Thursday, March 26, 2015

Women Spring Chess Festival to be held in Budapest

The Hungarian Chess Federation organizes the International Women Spring Chess Festival from 7-15th April, 2015, in Budapest, the capital of Hungary and one of the largest cities in Central Europe.

The event is a 9-round Swiss tournament, exclusively for women. The tempo of play is 90′/ 40 + 30′ + 30″.

The prize fund will be awarded as follows: 300,000 HUF (approximately 1,000 €)/ 200,000 HUF/ 150,000 HUF/ 100,000 HUF/ 75,000 HUF/ 50,000 HUF/ 25,000 HUF.

The event will be valid for FIDE rating and norms.

Entry fee: 20 €
For GM-s, IM-s, WGM and WIM-s there is no entry fee.


Official website

Preliminary list of players:

1 IM Rajlich Iweta POL 2398
2 WFM Nomin-Erdene Davaademberel MGL 2374
3 WGM Theissl Pokorna Regina SVK 2361
4 IM Gara Anita HUN 2341
5 IM Vajda Szidonia HUN 2326
6 IM Sedina Elena ITA 2305
7 WGM Gara Ticia HUN 2290
8 Havanecz Bianka HUN 2244
9 WIM Varga Klara HUN 2215
10 WFM Terbe Julianna HUN 2208

The third round casualties - A report by GM Sergey Shipov

The knock-out format is meant to be cruel. Everybody except one gets eliminated, and the pain of losing often outweighs all previous victories. Only a single player, the champion, avoids the shock.

We lost many excellent players in the third round. Some of them could under different circumstances get to the final. Well, bad luck for them.

Although luck was not a factor in Alisa Galliamova's loss – her opponent proved exceptionally strong! When in such form, Koneru can eliminate many men rated above 2600.

Koneru – Galliamova
Game 1

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 b6 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.0–0 Be7 9.b3 dxc4 10.bxc4 c5 11.Ne5 cxd4 12.exd4 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Nd7 14.Bf4 g5 15.Bg3 h5 16.h3 h4 17.Bh2

Spectacular, but not unseen before.

A good novelty clearly created at the board. Ganguly-Guseva, St. Petersburg 2014 continued 18.hxg4 Bb4! (weaker is 18...h3 19.Be4!) 19.Ne4 (here on 19.Be4 there is a strong reply 19...Bxc3 20.Bxb7 Bxa1!) 19...h3 20.Qa4 hxg2.
After 21.Rfd1 Rxh2 22.Kxh2 Qh4+ 23.Kxg2 Qxg4+ 24.Kf1 Qh3+ 25.Ke2 Qg4+ the game logically ends in a draw by perpetual.

However, Ganguly decided to gamble – 21.Nf6+?, and Guseva unfortunately did not find the spectacular win 21...Qxf6! 22.exf6 Bd6!

18...Bxe4 19.Qxe4 gxh3 20.Nb5
After 20.Rfd1 Black maintains the balance by 20...Qc8 aiming at 21.Nb5 Rb8, and the queen goes to b7.

20...Rb8?! This is too passive. Black could equalize going through wild complications by 20...hxg2! 21.Rfd1 Rc8! 22.Qxg2 (or 22.Nxa7 Rc5!, and there is no 23.Nc6 due to 23...Qa8) 22...Bf8 23.Rd3 a6 24.Rad1 axb5 25.Rxd7 Qxd7 26.Rxd7 Kxd7 27.Qb7+ Rc7 28.Qxb6 bxc4, and White is forced to give the perpetual.

21.gxh3 a6
21...Nc5 22.Qg4 Qd3 23.Rad1 Qg6 gives Black better chances of survival.

22.Nd6+ Bxd6 23.exd6
Now Black cannot exchange queens, and her king is hopelessly insecure.

23...Qg5+ 24.Kh1 Rc8

A very strong solution! The rook's pressure on e6 gives the white queen a chance of coming to e7.

After 25...Qc5 White avoids the trade by 26.Qg2 Qc6 27.f3! threatening Qg2-g5.

26.Rg1 Qc5 27.Qf4!
The strongest move again.

27...f6 does not save Black – 28.Rxe6 Qxc4 29.Re7, and now 29...Rg8 30.Qe3 Qd5+ 31.f3 Rxg1+ 32.Bxg1 Qxd6 33.Re8+ Kc7 34.Qc3+ Nc5 35.Bh2 Qxh2+ 36.Kxh2 Rxe8 37.Qxf6+-.

28.Qxf5 exf5 29.Re7!
Exactly! After 29.Rg7 Rf8 Black can still hold.

29...Rf8 30.Bf4 Rxc4
A little bit more tenacious is 30...Rc6 31.Bh6 Rh8 32.Rxf7 Rxd6, but it would hardly change the outcome.

31.Bh6 Rh8 32.Rxf7! Kc8 33.Rgg7 Nc5 34.Be3 Rd8 35.Bxc5 Rxc5 36.Ra7 Kb8 37.Rgb7+ Kc8 38.d7+.Black resigns.

Coming ahead in a short match, many players prefer taking a very safe approach. Humpy Koneru is not one of them.

Galliamova – Koneru
Game 2

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.e3 b6 4.b3 Bb7 5.Bb2 d5 6.d4 Be7 7.Bd3 0–0 8.0–0 c5 9.Nbd2 Nbd7 10.Qe2 Rc8 11.Rac1 Rc7 12.Ne5 cxd4 13.exd4 dxc4 14.bxc4 Nxe5 15.Qxe5 (15.dxe5!?) 15...Bd6 16.Qe2 Bf4 17.Rc2

Her opponent seems hesitant, and Humpy begins the counterattack.

