Karjakin with an Important Win

Round nine of the Russian Super Final saw Sergey Karjakin scoring an important win in the battle for the medals.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Russian Championship Superfinal"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.08.18"]
[Round "9.4"]
[White "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Black "Svidler, Peter"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2753"]
[BlackElo "2739"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "83"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:29:02"]
[BlackClock "0:37:58"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 {The forced
nature of the Arkhangelsk line makes it preferrable option at top level.} 7. c3
d6 8. a4 Rb8 9. d4 Bb6 10. axb5 axb5 11. Na3 O-O 12. Nxb5 Bg4 13. d5 ({Giri
opted instead for slight and lasting advantage after} 13. Bc2 exd4 14. cxd4 d5
15. e5 Ne4 16. Ra3 f6 17. exf6 Qxf6 18. Nc3 Bxf3 19. gxf3 Nxc3 20. bxc3 Qxf3
21. Qxf3 Rxf3 22. Kg2 {Giri,A (2773)-Nakamura,H (2802) Stavanger 2015}) 13...
Ne7 14. Bc2 Qd7 {[%cal Rd7h3] Diagram [#] "I got a little bit upset that he
played like that as I believe that Black equalizes after that" Karjakin.} 15.
c4 Ng6 16. h3 {This practically forces Black to sacrifice a piece.} ({Worse is
} 16. Qd3 Nh5) 16... Bxh3 (16... Bh5 17. Qd3 {proveides no compensation
whatsoever for the pawn.}) 17. gxh3 Qxh3 18. Ng5 Qg3+ 19. Kh1 Qh4+ 20. Kg2 Nf4+
{[%csl Gf4] Diagram [#] Better than} (20... h6 21. Nh3 Nxe4 22. Qe2 f5 23. Ra3
{with advantage for White as proven in the game Karjakin,S (2672)-Radjabov,T
(2729) Cap d'Agde 2006}) 21. Bxf4 exf4 22. Nf3 Qg4+ 23. Kh1 {For the piece
Black will get soon a second pawn and will enjoy attacking possibilities.} Rfe8
24. Ra3 {A very important move in White's set-up without which he would be
simply worse.} Nxe4 25. Bxe4 Rxe4 26. Rc3 {Diagram [#]} Ba5 {A somewhat
misterious bishop move.} ({Perhaps Black should just go into an endgame with}
26... Qh5+ 27. Nh2 Qxd1 28. Rxd1 Bxf2 {where his pawns might become quite
dangerous as well.}) (26... Rbe8 $5 {deserves serious attention too. Karjakin
considered the position as approximately equal.}) 27. Rc1 $146 {Diagram [#]} ({
The only predecessor saw:} 27. Rc2 Rbe8 ({But Karkjakin was afraid of the
cunning} 27... Be1 $5 {which separates the white heavy pieces and might be
quite annoying. Obviously, the bishop is untouchable} 28. Rxe1 $4 (28. Nxe1 $4
Qxd1) 28... Rxe1+ 29. Qxe1 Qxf3+ 30. Kg1 Qg4+ 31. Kf1 Qh3+ 32. Kg1 f3 $19) 28.
Nh2 Qh3 29. Qf3 Qh6 30. b4 {with advantage for White in Lopez Martinez,J (2550)
-Bellia,F (2405) San Sebastian 2008}) 27... Rbe8 28. Nh2 Qh4 29. Nd4 $1 {[%csl
Gd4][%cal Gh2f3,Gd4f3] Diagram [#] After this move it becomes evident that
Black misses his bishop on the a7-g1 diagonal. The knights cement White's
position and provide time to consolidate the position.} h5 ({There is no
counterattack after} 29... Re1 $2 30. Qa4 Qxf2 31. Qxe8+ $1 {[%csl Yf2][%cal
Rf1f2] Diagram [#] (Karjakin)}) ({But maybe Svidler should have sent the
bishop back to where it belonged} 29... Bb6 30. Ndf3 Qe7 31. b4 Re2 $16) 30.
Qd3 {Better than} (30. Qa4 Bb6 {when the trick} 31. Ne6 $2 {does not work due
to} Rb8 32. Qc2 f3 $1 33. Ng5 Qxg5 {with mate threat which prevents White from
snatching the rook (Karjakin).}) 30... Qf6 {Svidler could have brought the
bishop back again} (30... Bb6 {to which White intended to continue with} 31.
