14 May 2012

U.S. Championship: Why They Play the English

Because when you have to win, it's time to bring out the English.

The following game features IM Rusudan Goletiani defeating Iryna Zenyuk in the 5th round of the Women's round-robin.  Goletiani starts with a noncommittal opening, which due to Black's choices evolves into an English-KID (King's Indian Defense) setup.  You can compare it with Annotated Game #41, which has the same position after move 7.  In this game, however, White immediately goes for the bishop and knight exchange, whereas in the previous game I delayed playing Bg5 and did not get the opportunity to make the exchange.

I found Goletiani's play both instructive and engaging, with positional maneuvering giving way to a flurry of unrelenting pressure on Black's position after she finds a key tactical flaw in her opponent's play.  Because of the importance of the opening clash and the subsequent middlegame ideas, I've provided some more detailed notes than usual.

The below game is GM Yasser Seirawan's second win of the tournament, coming in the 6th round of the championship section, which is playing two more games than the women's group.  It comes against GM Ray Robson, who is already a very strong player and still rising.  The game features an English-Grunfeld hybrid, Robson's choice on move 3, with some subsequent interesting decisions made by Seirawan that unbalance the game and generate winning possibilities.  Here it is, with some light notes.

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