17...b5! 18.c5
18.cxb5 is not an improvement: 18...Rxc2 19.Bxc2 Bxh2+! 20.Kxh2 Qc7+ and takes on с2.

Opening the kingside route for the queen and threatening Nb4.

This allows trading the all-important light-squared bishop.

Considering the match situation, Alisa could take greater risks by 19.a3. After the possible 19...Bxh2+ 20.Kxh2 Qh4+ 21.Kg1 Nf4 22.Qe3 Bxg2 23.f3 Qg3 24.Qxf4 Qxf4 25.Kxg2 the players arrive at a wildly complicated position with all three results possible. However, such lines are easy to advise and hard to play. Most of us would avoid this line fearing to get mated.

Further analysis also reveals sensible alternatives for Black. For instance, by 22...Qg4! 23.g3 Nh3+ 24.Kh2 Ng5 she could make a draw – 25.Kg1 Nh3+ 26.Kh2 Ng5 27.f3 Qh3+ 28.Kg1 Qxg3+ 29.Kh1 Qh3+, etc.

19...Nb4 20.Rc3 Nxd3 21.Qxd3 b4 22.Rc2 e5!
After another powerful central blow Black's bishop pair begins to rampage. In the end Black prevailed.

Thus the score in Koneru-World match is now 6-0, and she is not planning to stop...

Rook ending technique played a key role in the match between the best French player and the former Russian champion.

Sebag – Pogonina
Game 1

The tired players begin exchanging mistakes.

After 56.Rxh6 Rxb3+ 57.Kh4 the black king is cut horizontally, and White wins easily.

56...Kf5 57.g4+ Kg6
Now it is a book draw, but the game is by no means over.

58.Kg3 Rb1 59.Kf4 Rf1+ 60.Ke5 Rb1 61.Kf4 Rf1+ 62.Kg3 Rg1+ 63.Kf3 Rf1+ 64.Kg2 Rd1 65.Rb5 Rd3 66.b4 Rb3 67.Kf2 Kf6
Easier is 67...Rd3! with the idea 68.Rc5 Rd4!

68.Rf5+ Kg6 69.b5
After 69.Rf4 Black survives by 69...h5 70.gxh5+ Kxh5 71.Ke2 Kg5 72.Rc4 Kf5 73.Kd2 Ke5 74.Kc2 Rh3 75.Rc3 Rxc3+!

69...Kg7 70.Rc5 Kg6 71.Rd5 Kf6 72.Rc5 Kg6 73.Ke2 Kf6 74.Rf5+
Or 74.Kd2 Ke6 75.Kc2 (75.Rh5 Kd7=) 75...Rb4 76.Kc3 Rxg4 77.Rc7 Kd6 78.b6 h5 79.Rh7 Kc6 80.b7 Rg8=.

74...Kg6 75.Kd2 Rb4 76.Kc3 Rxg4 77.Rc5
Marie cuts off the enemy king on the 5th rank, realizing this is her only chance. After 77.Rf8 Re4! 78.b6 Re7 79.Kc4 h5 80.Kc5 the black king joins the action by 80...Kg5!

77...Rg1 78.Kb4 Rb1+ 79.Ka5

Here Natalia broke under pressure.

Black wastes a tempo. The rook was placed behind the passed pawn perfectly. Just push your own pawn: 79...h5 80.b6 h4 81.Ka6 h3=!

80.Kb6 h5 81.Kc7 h4
No question mark attached, although this is the losing move. However, finding the unnatural 81...Ra5! in the mutual time trouble is too hard. The point of this move is that after 82.Kc6 h4 83.b6 Black can trade rooks: 83...Rxc5+ 84.Kxc5 h3=. And 83.Rc3 sets the black king free – 83...Kf5 84.b6 Ra6 85.Kc7 Rxb6 86.Kxb6 Kg4=.

82.b6 h3 83.b7 h2!
An excellent chance! 83...Rb1 84.b8Q Rxb8 85.Kxb8 leads to a textbook position in which the black king cannot help his passed pawn.

84.b8Q h1Q 85.Qg8+ Kh6

It seems like a round of deadly checks gives White a quick victory, however, this is not so easy.

In a practical sense this is a mistake. More accurate is 86.Qe6+! Kh7 87.Qd7+ Kh8 (87...Kh6 88.Rc6+ Qxc6+ 89.Qxc6+, etc) 88.Qe8+ Kh7 (88...Kg7 89.Rg5+) 89.Rh5+ Qxh5 90.Qxh5+, and White wins the rook with checks.

By this moment Pogonina was very tired and probably lost hope. She could test her opponent's technique in Q vs R ending by 86...Qxc6+! 87.Kxc6 Ra6+, etc.

Many chess fans probably remember how Gelfand saved such endgame against Svidler, and Jakovenko did the same against Morozevich. Just think about it – Svidler and Morozevich! Great players failed to win, so Pogonina would surely have some drawing chances.

The game continued 87.Qg6+ Kh4 88.Rc4+ Kh3 89.Qg4+, and Black resigned due to an inevitable mate.

In the second games the players swapped roles.

Pogonina – Sebag
Game 2

This endgame is very concrete. The passed pawns of both sides will inevitably run forward. Every tempo counts.

44.Re3! Rh2
Bad is 44...Kf7 due to 45.Rf3+ Ke7 46.Rg3+-.

45.c4 Rh4?!
A hardly noticeable but crucial mistake. Black's last chance to make a draw is 45...Kf6! with the idea 46.c5 (46.Rc3 Ke6!; 46.a4 Rh5!) 46...Rh5 47.Rc3 Ke7 48.a4 Kd7, and her king comes to the queenside in time.