Ndf3 (31. Ne6 $2 f3 $1) 31... Qe7 32. b4 {with advantage. For example} Re2 33.
Rc2 Rxc2 34. Qxc2 Qe2 35. Qf5 Bxf2 (35... g6 36. Qxf4 Re4 37. Qf6 $16) 36. Ng5
Bg3 37. Qxf7+ Kh8 38. Ngf3 $1 $16 ({A funny line is} 38. Nhf3 Qxf1+ 39. Ng1
Qxg1+ (39... Qd1 $4 40. Qxe8#) (39... Qe1 40. Qxh5+ Kg8 41. Qf7+) 40. Kxg1 {
[%csl Yg1] Diagram [#]} Re1+ 41. Kg2 Re2+ $11 {with study-like perpetual.}))
31. Nc6 Bb6 32. b4 f3 {The last attempt for counter-play which White
mercilessly refutes.} 33. Qxf3 Rf4 34. Qc3 ({But not} 34. Qxh5 $2 Rh4 {when
the threat Qf6-f4 will force White to part with his queen.}) 34... Qxc3 35.
Rxc3 Bxf2 36. Rf3 $1 {[%csl Rf4][%cal Gc4c5,Gb4b5] Diagram [#] Trades one of
the active rooks and the remaining one is neither capable of creating of its
own, nor good enough to stop the white passers.} (36. c5 {was also playable
though} Re2 37. cxd6 cxd6 38. Rf3 Rxf3 39. Nxf3 $16 {(Karjakin)}) 36... Rxf3
37. Nxf3 Re2 38. Ng5 $1 {The white horses made good job today.} f6 ({The
knight cannot be trapped after} 38... Bh4 39. Nxf7 Re8 40. Rf4 Bf6 41. Nh6+ {
(Karjakin)}) 39. Ne6 h4 ({Or} 39... g5 40. Nxc7 g4 41. Ne8 g3 42. Nxf6+ Kf7 43.
Nxh5 {and White is just in time (Karjakin).}) 40. Nxc7 Bg3 {Black last chance
was} (40... h3 {when if White is not careful things might end in perpetual.
Svidler however saw the following study} 41. Rxf2 $1 ({For example} 41. b5 {is
only a draw after} Bg3 42. b6 Rh2+ 43. Kg1 Rg2+ 44. Kh1 Rh2+ $11) 41... Rxf2
42. b5 Rb2 43. c5 $1 {[%cal Gd5d6,Gb5b6,Gb6b7,Gd6d7,Gd7d8,Gb7b8] Diagram [#]}
dxc5 44. d6 Rd2 45. Nd5 $1 Kf7 46. b6 Rxd5 47. b7 Rd1+ 48. Kh2 Rb1 49. d7 $18)
41. Ne6 Rc2 ({Now on} 41... h3 {the simplest is} 42. Nf4 Rh2+ 43. Kg1 g5 44.
Nxh3 Rxh3 45. Kg2 g4 46. Rxf6 {Diagram [#] and Black is completely stuck.}) 42.
b5 {Sergey Karjakin will play tomorrow decisive game with the white pieces
against the tournament leader Evgeny Tomashevsky.} (42. b5 Kf7 43. b6 Rb2 44.
b7 $18) 1-0


Khismatullin Does not Stand Still

Last year Denis Khismatullin won bronze medal at the Russian championship, but the start of the current Super Final was not good for him. However, thanks to his consistent fighting mood he was capable of moving close to the equator of the tournament table after the following win:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Russian Championship Superfinal"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.08.17"]
[Round "8.6"]
[White "Motylev, Alexander"]
[Black "Khismatullin, Denis"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2658"]
[BlackElo "2642"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:31:12"]
[BlackClock "0:32:34"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 {Diagram [#]
"Alexander is a famous specialist when playing against Najdorf, but today I
got lucky and managed to use my round one preparation for Sergey Karjakin."
