Thursday, October 9, 2008

China, Bulgaria share rapid chess gold medals

BEIJING, Oct. 8- 2008 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Bu Xiangzhi was crowned in men's rapid chess event at the World Mind Games here on Wednesday, while the gold in women's competition was clinched by Bulgarian pinup blonde player Stefanova Antoaneta.

In the short two-round final, Bu, whose world ranking was above his rival, beat Korobov Anton from Ukraine in the opening round and forced the latter to ask for a draw in the second. Bu's victory also gifted the Chinese chess team the first gold of the 15-day Games.

"It was really difficult in the second game as I couldn't find any offence chance. But later, things changed and I found a critical opportunity to grasp the momentum tightly," said Bu.

"Anyway, it feels great to win the gold, especially the first one for our team. I hope we can play better in the following team events," added the 23-year-old winner.

In the third-place playoff, Zhang Zhong from Singapore outscored his Brazilian opponent Fier Alexandr 2-1 to wrap up the bronze.

Women's final was between old rivals Chinese Zhao Xue and former world champion Stefanova. Apparently in better form, the 29-year-old Bulgarian started with a tight defense and then gained initiative by abandoning the soldiers to seize Zhao's queen.

Taking the white chessman, Zhao has to win the second round to stage a turnover. But the less experienced Zhao failed to start well in faced with Stefanova intricate routines and lost to the veteran again after her same defeat in the preliminaries.

Zhao's teammate Huang Qian survived a three round seesaw battle to beat Houska Jovanka of Britain for the bronze.

When asked about her title of "chess beauty", the Bulgaria winner smiled shyly.

"Appearance doesn't necessarily contradict with wisdom," said Stefanova.

"Of course I don't mean to say myself," the girl soon added, "in international events there are many pretty girls, and I hope Icould meet more such rivals in the future."

Russian "chess queen" Kosteniuk Alexandra who impressed audiences with her Hapburn-style hat and Chinese 14-year-old hopeful Hou Yifan finished seventh and eighth due to their not-so-good performances in the preliminaries.