46.Kd3 Rf4
Here 46...Kf6 fails to 47.a4! (but not 47.c5 Ra4!) 47...h5 48.Kc3!, and White wins by 48...Rh1 49.c5 h4 50.a5 Ra1 51.Kb4 g5 52.c6+-.

47.c5! Kf7 (47...Rxf2 48.c6 is hopeless, too) 48.Re2!
A textbook rook maneuver!

White's task is little more difficult after 48...h5. In this case she needs to turn attention to the kingside: 49.c6 Ra4 50.c7 Ra8 51.Rc2 Rc8 52.Ke4! Ke6 53.Kf4! Kd7 54.Kg5 g6 55.Kxg6 h4 56.f4 Rxc7 57.Rh2+-.

49.c6 Rxa3+ 50.Kd4 Ra1 51.Rc2! Rd1+

Accurate until the end! 52.Kc5? Ke7!

52...Re1+ 53.Kd6 Rd1+ 54.Kc7 Re1 55.Kc8 h5 56.c7 Re7 57.Kd8 Rxc7 58.Kxc7 Kf6
Now White has more than enough time to neutralize black pawns.

59.Kd6 Kf5 60.Rc5+ Kg4 61.f3+ Kxf3 62.Rxh5 Kf4 63.Rh4+ Kf5 64.Kd5 g5 65.Rh8 Kf4 66.Kd4 g4 67.Rf8+ Kg3, and White wins.

The Russian was tougher mentally on the tie-break.

Sebag – Pogonina
Rapid game 1

White's kingisde activity was fruitless. With the rook stuck on g3 and the time on the clock running out, Marie decided to take strong measures.

The problems could still be fixed by 30.Rh3! f6 (30...Qd1? 31.Qxf7) 31.Kg3 Qd1 32.Kf2, and it is hard for Black to convert her advantage.

30...exf4 31.Bxf4 Qe7! (very precise) 32.e5?
Abandoning the e4-pawn was unbearable.

Now White loses a piece. After 33.Bg5 hxg5 she resigned.

The fate of the second rapid game was decided under wild time pressure. Sebag had serious advantage a few times, but failed to find winning continuations, and in the end lost on time in a hopeless position. Pogonina became the only Russian player in the Quarterfinal.

The following match was largely decided by the difference in fighting spirit.

Anna Muzychuk – Javakhishvili
Game 1

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0–0–0 Bd7 9.f4 b5 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Kb1 Qb6 12.Nf3 b4 13.Ne2 Na5 14.Ned4 Rc8 15.Bd3 Nb7 16.Qe1 a5 17.e5 dxe5 18.fxe5 f5 19.Qh4 h5 20.Rhe1 Nc5 21.Bc4 Be7 22.Qg3 Ne4 23.Qg7

In this position Anna offered a draw, and Lela made a mistake accepting it. In my opinion, chess gods do not forgive taking draws in much better positions.

In the diagrammed position Black can continue 23...Rf8 24.Bd3 Nc3+! 25.bxc3 bxc3+ 26.Nb3 a4, and the white king is in trouble. In addition to a stable positional advantage, Black has concrete ideas, for example, her queen threatens to go to a3.

The game could continue 27.Qh6 Qb4 28.Qc1 (or 28.Qe3 Ra8) 28...Rg8 29.Re2 Bc6! 30.Ka1 (30.Nfd4 axb3 31.Nxb3 Ra8–+) 30...axb3 31.cxb3 Rd8! 32.Qc2 h4 33.h3 Rg3 34.Rf1 Qa5 35.Kb1 Ba3! – the bishop goes to b2 with lethal threats.

But all of it did not happen, and the payback was imminent.

Javakhishvili – Anna Muzychuk
Game 2

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qa4 Bb7 6.Bg2 c5 7.dxc5 bxc5 8.0–0 Be7 9.Nc3 0–0 10.Rd1 Qb6 11.Bf4 Rd8 12.Rd2 Nc6 13.Rad1 Na5 14.Ne1
An unpretentious move. Smirnov-Karjakin, Loo 2014 continued 14.Qb5! Qxb5 (14...d5 is well met by 15.Ne5) 15.cxb5 Rac8 16.e4, etc.

14...Bxg2 15.Nxg2 Nc6

Bad timing! Here this maneuver is counterproductive. Every other solid move maintains the balance, for instance, 16.b3 or 16.Ne1.

The c3-knight turns overloaded. White is already in serious trouble. And this is still theory!

Loek van Wely did not survive against Sergey Karjakin (Antalia 2013) after 17.e3 h6 18.h4 dxc4 19.Rxd8+ (19.Qxc4 Rxd2 20.Rxd2 e5!) 19...Rxd8 20.Rxd8+ Bxd8 21.Qxb6 axb6, and Black slowly converted an extra pawn.

A somewhat strange reply. 17...exd5 intending d5-d4 was simpler. Going after the b6-pawn would cost White dearly: 18.Qxb6 axb6 19.Bc7 Rdc8 20.Bxb6 d4! 21.Nb1 Rab8–+.

It is not totally clear why White improves the structure for her opponent. She should still fight for equality by 18.Qa4 or 18.Qc4.

18...axb6 19.Nxd5 exd5 20.Rxd5
Passive lines had higher EV in this case. E. g., 20.a3 d4 21.h4 h6 22.h5 b5 23.e3, and so on. However, it is easy to understand Lela's hunger for counterplay.

20...Rxd5 21.Rxd5 Rxa2 22.Ne3 Rxb2 23.Rd7

White threatens Rd7-c7, and Black's back rank is weak. Anna solves all these problems with one stroke.