Khismatullin.} 7. Bc4 h6 8. Bh4 g6 {[%cal Gf8g7] Diagram [#] "A relatively
fresh idea that has been seen in correspondence games, but not in top-level
over-the-board."Khismatullin} ({Instead} 8... Ne5 9. Bb3 g5 10. Bg3 e6 11. h4
Rg8 12. hxg5 hxg5 13. Nf3 {was the course of Shirov,A (2732)-Ibrahimov,R (2543)
Villarrobledo 2009}) 9. Qe2 Bg7 10. O-O-O ({It is important that} 10. Bxf7+ {
does not work due to} Kxf7 11. Qc4+ d5 {(Khismatullin).}) 10... O-O 11. f4 Qc7
{Stops e4-e5 and prepares e7-e5.} 12. f5 $146 {Diagram [#] "Controversial
decision, but since this was the first choice of the computer I was prepared
against it." Khismatullin} ({All predecessors continued} 12. Nf3 {one example
goes} Nb6 13. Bb3 Bg4 14. h3 Bxf3 15. Qxf3 Nbd7 16. g4 {with sharp play in
Lampert,J (2454)-Cebalo,M (2379) Bad Woerishofen 2015}) 12... g5 {It seems as
this pawn will be a good hook for the White's attack but in reality it is
Black's play which is easier.} 13. Bg3 b5 14. Bb3 Bb7 15. h4 g4 {[%csl Yg4,Gg8]
[%cal Rh1h4,Rf1f5] Diagram [#] The point behind Black's play. This is typical
Dragon idea. Black may even sacrifice this pawn later in case of a need. The
most important thing though is to keep the files locked.} 16. h5 {Khismatullin
did not like this move neither and suggested some central play instead with
either} (16. Rhe1) ({Or prophylaxis} 16. Kb1) 16... Nc5 17. e5 {Practically
forced. After} (17. Bd5 $6 b4 $1 {Black's attack is too strong} 18. Bxb7 bxc3
19. Bxa8 cxb2+) ({Perhaps} 17. Nd5 {was better, although it would allow the
move} Nxb3+ 18. axb3 Bxd5 19. exd5 {The position is very complex, and I
suspect this was White's best bet. In the line} Nxd5 (19... Rac8 $5) {White
should go for the tricky} 20. Ne6 Qa5 21. Rxd5 Qa1+ 22. Kd2 Qxh1 {Diagram [#]}
23. Nxg7 $1 Kxg7 24. f6+ $1 exf6 (24... Kxf6 $2 25. Be5+ $3 {might end badly
for Black.}) 25. Qxg4+ Kh7 26. Qf5+ Kg7 27. Qg4+ {with perpetual.}) 17... dxe5
18. Bxe5 Qb6 {The queen prepares the queenside attack and keeps an eye on the
other wing.} 19. Rh4 {Motylev decided to sacrifice the exchange in order to
reach the black king.} ({Parting with the dark-squared bishop cannot be good
for White} 19. Bxf6 Qxf6 (19... Bxf6 {is also good} 20. Qxg4+ Kh8 ({The move}
20... Kh7 {is possible as well as the trick} 21. Bxf7 $2 {fails to the
in-between check} Bg5+)) 20. Qxg4 Rfd8 {Black controls the board.}) ({Black
also has very clear play after} 19. Rhe1 Rad8) 19... Kh7 20. Rxg4 {The point.
White's attack evaporates after} (20. Bxf6 Bxf6 21. Rxg4 b4 (21... Rad8 $5) 22.
Na4 Nxa4 23. Bxa4 Rad8 {[%csl Gb7,Gf6][%cal Gb7h1,Gf6a1] Diagram [#] with
clear edge for Black thanks to his awesome bishops.}) 20... Nxg4 21. Bxg7 Kxg7
({A bit more precise was} 21... Nxb3+ {as if White recaptures with the knight}
22. Nxb3 {Black can trade queens} (22. axb3 Rg8 $1 {repels the attack and
will leave Black winning after} 23. f6 Nxf6 24. Bxh6 Kxh6 25. Qxe7 Rae8 26.
