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    « Mexico City: Play Carlsen Now (Updated) | Main | Tashkent Grand Prix Underway »
    Friday
    Nov232012

    Various Events: Women's World Championship Semis, Tashkent, Mexico City and Maribor

    Since one of the events (Mexico City, featuring Magnus Carlsen) is about to start, I'll make this overview of what's happening in the chess world a brief one.

    In the first game of the 2012 Women's World Championship semi-finals, one game was decisive while the other should have been as well. Antoaneta Stefanova chose to meet Harika Dronavalli's Queen's Gambit Declined with 4.Bf4, and the game soon took on the character of an unusual Stonewall Dutch. Dronavalli's 16...Qf6 offered a pawn, which Stefanova accepted via a forced line that came to an end with 23.Kf2. Black enjoyed good compensation here, and with building moves like ...c5 and ...Bd7 could have prepared an assault against White's inelegantly arrayed kingside. Instead, Dronavalli commenced a second round of tactical play with 23...d4. This implicitly committed her to a piece sacrifice in exchange for some pretty obvious compensation. On move 27 the surprising 27...Be6! was correct, though White would remain better after 28.Qxe6! Rae8 29.Qxe8 Rxe8 30.Be4. Instead, she chose the obvious and natural 27...Bd7, but Stefanova's 28.Rad1! made White's advantage decisive. After 28...Qc7 Stefanova gave her opponent a last chance to stay in the game with 29.Qc2 (29.Kd2 was correct, escaping immediately), but her opponent missed or eschewed the opportunity for 29...Qb6+ 30.Kd2 Be6, when she would be worse but not losing. After the one slip, Stefanova finished strongly and slammed the door shut, winning the first game.

    Anna Ushenina had a certain advantage against Ju Wenjun, with White in an h3 King's Indian, and had the opportunity to win the exchange with 19.Bg5. It isn't a question of overlooking the idea - Ushenina would find it at least 99 times out of 100 in 3-minute chess. The likely story is that she felt Black would obtain a sufficiently strong grip on the dark squares to hold the position, and preferred to keep her dark-squared bishop in the battle. That's a very reasonable concern, especially when Black's bishop and queen would aim at b2, near White's king on c1. A closer look reveals that there is no way for Black to take advantage of the long diagonal, while White's pressure against c7 and along the g-file continue unabated. She should have gone for it! After refusing to cash in, her advantage began dwindling, and the game was soon drawn.

    In the FIDE Grand Prix in Tashkent, five of the six games were drawn. The one winner was Alexander Morozevich, who defeated Fabiano Caruana, making it a clean sweep against players with a U.S. passport.

    There were various junior world chess championships in Maribor, Slovenia, and U.S. representatives did very well, taking two of the gold medals. There's a report on the U.S. achievements here (HT: Jordan Henderson).

    Finally, there's a four-player knockout event starting now in Mexico City. Magnus Carlsen, Lazaro Bruzon, Judit Polgar and Manuel Leon Hoyos are battling it out in a rapid and blindfold tournament; tonight's pairing is Carlsen-Bruzon. First up is the rapid game (20' + 3"), which started less than five minutes ago, and then comes the blindfold game. Polgar - Leon Hoyos will be tomorrow, and then the winners face off on Saturday.

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    Reader Comments (1)

    Hey, I can now claim to have defeated a World Champion in a tournament game! I've done it twice against Sam Sevian. Of course it was back in 2008 and 2007, but what the heck!

    I also lost to him, in a game that was a little embarrassing and also a little entertaining - to the two of us, at least. I played Black, and he played the White side of a rather insipid off-beat line in the French, the 2. d3 lines. I had beaten his father (an expert/A player at the time) in the same line earlier that same day. I easily rolled up Sam's position and was winning easily. Sam didn't get interested, it seemed to me, until he was losing. He mounted a K-side attack that was domed to failure - if I hadn't gotten careless with a won position. Oops, I blundered into a losing position. Yikes! I had to start fighting hard. We got down to an interesting endgame that the experts and master in the room all misjudged. After I finally had to resign they all said, "Sam, you had an easy win if you just took the exchange!" Sam and I knew different and explained it to them - if he did that, I'd have queened a pawn quickly and we would have had a very unbalanced position that he was losing.

    Even though it meant losing to a seven year-old (ugh) it was a more interesting game than if I had paid proper attention earlier and won in the expected fashion. And looking at it tonight I see that I threw the game away much later on than I had realized at the time. R+advanced pawn versus N+B+advanced pawn isn't easy!

    November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIcepick

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