23...g5! 24.Bc7 Kf8! 25.Nd5 Ke8 26.Nxb6
White pieces just got lost in a forest.

26...Nd4 (26...c4 also wins) 27.Bd6 Bd8! 28.Bxc5 Ne6 29.Rxd8+ Kxd8 30.Be3 Rxe2
And Black easily converted an extra exchange.

The initiative was changing hands in Arabidze-Cmilyte. The players were matched rather evenly.

Arabidze – Cmilyte
Game 1

White held the initiative for the entire game, but her hasty central break ruined it.

The preparatory 42.Ke3 is much stronger. For example, 42...Rxb6 43.axb6 Rxb6 44.Rb1 Ra6 45.b5 Ra3+ 46.Kd4 Kd7 47.b6 Kc8 48.b7+ Kb8 49.Rb6 Ra4+ 50.Ke3 Ra3+ 51.Kf2 Ra2+ 52.Kf3 Ra3+ 53.Kg4 Re3 54.Rxd6 Rxe4 55.Rd7, and White wins.

It seems Meri expected only 42...dxe5? 43.Bc5+ Ke8 44.fxe5+-.

43.axb6 dxe5!
This move order allows Black to create a new weakness in White's camp.

44.fxe5 Rxb6 45.Rd4 Rb5
Now White is tied to defending the e5-pawn.

46.Rh4! h5 47.Re4 gives more practical chances, intending to bring the king to g5, but I only found a draw there in my analysis.

The black king marches to d5, and the g5-square can be covered by h7-h6. Game drawn.

In the second game Cmilyte failed to convert a slight advantage. On the tie-break the deciding factor was the players' ability to handle stress.

The Georgian won the first game convincingly. The best Lithuanian player had excellent chances to come back in the second game.

Arabidze – Cmilyte
Rapid game 2

It is hard to imagine how an experienced grandmaster can fail at winning such an overwhelming position, but this is what happened in the game.

Black could bring her king to g3 immediately, but it was still possible after 61...Bg1+ 62.Kd5. Simply 62...Kf5 63.Kxd6 Be4 64.Bd5 Bxd5 65.Kxd5 Kf4, and the fight is over. However, the game went on 62...Bc5? 63.Nb7 Bg1 64.Nxd6. Black just wasted time and returned an extra pawn. Further in the game Victoria once again got winning chances, but her energy resources were already exhausted. Meri help up and advanced to the next stage.

Russian chess fans were very disappointed to lose the ex-World Champion, but she clearly cannot be blamed for lack of fighting spirit.

Kosteniuk – Dronavalli
Game 1

Alexandra obtained an opening advantage and is actively searching for a win.

Probably based on a miscalculation. She had to pay attention to the opponent's passed pawn, for instance, by 25.Rb5 Rg8 26.Rb3 a2 27.Rb2 Rg4 28.Raxa2 Rxa2 29.Rxa2, retaining a small plus.

25...Kd7 26.Nc4 Nd5! 27.Rb5?
White's persistence backfires. It was time to slow down by 27.Rxa3 Rxa3 28.Nxa3 Nxe5 – she cannot win a piece by 29.c4 Ra8, as 30.Nc2 is met by 30...Kd6, and after 30.cxd5 30...Rxa3 31.dxe6+ Kxe6 Black equalizes completely.

27...Nd4! 28.Rxd5+
28.Nb6+ Kc6 29.Rxd5 exd5 30.Nxa8 Rxa8–+ is of no help for White.

Perhaps Kosteniuk initially intended to play 28.Rb7+, overlooking the fact that the black knight is no longer on c6, and 28...Kc6! is possible.

28...exd5 29.Nb6+ Ke6 30.Nxa8 Rxa8
This ending turned out hopeless for White, and Harika showed good technique in process of proving it.

The Russian showed her character and came back in the next game.

Dronavalli – Kosteniuk
Game 2

The Indian girl made all textbook mistakes of a player who at all costs must avoid losing the game. First she went for unjustified exchanges, giving her opponent a small but lasting advantage, and in the diagrammed position she suddenly launched an unprepared attack.

26.f5?! g5! 27.f6 Qe5 28.Qe3 Bb7
Now White has way too many weak pawns, and tactical complications are her only hope.

29.h4 Re6!
A correct reaction. On 29...Bxe4 there is 30.Re2! (not 30.Rf5 Bxf5 31.Qxg5+ Bg6 32.Qh6 Qxf6 33.Rxf6 Bxd3, which we suggested during the online stream) 30...Bxd3 31.Qxg5+ Qxg5 32.Rxe8+ Kh7 33.hxg5 Bxc4 34.Rf4 with equal chances.

30.Qd2 does not change the picture – 30...gxh4 31.Qh6 Qg5 32.Qxg5+ Rxg5 33.gxh4 Rg4 34.Rg3 Rxg3 35.Kxg3 Bxe4, and Black is better.


The most intriguing position of the match. 31.g6!? created a big commotion on the net, as few were able to calculate everything correctly. After the forced 31...Bxf3 (31...Bxg6? 32.Qh6; 31...fxg6? 32.f7+ Kf8 33.Qh6+) 32.Qh6 Qxf6! 33.Qh7+ Kf8 34.Rxf3 Qxf3 35.g7+ Ke7 36.g8Q Ilya and I stopped our analysis, missing the cool-blooded 36...Re1!, and White is getting mated. A rare case of two totally helpless queens!

The game ended in a prosaic fashion.

31.Rf4 Bxd3 32.Qxd3 Qxg5
Black kept an extra pawn and the initiative, and eventually won.