Qxf7 Bc8) 22... Qe3+ 23. Qxe3 Nxe3 {with winning endgame for Black.}) 22. Qxg4+
Kh8 23. Qe2 (23. Qf4 Qf6 {will create the threat e7-e5 and White will have no
time to consolidate (Khismatullin).}) 23... Nxb3+ 24. Nxb3 Qf6 25. Na5 ({White
cannot afford to grab pawns} 25. Rd7 Bc6 26. Rxe7 {as then Black can swap off
rooks with} Rfe8 27. Rxe8+ Rxe8 28. Qf2 Re5 29. g4 Qg5+ $19 {Diagram [#]
Almost all endgames are easily won for the second player.}) 25... Qg5+ ({One
more precision was mentioned by Khismatullin} 25... b4 $1 {depriving the
knight of the d1 square} 26. Na4 Qg5+ 27. Rd2 Bd5 $1 {which would have
transposed to the game.}) 26. Rd2 b4 27. Na4 (27. Nd1 {was White's last chance
to try and cement the position by transferring the knight from a5 to e3,
although Black should be close to winning here as well.}) 27... Bd5 $1 {[%csl
Ya4,Ya5] Diagram [#] Now the white knights are horrible.} 28. c4 ({The bishop
is untouchable due to the pin} 28. Qe5+ f6 29. Qxd5 Rad8) 28... bxc3 29. Nxc3
Rac8 {Once that the rooks occupy the open files game would be over.} 30. Kd1
Rfd8 31. Ke1 {Once again the bishop is untouchable} (31. Rxd5 Rxd5+ 32. Nxd5
Rc1#) (31. Nxd5 Rxd5 32. Nb3 Qxf5 $19) 31... Qh4+ 32. Qf2 Qh1+ 33. Qf1 Qxf1+ {
Well calculated by Black. The endgame is won by force.} 34. Kxf1 Bxa2 $1 {
Diagram [#] Wins the pawn back. The rest was easy for Khismatullin.} 35. Rxd8+
Rxd8 36. Nc6 (36. Nxa2 Rd1+ 37. Ke2 Ra1) 36... Bc4+ 37. Ke1 Rd3 38. Kf2 Rd2+
39. Ke3 Rxb2 40. Ne5 Bb3 0-1



Top Chess in Chita

The Russian Super Final takes place in Chita. With two rounds to go anything can happen in both sections. Evgeny Tomashevsky is leading the men's tournament, half a point ahead of the nearest rival but will have to defend the black color tomorrow against Sergey Karjakin who is trailing him by half a point. In the ladies section the leader is the young Aleksandra Goryachkina.
Not all the players have the tournament of their lives, but there are plenty of interesting games to watch. Like this one:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Russian Championship Superfinal"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.08.16"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Khismatullin, Denis"]
[Black "Dubov, Daniil"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2642"]
[BlackElo "2654"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "128"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:41"]
[BlackClock "0:24:02"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 g6 5. b4 {White is stronger on the
queenside and expands as much as he can there. The problem with this plan is
that it neglects the development of the kingside.} ({A more common plan is} 5.
Nc3 Bg7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O {Carlsen,M (2863)-Mamedyarov,S (2756) Shamkir 2015})
5... Bg7 6. a4 O-O 7. Nbd2 Ne4 8. Bb2 Bg4 9. Qb3 a5 $146 {Diagram [#] "If I
stand passive I might get significantly worse" Dubov. Black is sacrificing a
pawn.} ({In the predecessing games Black was defending with} 9... Nxd2 10. Nxd2
Be6 {Kaenel,H (2364)-Sermier,G (2420) Switzerland 2011}) 10. b5 Nd7 {The point
behind Black's last move. Now White is more or less forced to accept the
challenge.} 11. cxd5 ({Bad is} 11. Bd3 $2 Ndc5 $1 12. dxc5 Nxc5 13. Qc2 Nxd3+
14. Qxd3 Bxb2 $19) ({The other natural move} 11. Be2 {also has a drawback} Nxd2
12. Nxd2 Bxe2) 11... cxd5 12. Qxd5 Nxd2 13. Nxd2 e5 $1 {[%csl Ye1][%cal Ge8e1]
Diagram [#] The point behind the sacrifice. Black breaks open the center and
intends to attack the uncastled white king.} 14. Be2 {Khismatullin understands
the danger and rushes to safeguard his king.} ({Black's initiative remains
strong in the endgame after} 14. dxe5 Nxe5 15. Qxd8 Rfxd8) ({The pawn-grabbing
} 14. Qxb7 $2 {is suicidal} exd4 15. Bxd4 Bxd4 16. exd4 Re8+) 14... Be6 15. Qe4
({Once more} 15. Qxb7 {looks dubious on the account of} exd4 16. Bxd4 Nc5 $5 (
16... Bxd4 $1 17. exd4 Nb6 {aint's bad neither.}) 17. Bxc5 Bxa1 18. Bxf8 Kxf8
19. Qe4 Bc3 {(Dubov)}) 15... Re8 {Black had plenty of choice how to develop
the initiative.} ({Like in the line above it made sense to open the center at
once with} 15... exd4 16. Bxd4 Nc5 17. Bxc5 Bxa1 18. Bxf8 Kxf8 19. Qd3 {with
plenty of compensation for the pawn.}) ({He could have also asked White if he
wants to repeat the moves after} 15... Bf5 {Or not, but when White goes for}
16. Qf3 (16. Qd5 Be6) 16... exd4 17. Bxd4 Bxd4 18. exd4 Nb6 {Black seems
perfectly fine.}) 16. d5 {This move slightly shocked Black who possibly
expected something like} (16. Nf3 exd4 17. Nxd4 Nc5 {with initiative.}) 16...
