13 March 2013

2013 Women's World Team Championship

I followed this year's Women's World Team Championship with great interest and was not disappointed, due to the high level of fighting chess.  The U.S. team placed in the middle, after a slow start but a stronger finish including a victory over the Russian team in round 7.

The following games caught my attention in particular.

Round 7: GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) - IM Irina Krush (USA)
In this game Krush plays with fire in a Richter-Rauzer Open Sicilian, but it's her opponent who ends up getting burned.  After the middlegame fireworks explode all over the board, by move 34 an unusual material balance (N+2 pawns vs. rook) is present.  Just looking at the position then, one thinks that the Black rook has the upper hand, given the open nature of the position and the pawn structure, but it takes some more creative play from Krush to overcome Kosteniuk.  The key move at the end seems to be 43...Bc1! which White could have prevented by taking the Black b-pawn earlier.

[Event "FIDE Women’s World Teams"] [Site "Astana KAZ"] [Date "2013.03.10"] [Round "7.2"] [White "Kosteniuk, Alexandra"] [Black "Krush, Irina"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B66"] [WhiteElo "2495"] [BlackElo "2448"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2013.03.03"] [WhiteTeam "RUS"] [BlackTeam "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O h6 9. Be3 Qc7 10. f3 Rb8 11. g4 Ne5 12. Kb1 b5 13. Bd3 b4 14. Nce2 d5 15. g5 hxg5 16. Bxg5 dxe4 17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. Bxe4 Bd7 19. Qf4 Ke7 20. Qg3 Bh6 21. f4 Nc4 22. Rhe1 f5 23. Bd3 Nd6 24. Ng1 Kf8 25. Ngf3 a5 26. Ne5 a4 27. Nxd7%2B Qxd7 28. Bb5 Qc7 29. Bxa4 Ne4 30. Qb3 Bxf4 31. Qxe6 fxe6 32. Nxe6%2B Kf7 33. Nxc7 Nd2%2B 34. Rxd2 Bxd2 35. Bb3%2B Kf6 36. Re6%2B Kg5 37. Re2 Bf4 38. Rg2%2B Kh4 39. Ne6 Be3 40. a4 bxa3 41. Rg7 Rh6 42. Nc7 axb2 43. Re7 Bc1 44. Ne6 Ra8 45. Ba2 Rhh8 46. Nc7 Ra7 47. Rd7 f4 48. Rg7 f3 49. Rf7 f2 0-1

Round 7: WGM Olga Girya (Russia) - WIM Viktorija Ni (USA)
The most striking thing about this game is the final tactical sequence, in which White clearly lacked the requisite sense of danger.  White's position is in fact fine, but what appears to be an obvious defensive interposition is punished by a classic pinning theme.  Ni clearly never gave up trying to create winning chances for herself and was rewarded for her tenacity, as this win plus Krush's gave the U.S. team the victory.

[Event "FIDE Women’s World Teams"] [Site "Astana KAZ"] [Date "2013.03.10"] [Round "7.4"] [White "Girya, Olga"] [Black "Ni, Viktorija"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E46"] [WhiteElo "2440"] [BlackElo "2263"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2013.03.03"] [WhiteTeam "RUS"] [BlackTeam "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Nge2 Re8 6. a3 Bf8 7. d5 d6 8. dxe6 Bxe6 9. Nf4 Bg4 10. Qc2 Nc6 11. h3 Bd7 12. Be2 Ne5 13. O-O Qc8 14. b3 Ng6 15. Nxg6 hxg6 16. e4 c6 17. Rd1 b5 18. Bf4 Re6 19. Rd2 a5 20. cxb5 cxb5 21. Bxb5 Bxb5 22. Nxb5 Nxe4 23. Re2 Qb7 24. Nc3 d5 25. Nxe4 dxe4 26. Rae1 Rc8 27. Qb2 Rb6 28. Re3 Qd5 29. Be5 f5 30. Bd4 Rb5 31. a4 Rb4 32. Be5 Re8 33. Bf4 Be7 34. Rg3 Bf6 35. Qd2 Rd4 36. Qc2 Kh7 37. h4 e3 38. Rgxe3 Rxe3 39. Bxe3 Rxh4 40. Rd1 Qb7 41. f4 Rg4 42. Rd2 Qf3 43. Qc5 Qg3 44. Rf2 Rh4 45. Qc1 Rh3 46. Rf3 Qh2%2B 47. Kf1 Qh1%2B 48. Bg1 Rxf3%2B 49. gxf3 Bd4 0-1

Round 8: IM Irina Krush (USA) - GM Anna Ushenina (Ukraine)
Krush here defeats the current Women's World Champion, having disposed of former World Champion Kosteniuk the previous round.  This game has a completely different character, as White chooses a compact Reti-type structure and maneuvers quietly for the first 12 moves.  After that, though, the latent offensive potential on the kingside comes into play featuring a highly aggressive space expansion by White's pawns through move 20, followed again by a period of maneuvering.  The end comes suddenly as White lines up a threat on the f-file that Black's uncoordinated pieces are unable to meet.  For an English Opening player like me, where some similarities exist in both the maneuvering and attacking possibilities, this is an example of high-level chess that is most instructive and entertaining, mixing various kinds of play to make a satisfying result.

[Event "FIDE Women’s World Teams"] [Site "Astana KAZ"] [Date "2013.03.11"] [Round "8.2"] [White "Krush, Irina"] [Black "Ushenina, Anna"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A07"] [WhiteElo "2448"] [BlackElo "2477"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2013.03.03"] [WhiteTeam "USA"] [BlackTeam "UKR"] [WhiteTeamCountry "USA"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 Bg4 4. d3 Nd7 5. h3 Bh5 6. Nbd2 e6 7. O-O Bd6 8. b3 Ne7 9. Bb2 O-O 10. Qe1 e5 11. e4 Re8 12. Nh4 f6 13. f4 Qc7 14. g4 Bf7 15. f5 h6 16. Nhf3 Bc5%2B 17. Kh1 Qb6 18. h4 Be3 19. g5 Bh5 20. gxf6 gxf6 21. Ng1 Kh7 22. Bc1 Bd4 23. Rb1 dxe4 24. dxe4 Ng8 25. Ne2 Bc5 26. Nc4 Qc7 27. b4 Bf8 28. a3 Bf7 29. Ne3 a5 30. Rg1 axb4 31. axb4 Re7 32. Bf3 Be8 33. Ng3 Rg7 34. Bh5 Qd8 35. Bd2 Qe7 36. Qe2 b5 37. Rg2 Nb6 38. Rbg1 Ra7 39. Bxe8 Qxe8 40. Nh5 Rxg2 41. Qxg2 1-0

Congratulations on a well-fought tournament to the U.S. team and especially to IM Krush, who earned a gold medal for her individual performance, scoring 7/9 with a performance rating of 2607.

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