Rook ending technique was once again the key to the tie-break. In the first game Sasha sacrificed a pawn in an approximately equal position and lost because of that. And in the second rapid game the ex-World Champion was too impatient grabbing a pawn.

Kosteniuk – Dronavalli
Rapid game 2

Here White needed to send the king to e5, keeping the enemy king cut off on the e-file and grabbing at least one pawn.

61.Re6+? Kf7 62.Rxa6 Re2!
And it is the white king who is cut off. The game can no longer be won. Harika Dronavalli breaks through to the next stage.

Russian chess fans had a lot of faith in Valya Gunina. Alas, playing against the experienced Swedish grandmaster, she demonstrated her well-known weakness – the inability to solve opening problems in unfamiliar positions.

Cramling – Gunina
Game 1

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0–0 0–0 9.Nh4 Nbd7

Apparently, this move and the plan associated with it was new to Valya.

Black's first step in a wrong direction. 10...Bg6 is the safer approach, applied by many opening experts.

11.Nxf5 exf5 12.Qf3!
Before playing g2-g4, White tries to provoke g7-g6.

Here comes another questionable decision – one knight leaves another knight in danger. After 12...g6 13.g4 fxg4 14.hxg4 Qe7 Black's situation is a lot better than in the actual game. For example, 15.e4?! Bxc3 16.bxc3, and she has 16...Qxe4!, since the knight on f6 is protected.

13.Bb3 g6
13...Qd7 does not help – 14.Bc2 g6 15.g4±.

14.g4! fxg4 15.hxg4 Qe7
This attempt to slow down White's attack in the center is unconvincing. 15...h5 16.gxh5 (on 16.g5 both 16...Nh7! and 16...Ng4 are playable) 16...Nxh5 was played earlier in this position. And now, instead of the previously played 17.Rd1 and 17.Qg4 Pia could demonstrate a strong novelty 17.e4!, intending to create a devastating attack after 17...Qxd4 18.Be3 Qd8 19.Rad1 Qc7 20.Qg4 Kg7 21.Ne2.

The unprotected knight on b6 creates problems for Black in many lines, while 21...c5 in turn cuts off the b4-bishop – 22.Ng3 Nxg3 23.fxg3 Rae8 (or 23...Qe7 24.Qf4 g5 25.Qg4!; or 23...c4 24.Bd4+ f6 25.Bc2 Bc5 26.e5+-) 24.Bh6+ Kxh6 25.Qh4+ Kg7 26.Qf6+ Kh7 27.Kg2+-.

Perhaps the most tenacious for Black is 15...Nfd7 with the idea of sacrificing an exchange by 16.e4 c5 17.Bh6 cxd4!, but one has to be desperate to go for it.

16.e4! Bxc3
Even here 16...Nfd7!? 17.Bh6 c5! was better.

17.bxc3 Nxe4
Black commits positional suicide. 17...Kg7 18.Re1 Qd7 gives White a chance to execute a nice combination: 19.Bh6+! (19.g5) 19...Kxh6 20.g5+ Kxg5 21.Qe3+ Kh5 22.Bd1+ Ng4 23.Kg2, and White wins.

18.Re1 Rae8

Here White had several ways to win a piece, but Cramling's move is also sufficient.

19.Bh6 Nd5 20.c4 Ndc3 21.c5 Nd5 22.Bxf8 Kxf8 23.Bxd5 cxd5 24.Qf4 Qh4 25.Kg2, and White won soon.

This made only half a job done, of course.

Gunina – Cramling
Game 2

White's advantage is obvious, therefore Pia correctly goes for complications.

31...e5! 32.Re1?!
The burden of leveling! In a blitz game Valya would play 32.dxe5 Qxe5 33.Re1 without hesitation, retaining good winning chances. For example, 33...Qf5 (33...Qg5? 34.Qxf8+!) 34.a4, and on 34...Rc8 there is the nice 35.Qf4! Qd7 36.Re7! Qxe7 37.Rxc8+ Kh7 38.Qf5+ g6 39.Qxd5 Rd7 40.Qa2 with a sound extra pawn for White.

32...e4! 33.fxe4
Both players overlooked the powerful resource 33...f5!, underscoring weakness of the white king. Both 34.e5 and 34.exd5 run into 34...f4! with a strong attack. White would have to go for 34.exf5 Qxf5 35.Qd2 Qf3+ 36.Kg1 Rxb5, and Black equalizes comfortably.

33...dxe4?! 34.Rxe4 Rd8
It was not easy to find 34...Rxb5!? 35.Qxf8+ Kh7 36.Rc2 Qd5 37.Rce2 f5 38.Qe7 fxe4 39.Qxe4+ Qxe4+ 40.Rxe4, and evaluating the resulting position is also far from trivial.

White obtains a long-lasting advantage again. Gunina tried hard to break her opponent's defense, but had to accept a draw on the 117th move. Cramling advanced to the Quarterfinals.

The victory of the last representative of China was very confident and even routine. Her opponent clearly failed to recover after the nerve-racking tie-break.

Zhao Xue – Khotenashvili
Game 1

Zhao dominated for the entire game, and now finishes Black off.

42.Rg3+ Kh7 43.Qg4 Qg6 44.Qd4! Qe6 45.Bxf5+! Qxf5 46.e6!
The queen goes to g7.

46...Qe5 47.Qd3+!
And now the white pawn queens. Black resigns.

In the second game the Chinese missed another win, but it did not affect the outcome of the match.

The match between Antoaneta Stefanova and Mariya Muzychuk ended somewhat sensationally.