Nf6 {[%csl Re4][%cal Rf6e4] Diagram [#]} ({From far away Dubov wanted to
continue} 16... Bf5 {and it is somewhat misterious why he did not follow his
plan. The line} 17. Qc4 Rc8 18. Qa2 Rc2 (18... Qh4 $5 {might be better.}) 19.
Bd1 Rxb2 20. Qxb2 e4 21. Qa3 Bxa1 22. Qxa1 Nc5 $15 {is very good for Black.})
17. dxe6 $1 {The move that we should expect from Khismatullin- fearless
attacker.} ({Black has risk-free advantage after} 17. Qh4 Nxd5 18. Qxd8 Rexd8
$15) 17... Nxe4 18. exf7+ Kxf7 19. Bc4+ Re6 {The only move.} ({In case of}
19... Kf6 20. Nxe4+ Kf5 21. f3 $1 {[%csl Yf5][%cal Rg4f5,Rg2g4] Diagram [#]
Black is in trouble. For instance} h5 22. Rd1 Qc7 23. Nd6+ Kf6 24. f4 $1 {
Followed by 0-0 leaves him no reasonable moves.}) ({The king is not save in
the center} 19... Ke7 20. Nxe4 {with the threat Bb2-a3+}) 20. Nxe4 Rc8 ({Dubov
did not like the line} 20... Qh4 {because of the study-like play} 21. Bd5 $1 {
Diagram [#]} Rd8 22. g3 $1 Qh5 23. Bxe6+ Kxe6 24. O-O {with advantage for
White.}) 21. Bxe6+ ({Or else Black intended to give back the sacrificed
material after} 21. Rd1 Qxd1+ $1 22. Kxd1 Rxc4 23. Ng5+ Kf6 24. Nxe6 Kxe6 $17 {
with clear advantage in the endgame. It should also be noted that Dubov saw
the line} 25. Kd2 Rxa4 26. Bc3 $6 Ra2+ 27. Kd3 e4+ $19) 21... Kxe6 22. O-O {
The smoke is going down but it is anything but clear still. White has adequate
material balance for the queen, but the black pieces control the open files.
The good old verdict unclear suits best in the situation.} Qd3 23. Ng5+ Kf5 {
"A nutter" would Simon say. Indeed, Black could have played safer} (23... Ke7
24. Ba3+ Ke8 25. Ne6) 24. h4 {[%csl Rf5][%cal Ge3e4,Ra1a3,Ra3f3] Diagram [#]
With the idea to insert the white rook along the third rank after e3-e4+
followed by Ra1-a3-f3.} Qe2 {The queen moves away from the third rank with a
tempo. It should also be noted that around this point of the game both players
were down to two minutes on their clocks.} ({On} 24... Qb3 {Dubov did not like}
25. Rfb1 ({However} 25. e4+ {might be even stronger, for example} Kg4 26. Bc1
Kxh4 27. Nxh7 Rc3 28. Bg5+ Kg4 29. Rac1 {and the black king is in danger.}))
25. e4+ Kg4 26. Bc1 {A critical moment of the game.} Rc3 $6 {It looks logical
to swap off one of the active white pieces with} (26... Bf6 $5 {this however
gives an extra option for White} 27. Nxh7 Bxh4) ({Or} 26... Bh6 27. Be3 ({This
time} 27. Nxh7 {is not as good} Bxc1 28. Raxc1 Rxc1 29. Rxc1 Qd2 30. Rc7 Qe1+
31. Kh2 Qxf2 $17) 27... Bxg5 28. Bxg5 Rc3 29. Rac1 Rxc1 30. Rxc1 h6 31. Bxh6
Kxh4 32. Be3 {If anyone is better here it is only White.}) 27. Be3 $6 ({
Khismatullin missed a golden chance} 27. Nxh7 $1 {was extremely strong when he
could have created a mating net after} Kxh4 28. Bg5+ Kg4 29. Kh2 $1 {Diagram
[#]} Kh5 30. Rae1 Qa2 (30... Qc2 31. f3) (30... Qg4 31. f3) 31. g4+ (31. f3)
31... Kxg4 32. Rg1+ Kh5 33. Kg2 Kg4 34. Kf1+ Kh3 35. Rh1+ Kg4 36. Rh4+ Kf3 37.
