belgrade, with this big competition, revives its rich chess past and long tradition of powerful chess centres of the world.
For the rest day, the organizers prepared a small excursion for the players and their accompanying persons - sightseeing with an „Open Top“ bus.
We started at 8 pm from hotel Metropol Palace, and with laughter and pleasant conversation, we headed to the streets of Belgrade.
The route was: Hotel Metropol Palace - Kneza Milosa - Bulevar Vojvode Putnika - Bulevar Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic (House of Flowers) - Dr. Milutin Ivkovic - Bulevar of Liberation - Slavija Square - King Milan – Terazije - Kolarceva - Republic Square - Vase Carapica - Students’ Square - Tadeusa Koscuska - Bulevar Vojvode Bojovica (Sava port) - Karadjordjeva-Branko's Bridge - Bulevar Mihajla Pupina - Bulevar Milutina Milankovica - Antifasisticke borbe (Antifascist struggle) - Jurija Gagarina - Ada Bridge - Vladimira Popovica- Zemun road - Brank’s Bridge Brankova - Prizrenska-Terazije - Hotel Metropol Palace.
It seemed that the players didn't mind a little fresher evening than the previous ones, so with the wind in their hair they enjoyed the ride and beautiful panorama.
The Russians enjoyed the most, it seemed. That's why we were not surprised that the hotel Moscow on Terazije Square took many breaths away. Impressive building, beautifully illuminated, caused a great excitement of the girls. The flashes were on, and everybody was trying to take the best picture of it.
After a pleasant ride lasting for an hour and a half, we arrived at the hotel Metropol Palace, and the participants left the bus with smiles on their faces, happy that they could see Belgrade from a different perspective.
We hope they enjoyed, and that they will have long and nice memories of this little city tour.
Valentina Gunina, the current European Champion, outplayed Nino Khurtsidze with black, and made her way to the top. This is her 5th win in a row, and it seems she is fully recovered from the loss in the 2nd round.
Hoang Trang defeated Deimante Daulyte, in a game which was most likely to finish as a draw. But Hungarian squeezed the rook endgame and eventually scored.
Both Muzychuk sisters won, Anna defeated Sabrina Vega Gutierrez, and Mariya defeated Anastasia Savina.
Nana Dzagnidze outplayed former European Champion Ekatarina Atalik, who was indeed giving her best to defend the position, which was slowly falling apart. Eventually she couldn't save it and had to resign.
Serbian Woman International Master Marija Rakic continues with a good play. Today she defeated Irina Bulmaga and showed some nice endgame understanding.
Meri Arabidze is also showing some nice play. By winning against Olga Girya she scored 4 wins in a row, and will face Bela Khotenashvili in a Georgian clash after the rest day.
After 7 rounds, Valentina Gunina and Hoang Trang are in the lead with 6 points, and will face each other in the 8th round. Looking forward to seeing many exciting games, and until then, let the players catch their breath and relax before the final battles.
Yugoslav chess legend, former World No. 3, one of the best chess players from these parts ever, Grandmaster Ljubomir Ljubojevic, shared with us his impressions about the current state of Serbian and international chess, the influence of computers on chess and development of chess ways of thinking, and about the specificities of the profession of the modern chess player.
I belong to the generation which wasn't even born at the time you were at the peak of your career. So, for us, who belong to this younger generation, it is always very interesting to hear stories about the time when chess in these parts of the world had a much greater influence than nowadays.
We spoke to Jovana Eric, young Serbian Woman International Master, who drew in the 6th round with former double Women's European Champion, Grandmaster Tatiana Kosintseva.
Jovana, can you tell us your impressions about the game?