Stefanova – Mariya Muzychuk
Game 1

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d5 5.d4 dxc4 6.Na3 c3 7.bxc3 0–0 8.0–0 c5 9.Re1 Nc6 10.e4 cxd4 11.cxd4 Bg4 12.Bb2 Nd7 13.Nc2 Nb6 14.Rb1 Qc7 15.Ne3 Bxf3 16.Bxf3 Rfd8 17.Nd5 Qd7 18.Nxb6 axb6 19.d5 Ne5 20.Be2 Rxa2 21.Qb3 Rda8 22.f4 Ng4 23.e5 h5 24.Bb5 Qf5

This game can be divided into two episodes. In the first episode Antoaneta was outplaying her younger opponent. White's bishop pair and powerful center secure her advantage in the diagrammed position.

A good-looking but wrong move. White needed to start with 25.Bd3! Qd7, and only then move the rook – 26.Re2. The thing is that 26...h4 can now be met by 27.gxh4!, while with the queen remaining on f5 Black can simply capture on f4. And after 26...Nh6 White can start a direct attack – 27.d6 exd6 28.e6!, etc.

25...h4! 26.Re2
26.Bd3 is fruitless due to 26...Qh5!

Even Kasparov would have hard time finding 26...hxg3 27.hxg3 Bxe5! 28.fxe5 R8a3! 29.Qxa3 Rxa3 30.Bxa3 Qf3, and, you guessed it right, it all ends in a perpetual.

Clearly a mistake. The simplest way of keeping an advantage is 27.Rg2! Qg4 28.Be2 Qh3 29.Bf1 Qf5 30.Qxb6.

27...Rxb2! Of course! 28.Rxb2 Bxe5 29.Re2 Bd6

Here the second episode begins, and in this episode Mariya becomes a dominant force. Black's liberated bishops is not weaker than a rook, and in addition White has problems her king's safety. After a long struggle Black prevailed.

In the second game Stefanova desperately wanted to play a double-edged game, but failed to equalize in the first place. The game ended in a draw, and Muzychuk advanced to the next round.

I think the players from Asia have better chances of winning the chess crown. My bet is on them.

Women's World Championship round 4 report

The fourth round of the FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship started in SCC Galactica (Sochi, Krasnaya Polyana) on March 26.

Eight players continue their quest for the chess crown – Humpy Koneru and Harika Dronavalli (both from India), sisters Anna and Mariya Muzychuk (both from Ukraine), Zhao Xue (China), Natalia Pogonina (Russia), Meri Arabidze (Georgia), and Pia Cramling (Sweden).

They are to play short two-game matches with the following time control: 90 minutes for 40 moves, then 30 minutes for the rest of the game, plus 30 bonus seconds after each move. If the match is tied 1-1, it is continued on the tie-break with quicker time controls.

Arabidze and Dronavalli were first to finish their game. The Georgian, playing White, employed an aggressive setup in the Queen’s Gambit Declined and obtained a promising position with attacking chances. Harika decided to test the ambition and fighting spirit of her opponent by offering a draw after the move 15. After some thought Arabidze accepted the offer.

Harika and Arabidze

Mariya Muzychuk defeated the highest rated player of the tournament Humpy Koneru in a spectacular fashion. Prior to this game Koneru won six games out of six. Today she played Black, equalized rather easily and soon seized the initiative on the queenside. She then managed to win a pawn, but Muzychuk in turn created some threats to the black king. Humpy carelessly moved her knight away from the action, and then missed a powerful tactical blow. Mariya carried out a swift attack and earned a big victory.

Mariya Muzychuk

Anna Muzychuk, playing Black against Pia Cramling, patiently defended a slightly worse position with an isolated pawn. On the move 21 she offered a pawn sacrifice, aiming at pieces activity. Cramling declined the offer, but missed a stronger reply that could create Black serious problems. After the move in the game Muzychuk got sufficient counterplay; the position became balanced, and soon the players agreed to a draw.

The game between Natalia Pogonina and Zhao Xue was the longest of the day. The position after the opening was about even, but White overestimated her chances, aiming at the kingside attack. After Black’s central punch Pogonina had to switch to defending. She did not defend perfectly – first White lost a pawn and then traded the rooks, transposing to an opposite-colored bishops ending that turned out won for Black. Zhao Xue calmly proceeded to winning the game.

Replay games with analysis

Zhao Xue

The return games are played on March 27. We will see the following match-ups: Koneru-M.Muzychuk, Dronavalli-Arabidze, Zhao Xue-Pogonina, and A.Muzychuk-Cramling. All games start at 3 pm Moscow time.

Live stream with grandmaster commentary is available in two languages (Russian and English) on the official site of the championship ( and the Russian Chess Federation website (

Photos by V. Barsky, E. Kublashvili and N.Karlovich

Manny Pacquiao’s Training include Chess

Mind Games Include Pacquiao’s Training
By Merpu Roa on March 26 2015 2:21 pm

McALLEN, Texas (MindaNews / 26 March) – Eight Division World Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao does a strenuous physical activity for eight hours everyday, yet interestingly he also engages in a three to four hours of mental exercises as he prepares for the biggest fight of his boxing career against Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2 at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

He plays chess and dart.

Playing chess allows the Filipino boxing icon to strategize his defense and offense as the game progresses, very similar to the game plan he is going through together with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach and his assistants.

It’s a game plan that seeks to exploit Mayweather’s weak areas as well as effectively respond to the American boxer’s strengths.

Boxing, along with other sports, places high prominence on the individual athlete’s decision-making ability on how best to do defense and offense, depending on what is at hand at the very moment. Inputs from the trainers are usually conveyed mostly in in-between rounds during short breaks.