Rh3+ Kg4 38. Rxc3 $18) 27... Kxh4 ({Black cannot play for checkmate himself}
27... Rxe3 28. fxe3 Kg3 29. Rf3+) 28. Nf3+ ({Also interesting is} 28. g3+ Kg4
29. Rae1 Qc4 30. f3+ {with the idea} Kxg3 ({But Black is fine after} 30... Kh5
$1 31. g4+ Kh4 32. Nxh7 Kg3 33. Bf2+ Kf4) 31. Bf2+ Kf4 32. Bh4 Qc8 33. Re2 {
and White wins.}) 28... Kh5 29. Rad1 Qc2 {Surprisingly, this is also a mistake.
} (29... Rxe3 30. fxe3 Qxe3+ 31. Rf2 Qxe4 32. Rd7 Bh6 33. Rxh7 Qe3 {would most
likely ended in a draw.}) 30. Rfe1 ({Dubov saw the move} 30. Rd7 {and intended
to defend with} Rc7 {In the time-trouble both players missed the fantastic
resource:} 31. Ne1 $3 (31. Rc1 $2 Qxc1+ 32. Bxc1 Rxd7 {was the line that Black
was hoping for.}) 31... Qc3 32. g4+ Kxg4 33. Rxc7 Qxc7 34. Kg2 $1 {[%csl Yg4]
[%cal Rf2f3,Rf1h1,Rh1h8] Diagram [#] When all of a sudden the black king is in
mating net. White should win after} Bf6 35. Rh1 Bh4 36. Nf3 g5 37. Nxg5 $1 Qc2
(37... Bxg5 38. f3#) 38. Nf3 Bg3 39. Rxh7 Qxe4 40. Rg7+ Kf5 41. Kxg3 $18) ({
Black is defending after} 30. Rd5 g5 $1 {with the tactical idea to take any of
the white light pieces at the moment he captures on g5.} 31. Nxg5 (31. Bxg5
Rxf3) (31. Nxe5 Qxe4 32. g4+ Kh4 33. Rd4 Qxe5 34. Kg2 Qxd4) 31... Rxe3) 30...
g5 31. Nh2 Rd3 32. Rc1 Qxa4 {Diagram [#]} 33. b6 $2 {Now White's attack slows
down and it is the material advantage which matters.} ({White should have
opted for} 33. Rc7 Kg6 34. Rxb7) 33... Kg6 34. Nf1 Qxe4 35. Rc7 a4 36. Rec1 a3
37. R1c4 Qd5 38. R4c5 Qd6 39. Rxb7 a2 40. Rc1 e4 41. Ra7 {The time trouble is
over and Blаck has enough time to convert the advantage.} a1=Q ({But not}
41... Ra3 42. b7 a1=Q 43. Rxa1 Rxa1 44. Rxa1 Bxa1 45. Ba7 Be5 46. b8=Q Qxb8 47.
Bxb8 Bxb8 48. Nd2 {[%csl Yd2,Re4,Yf2,Yg2,Rg5] Diagram [#] when in order to
draw White needs to give his knight and two pawns for the e4 and g5 pawns only.
