There will be 10 rounds of play plus a tie-break, if necessary. The rounds are spaced closely together, so this isn't traditional chess, or even chess using the new and improved FIDE time controlled that were put into place some years ago in order to "speed up" the game.
Here is an alphabetical list of the invitees:
Goddess! U.S. Women's Champion IM Anna Zatonskih has been extremely active in Europe lately. Good for her. She is one of the professional female players who is balancing a family life while trying to pursue (and improve in the game) a career in chess. Of the women invitees, I know that Pia Cramling, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Kateryna Lahno and Anna Zatonskih all have young children. It could be that some of the other players could also have children, but I just haven't read about it.
It's a damn tough life, travelling for months at a time, being constantly away from your loved ones, particularly your small children. There is something out of whack with an economic system that forces people to make such excruciating choices in order to try and make a living. I don't care what the sex of the chessplayer (or worker) is; surely it is as hard on fathers to be constantly away from their families, too. But, you know the drill - Macho Man and all that baloney. Sigh.
The ladies, on the other hand, are usually very frank and open in interviews about how much they miss their husbands and children. In Anna Zatonskih's and GM Pia Cramling's cases, they are both married to chessplayers, which means that both parents are often on the road (sometimes together, but often apart), playing the Euro chess circuit and playing hit-or-miss in other invitationals around the world, as well as in the big Opens (but the chance to win big money in a popular Open that attracts other equally financially hungry players is much less).
It's brutal. I cannot imagine what such a life would be like. I cannot even manage to find some hours a week to do a one-hour chess lesson. I have to try and squeeze it in on a weekend - impossible! Or try to do it after a 12-hour day at the office. Try to focus! Neither is a good choice and, for the time being, I'm given up trying. I just have too many other things to do, and while I love chess and I would like to improve my playing skills, on the rank of items from 1 to 10, that is down about number 20.
Anyway, I wish all of these wonderfull talented players a lot of luck, and of course, being a USA gal myself, I'm rooting for Anna Zatonskih, with a close second for Florida resident GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, the 12th Women's World Chess Champion.
The matches start on February 18, 2012. Here are the pairings for Round 1:
|1||1||GM||Kosintseva Nadezhda||GM||Dzagnidze Nana||12|
|2||2||IM||Muzychuk Anna||IM||Zatonskih Anna||11|
|3||3||WGM||Mamedjarova Zeinab||GM||Chiburdanidze Maia||10|
|4||4||GM||Cmilyte Viktorija||GM||Stefanova Antoaneta||9|
|5||5||GM||Lahno Kateryna||GM||Kosteniuk Alexandra||8|
|6||6||GM||Kosintseva Tatiana||GM||Cramling Pia||7|