Obviously, Pacquiao wants to sharpen his capacity to make the appropriate and quick decisions in the light of what has happened with his fight with boxer Juan Manuel Marquez where he thought he could finish off the Mexican, only to be knocked out by a perfect counter punch.

Like chess, the end game in boxing needs to lead to victory instead of defeat.

Full article here:

FIDE Zone 4.1 Individual Championships 2015

The FIDE Zone 4.1 Individual Championships 2015 are being organized by the Tunisian Chess Federation under the auspices of the African Chess Confederation (ACC) from 26-31st March in Hammamet, Tunisia.

The Championships will be held at Hotel of Hammamet which is about 1 hour drive from Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia. The event will comprise an Open Section and a Women’s Section.

In accordance with FIDE regulations, the Zone 4.1 Individual Championships are open to players from federations within the Zone 4.1 region which are affiliated to FIDE.

The Zone 4.1 is composed of Chess Federations from the following countries: Algeria, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia.

The winner in the Open Section will be awarded International Master (IM) title whilst the winner in the Women’s Section will be awarded the Woman International Master (WIM) title. Other titles will be awarded in accordance with FIDE title requirements.

The Winner of the Open Section will qualify for the 2015 FIDE World Cup in Baku.

Federations are allowed to enter a maximum of five (5) players in each category. The host federation reserves the right to field up to seven (7) players in each category and also hold a player in reserve; that can be registered in the event that there are an odd number of participants.

It is intended that the Championships will be played in accordance with FIDE regulations as a 9 Round Swiss System tournament.

Time control will be 90 minutes with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from the first move.

Draw offers are not allowed before Black’s 30th move. The zero tolerance rule will apply.

Prizes Open Section: US$ 1250 / US$ 750 / US$ 500

Prizes Women’s Section: US$ 875 / US$ 500 / US$ 250

The Chief Arbiter for the 2015 Zone 4.1 Chess Championships is IA Wajdi Chouari, FIDE ID 5500184.

Organizers Contacts:

President of Tunisian Chess Federation – Dr. Yousri Daly
Mobile: +216 27280965 / +216 53029832
E-mail :

Official Email for Tunisian Chess Federation –
Tel/fax : +216 71784100

Tournament Director – Bechir Messaoudi IA/IO Mobile: +216 98 285 420/+216 24 285 420

Top seed Humpy Koneru down in game 1 in Sochi

Quarterfinal game 1

Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR) vs Koneru, Humpy (IND) [1-0]
Pogonina, Natalija (RUS) vs Zhao, Xue (CHN) [0-1]
Cramling, Pia (SWE) vs Muzychuk, Anna (UKR) [1/2-1/2]
Arabidze, Meri (GEO) vs Harika, Dronavalli (IND) [1/2-1/2]

Official website:

Part 2 of Interview with former World Blitz Champ GM Le Quang Liem

Part 2 of the interview with Le Quang Liem, where he talks about his expectations for this year’s US College Chess Final Four and the advantages of new SPICE office at the Webster University.

The interviewer is Mr. Frank Niro III, president of Chess Journalists of America.

Interview with former World Blitz Champion GM Le Quang Liem

Part 1 of the interview with Le Quang Liem, where he talks about his qualification for the World Chess Cup 2015, study at Webster University and getting back to 2700 ELO.

The interviewer is Mr. Frank Niro III, president of Chess Journalists of America.

Rules & Conditions for the 12th Annual Susan Polgar Foundation Girls' Invitational

Rules & Conditions for the 12th Annual Susan Polgar Foundation Girls' Invitational
(Over $200K in prizes and scholarships)

July 25 (arrival day) – July 30, 2015 at Webster University (St. Louis, Missouri)

The Annual SPF Girls' Invitational, in its 12th year, is the most prestigious All-Girls event in the United States. It is also the first All-Girls event approved and sanctioned by the USCF back in 2003. It is an invitational event, and will once again be held at Webster University (St. Louis, Missouri).

Each state, as well as each country in the American Continent (South, Central, and North America) is allowed to nominate one representative. In addition, automatic qualifying spots will be awarded to the reigning winners in each section of the annual Susan Polgar Foundation National Open for Girls and the Susan Polgar Foundation World Open for Girls.

Webster University will provide complimentary room and meal accommodation on campus for all qualifiers!

• There will be an intense training session with Susan Polgar and members of the SPICE team, followed by a 6 round (g/90+30) FIDE rated championship tournament.
• The traditional Blitz, Puzzle Solving, Bughouse events will stay the same as in previous years.
• There will be many chess prizes awarded, as well as scholarships to Webster University.

Official representatives should be nominated by June 8, 2015. Official representative alternates may be substituted no later than July 6, 2015. (Susan Polgar and/or the Polgar Committee may allow the host state to enter an additional qualified player.) Susan Polgar and/or the Polgar Committee may allow exceptions to the June 8 entry/alternate deadline. Should the state affiliate fail to respond to the notice for this tournament, Susan Polgar and/or the Polgar Committee may determine the candidate from that state or country.

Players must have been enrolled in a school (up to 12th grade) located in the state or country they represent, also of the year in which the tournament is held. Home-schooled students who are 19 or under on the year in which the event is held or students who have never attended traditional college on a full time basis prior to July 1 of the year in which the tournament is held, are eligible to represent the state or country in which they reside.

Exception: If a player graduates from high school early and is already attending college, she may still represent her state if nominated. This is the decision of each state affiliate.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: The participants of the Susan Polgar Girl’s Invitational DO NOT have to be high school students. Any qualifier who is 19 or under (on the year in which the tournament is held) is eligible!