}) 42. Raxa1 Bxa1 43. Rxa1 Rd1 44. Rxd1 Qxd1 45. b7 ({There is no fortress
after} 45. g3 h5 46. Kg2 h4 47. gxh4 gxh4 48. Nh2 Kh5 49. Kh3 Qh1 {zugzwang.})
45... Qb1 46. g4 Qxb7 {[%cal Gg6f6,Gf6e6,Ge6d5,Gd5c4,Gc4d3,Gd3e2] Diagram [#]
Next Dubov demonstrated neatly the winning plan. First the king goes all the
way to e2.} 47. Kg2 Qd7 48. Nh2 Qd1 49. Ba7 Kf6 50. Bb6 Ke5 51. Ba7 Kd5 52. Bb6
Kc4 53. Ba7 Kd3 54. Bb6 Ke2 55. Bc5 {Then the queen is transferred to the
kingside.} Qd7 56. Bb6 Qf7 57. Be3 h6 58. Bb6 h5 59. gxh5 Qxh5 60. Nf1 Qf3+ 61.
Kg1 Qh3 62. Ne3 Kf3 63. Bd4 g4 64. Be5 {Diagram [#] And last, the decisive
break comes.} g3 $1 {White resigned not willing to see} (64... g3 65. Bxg3
Qxg3+ 66. fxg3 Kxe3 67. g4 Kd2 $19) 0-1


Ashritha Eswaran Victorious in Tulsa

The USA girls under 20 championship took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the end of June. It was an all-play-all round robin closed event where ten of the best American girls competed. This year it was a qualifier for the USA women championship and thus the main reason for the very strong field.
The average USCF rating of the girls was above 2200 (2214 to be more precise) which made it the strongest ever championship. Three of the girls (Annie Wang, Jennifer Yu and Apurva Virkud) competed at the USA women championship this year, while Ashritha Eswaran made a debut at this prestigious event last year. What is greatly encouraging for the USA chess is that most of the participants are very young and have a lot of time and room for improvement.

The youngest participant Carissa Yip is only eleven years old and is already teaching chess (chess is a regular contributor to www.chesskid.com). These young girls are exceptional. All of them are A+ students and beside chess have a lot of side interests. Music, arts and reading are naturally above those, but other sports take serious part too. For instance Sarah Chiang holds a 3rd degree Black Belt in the Martial Arts of taekwondo!
I knew very little about Tulsa and am pretty much at the same level. One thing is sure- it is very hot and humid. We arrived in the evening before the first round, got at the hotel and then everything went in a flash. Nine rounds were played in five days and the pressure was enormous. I admire the girls for their stamina. And their fighting spirit, of course.
At the opening ceremony the USCF president Ruth Haring mentioned the contract according to which the players cannot draw before move thirty. They did not need it. From the total of 45 games that were played and only nine ended peacefully. None of them was short. The games were transmitted live on monroi.com

My student Ashritha Eswaran was the lowest rated player of the event (together with Agata Bykovtsev.) The intense school year did not contribute to her chess development and she dropped some rating points. She also lost her initial game, but this did not discourage her. We knew that at this championship anyone can beat everyone and that we have time to catch up with the leaders. At the beginning the tournament the lead was grabbed by Annie Wang and Agata Bykovtsev. However, Annie lost to Ashritha in round four and then allowed two more losses, while Agata slowly lost the point advantage in the middle of the event.

Our tournament was following an interesting schedule- loss, two wins, then again loss and two wins. Round seven was an improvement- a draw instead of the loss and then I was secretly hoping for the "regular" pair of wins. They really came- in round eight against the current world champion (under 12) Jennifer Yu and in the decisive last against game against Maggie Feng.
Before it Ashritha was leading with 5.5, while Maggie had 5 and the white pieces. The game was a mind-blower itself. Feng got completely won position, earned material but got into severe time trouble. The time control was 90 minutes for the whole game with thirty seconds increment and around move thirty Maggie was practically playing on increment only. Ashritha managed to swindle her in time trouble and win the game, thus claiming the title.
The closing ceremony was a bit unusual for an European. The girls received cash prices and the organizer Frank Berry asked them to carefully check the amount. There were no medals, nor trophies for the winners. Some additional cash prices went for best game, best combination and endgame.

Although Frank is a very experienced organizer this tournament cannot be called success. A lot of things can be improved and the girls hope that the next year's championship will take place in Saint Louis (as the boys' one) in an attempt to raise the interest towards the female chess in USA.