Kosteniuk Prevails At Espot B-Cup 2

Kosteniuk Prevails At Espot B-Cup 2


GM Alexandra Kosteniuk won the B-Cup 2 presented by Chess.com, hosted at Espot Paris on June 17. In the final, she scored a perfect 3-0 to defeat GM Pavel Tregubov

GM Laurent Fressinet and IM Wojtek Sochacki were semifinalists. GM Etienne Bacrot, FM Anna-Maja Kazarian, Alexandre Bacrot, and Cesar Texier were quarterfinalists. GM Benjamin Bok won the open bullet arena.

How To Watch

Live broadcast of the event, hosted by NM Kevin Bordi and Kazarian.

The B-Cup 2 was a riveting competitive event with a unique audience experience. Instead of the traditional silent tournament hall with the glaring eyes of grandmasters at the slightest sound, spectators are encouraged to cheer aloud as players duke out their games.

The finalists and hosts take a selfie with the live audience.

This special event took place at Espot Paris, a vast gaming venue in the center of the city. 

Open Bullet Arena

The open bullet arena offered players all over the world a chance to join in and compete against the competitors present in Paris. Bok won clear first, winning 35 games―including a victory over the onsite top seed, Etienne Bacrot―while only losing two in the 45 minutes of back-to-back games.

With 33 wins and just three losses, Sochacki finished at the top for E-Spot Paris participants, granting him qualification for the B-Cup 2 quarterfinals. 


French number three, Etienne Bacrot, won clear first, going undefeated. His thrilling duel vs. Kosteniuk featured a whirlwind of dynamic play as both players raced their respective passers up the board. As Kosteniuk promoted to a second queen, Bacrot hunted down her lonesome king. 

The top five finishers, Etienne Bacrot, Tragubov, Kosteniuk, Alexandre Bacrot, and Kazarian qualified outright for the quarterfinals. Fressinet and Texier joined them after winning their playoff matches for the last two spots. 

You don’t often see superheroes compete in chess events.


The quarterfinals kicked of with the two highest seeds, Etienne Bacrot and Fressinet, facing off. Fressinet snatched an extra pawn early in the middlegame and pressed his edge into the double rook ending, running his opponent out of time. In the second game, the top seed flagged again, this time in an equal bishop vs. knight ending. 

After drawing the first two games, Kosteniuk knocked out Alexandre Bacrot by poking holes in his kingside with the aggressive g4-g5 and later sneaking her queen into the enemy camp for a surprise checkmate. 

Sochacki defeated Texier 2-0, starting their match by setting up a classic mating pattern. Can you find it?

White to move.

Tregubov won 2-0 vs. Kazarian, discovering a clever way to blend dynamic and strategic play in the first game. How did the French grandmaster use a tactic to gain a winning positional advantage?

White to move.

Though eliminated from the competition, Kazarian had high hopes for her opponent: “I would love to see Pavel and Alexandra make it to the final. That would be my wish.” 

Anna-Maja Kazarian was an integral part of the competition while hosting the English livestream.


The closest head-to-head match was Fressinet vs. Kosteniuk. Fressinet won the first game, putting Kosteniuk in a must-win position for the next. She succeeded in winning on demand, and the match raged on with a tied score. The next decisive game would decide who advances to the final. 

The players continued to be neck-and-neck, drawing two balanced games. In game five, Fressinet played aggressively against Kosteniuk’s Dutch Defense, sacrificing a knight to rip open the h5-e8 diagonal and chase down her king. Despite all her pieces being on the back rank except her king, which was reluctantly pushed forward, Kosteniuk defended perceptively and gradually untangled her passive position with a series of only moves. Then, she seized the opportunity to launch her own pressure against the enemy king. 

Tregubov went 2-0 in his match vs. Sochacki, convincingly winning against his lower rated opponent. 

This meant the finale would feature the epic matchup of Kosteniuk vs. Tregubov―wife vs. husband―with everything on the line. 


The 12th women’s world champion showed no mercy to her fellow grandmaster spouse, winning the final match 3-0. In the last game, despite only needing a draw to win the event, Kosteniuk stayed true to her aggressive style, trying a speculative queen sacrifice to gather three of her minor pieces and one rook to tango with the enemy king. 

As soon as Kosteniuk clinched victory, the crowd cheered as she was presented with the flaming torch trophy and a giant check. 

All Games – Qualifier

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