Special invitation for this year: All past participants of the SPNI and SPFGI (Susan Polgar National Invitational/Susan Polgar Foundation Girls’ Invitational 2004-2014) are invited to participate in the 2015 SPFGI. The idea is to have the past participants learn my method of training so they can go back home and share their knowledge with the younger players. However, registration MUST be made ASAP since space is limited. There will be mutual training sessions for all, however separate section & prizes for alumni participants over the age of 20.

Players are required to furnish the organizer an emergency phone number and the e-mail address of a parent/guardian.

There is no entry fee to participate in the 2015 SPFGI; however, players are responsible for their own travel.

For alumni participants, wild card/special invites, coaches, parents, or other family members, inexpensive accommodations are available for housing and dining on Webster’s campus. Please note that all reservations and registrations MUST be made (and accommodation expenses prepaid) no later than June 15, 2015.

Prizes: Trophies / plaques will be awarded to the winners of the Susan Polgar Foundation Girl’s Invitational Puzzle Solving, Blitz, Bughouse and the SPFGI Championship. Co-champions are recognized in the case of a tie, with each champion receiving a Champion’s Plaque or Trophy.

The Champion (or Co-Champions) of the main event will automatically be invited to defend her/their title (must meet age requirement).

Champion: Webster University scholarship* (full tuition and fees approximately $24,000 + per year x 4 years) Champion's Cup. (In case of a tie, a playoff will used to determine the level of scholarships)

2nd place: Webster University scholarship (approximately $14,000 + per year x 4 years)

3rd place: Webster University scholarship (approximately $12,000 + per year x 4 years)

Additional prizes this year!

Top under 16: $1,000 scholarship to help defray expenses to the 2015 World Youth (if participating**)

Top under 14: $1,000 scholarship to help defray expenses to the 2015 World Youth (if participating**)

Top under 12: $1,000 scholarship to help defray expenses to the 2015 World Youth (if participating**)

Top under 10: $1,000 scholarship to help defray expenses to the 2015 World Youth (if participating**)

* The scholarships to Webster University must be exercised no later than Fall of 2018, and are not transferable. In addition, these scholarships cannot be combined with other academic scholarships, or stacked. If players won scholarships in past events, they can choose to exercise the highest one.

** After flight ticket has been purchased, a $1,000 reimbursement check will be sent to the winners.

The Polgar Committee’s goal is to have all 50 states (including two representatives for California, two for Texas, and two for Missouri), the District of Columbia, 
as well as each country in the American Continent (South, Central, and North America) represented. We strongly encourage each state and the District of Columbia affiliate to hold a scholastic championship tournament to determine each state’s champion and representative. Failing this, rating criteria may be acceptable. A scholastic girls’ champion or the highest rated girls’ scholastic player in a state who has no state affiliate of the USCF should contact the Polgar Committee as soon as possible.

Susan Polgar and/or the Polgar Committee and its members may elect to award a limited number of wild cards each year for the Susan Polgar Girl’s Invitational.

Special qualifying events: The Polgar Committee will award automatic qualifying spots to the reigning winners in each section of the annual Susan Polgar Foundation National Open for Girls and the Susan Polgar Foundation World Open for Girls.

The SPFGI Chairperson is Martha Underwood (AZ).

NOTICE TO ALL STATE OFFICIALS: Please send the nomination from your state to the Polgar Committee (

Contact info: Polgar Committee (

The Susan Polgar Foundation can be contacted at 806-281-7424 or through

Rapid chess is easier and more fun

The young Georgian became the main sensation of the Women's World Championship, advancing to the Quarterfinals after defeating the renowned Viktoria Cmilyte. It is time to get to know Meri Arabidze.

Eteri Kublashvili: Meri, tell us about you: where are you from, when you started playing chess, who is your trainer?

Meri Arabizde: I was born in Samtredia, but now live in Kutaisi. Play chess since I was 6 years old. I am a three-time European champion U10, U12, and U14, and a three-time World Champion – U14, U16, and U18. Alexander Arsenidze is my trainer for the last seven years, and he is helping me at this championship, as well as Khvicha Supatashvili.

– Is this your first World Championship?

– Yes, this is my first experience of such a serious and important event.

– How hard is it for a newcomer?

– The first match with Elizabeth Paehtz was very hard, but after I won it I became strangely confident. I think I was very lucky in that match, and that victory was given me by the God.

– Which of your matches was the most difficult?

– The latest one – against Viktoria Cmilyte. Our classical games and rapid games were all extremely tense.

– Have you met Viktoria before?

– No, we have never played before.

– We know that you are one of the best Georgian players in rapid chess...

– Yes, we have series of rapid tournaments in Georgia for two years, and I try to prepare for them as well. In 2014 I became the Georgian rapid chess champion, and showed good results both before and after that. I am a good rapid chess player!

– So it is better to avoid playing tie-breaks against you!

– Yes, some people say so! (laughs)

– Is rapid chess your favorite kind of chess?

– Playing classical chess is more difficult, and rapid chess is easier and more fun. So yes, I prefer rapid.

– Who is your next opponent?

– Harika Dronavalli. I played with her just once, and we made a draw.

– Do you like the championship venue and its organization in general?

– It is a wonderful place with fantastic nature, good hotel, and excellent tournament hall – everything is organized at the highest level. I am thankful to the organizers and arbiters for their smooth work!

Polish Championship LIVE!

Polish Women's Championship LIVE!

Women's World Championship in Sochi LIVE!

5 second chess tactic

White to move. Find the absolute best continuation for white.

The Final 8 in Sochi