- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 13, 2002

One of the least popular clubs in the history of chess has to be the Vera Menchik Club, named for the great Russo-British player who dominated women's chess in the decades before her untimely death in 1943 during the London Blitz. The male rivals she defeated including former Dutch world champ Max Euwe, U.S. great Sammy Reshevsky and British GM Frederick Yates were jokingly said to be members of the mythical Menchik Club.
New FIDE women's world champ Zhu Chen of China might be considering forming her own club, with FIDE men's champ Ruslan Ponomariov as a charter inductee.
In a first for the game, the reigning female champ defeated the men's standard-bearer in a formal competition. Zhu Chen ousted the young Ukrainian in the very first round of last week's 32-player FIDE World Cup event in Dubai, drawing the first Game/25 contest and winning the second with Black.
Zhu Chen was eliminated in the next round, eventually finishing 16th. Hungary's Peter Leko took the title when Russian GM Alexander Grischuk lost on time in the fifth playoff game of the finals.
Zhu Chen's historic triumph, today's first game, comes on the Black side of a Sicilian Najdorf, where she manages to neutralize White's early initiative and even picks up a pawn after 26. Rd2 Rc8 27. b3 Qxc6. White appears to have good compensation in his central control and the powerful rook planted on d5, but with moves like 30. g4 Be5 31. g5?!, simply creating a target for Black, Ponomariov slowly drifts into an inferior position.
With 40. Re7 f6 41. Kh3 d5! 42. Re2 d4, the backward Black d-pawn has been transformed into a powerful asset. White appears to miss a chance to equalize on 46. Re5 h3 47. Kxh3?! (Bxa5! Kf7 48. Bd2 looks very drawish) g4+ 48. Kg2 d3, when again 49. Bxa5 Rf6 50. Rd5 bxa5 51. Rxc5 Rd6 52. Rf5+ Ke7 53. Rf1 d2 54. Rd1 is equal.
Time pressure may have been a factor as White punts a whole piece on 49. Bf4? Rf6 50. Re4 d2! 51. Bxd2 Rf2+, picking off the bishop. Ponomariov has a history of playing positions out to the bitter end, but after 61. Kf6 Kh5, White has not even a shred of compensation for his material deficit and resigns.

The annual Foxwoods Open, held late last month at the Connecticut resort and casino, produced six winners and at least one remarkable game.
GM Ildar Ibragimov of Russia had the best tiebreaks of a sextet of grandmasters who went 5- at Foxwoods, a group that included Ilya Smirin, Joel Benjamin, Alexander Goldin, Gregory Kaidanov, and Giorgi Kacheishvili.
Potomac, Md. IM Larry Kaufman was one of six U.S. players who scored high enough to qualify for the 2003 U.S. Championships to be held in Seattle.
The remarkable game was Mongolian FM Enkhbat Tegshsuren's Round 6 upset of GM Yuri Shulman of Belarus, featuring a slew of sacrifices, at least one missed forced mate, and an old-fashioned king hunt that sends the GM's monarch fleeing clear across the board.
Against Shulman's King's Indian Defense, Tegshsuren plays for a kingside attack of his own, bravely entering into hand-to-hand combat before Black's development is complete.
Thus: 18. Bg3 Bh6 19. f4! (refusing to back down) exf4 20. e5!, when 20…fxg3? 21. Qxg6+ Kh8 22. Rxh6+! Nxh6 23. Qxh6+ Kg8 24. Qg6+ Kh8 25. Rh1 is mate.
When Black tries to shut off White's attacking lanes with his pawns, Tegshsuren ups the ante with 23. Bh4 g5 (see diagram) 24. Bxg5!! Bxg5 (Nxg5 25. Rdh1 Rh8 26. Nxg5 Qxg5 27. Ne4 Qg6 28. g5! Bxg5 29. Rxh8 f3+ 30. Kb1 fxe2 31. Qc3+ Kf7 [Bf6 32. R1h7+! Qxh7 33. Qxf6 mate] 32. R1h7+ Qxh7 33. Rxh7+ Kg6 34. Qg7+ leads to mate) 25. Rh7+! (The point: The coming discovered check flushes the Black king out into the open, where he will be without an entourage) Kxh7 26. Nxg5+.
Black's only hope now is 26…Kg7 27. Qh7+ Kf6 28. Nde4+ Qxe4 [Ke5 29. Nf3 mate] 29. Nxe4+ Ke7, although White should win. Instead, Shulman's 26…Kh6? should have resulted in a mate in five: 27. Rh1+ Kxg5 [Kg7 28. Qh7+ Kf6 29. Rh6+! Nxh6 30. Qxh6+ Ke5 31. Ndf3 mate] 28. Nf3+ Kf6 [Kxg4 29. Rg1+ Kh5 30. Qg6 mate] 29. g5+! Nxg5 30. Rh6+ Kf7 31. Qg6 mate.
White's 27. Qh7+?! temporarily keeps his opponent in the game, but the Black king's subsequent odyssey may have left Shulman longing for the quicker execution.
By 32. Nf1+ Kf2 33. Rh2+ Kg1, the Black king has been chased all the way down the board and the White pieces are circling for the kill. Shulman even gives up his queen to stave off mate, but the Black king is eventually run to ground.
After 43. Ne4 Rg8 44. Qxf4, Black faces 44…Rxg4 (Nd3+ 45. Bxd3 Kg2 46. Qg3+ Kh1 47. Nf2 mate) 45. Bf1+ Rg2 (or 45….Kh4 46. Qh6 mate) 46. Qg3 mate. Shulman gives up.

FIDE Rapidplay Grand Prix, Dubai, UAE, April 2002
PonomariovZhu Chen

1. e4c532. Bd2Bb2
2. Nf3d633. Rf5Bd4+
3. d4cxd434. Kh1Rf8
4. Nxd4Nf635. Qd5Bc5
5. Nc3a636. Bc3Rg6
6. f3e537. Re1Qd8
7. Nb3Be638. Kg2Qa8
8. Be3Be739. Qxa8Rxa8
9. Qd2h540. Re7f6
10. Be2Nbd741. Kh3d5
11. Nd5Nxd542. Re2d4
12. exd5Bf543. Bd2fxg5
13. 0-00-044. Kg4Rf8
14. Na5Qc745. Rxf8+Kxf8
15. c4Bf646. Re5h3
16. Rac1b647. Kxh3g4+
17. Nc6a548. Kg2d3
18. f4exf449. Bf4Rf6
19. Bxf4Bg650. Re4d2
20. Bd3Bxd351. Bxd2Rf2+
21. Qxd3Rae852. Kg3Rxd2
22. Rc2Nb853. Kxg4Rd3
23. Qg3h454. h4Rxb3
24. Qf3Nxc655. Rf4+Kg8
25. dxc6Re656. Kf5Kh7
26. Rd2Rc857. h5Rh3
27. b3Qxc658. Kg4Ra3
28. Rd5Rce859. h6Kxh6
29. a4Qc760. Kf5g6+
30. g4Be561. Kf6Kh5
31. g5Qe7White resigns

Foxwoods Open, Connecticut, March 2002
1. d4Nf623. Bh4g5
2. Nf3g624. Bxg5Bxg5
3. c4Bg725. Rh7+Kxh7
4. Nc30-026. Nxg5+Kh6
5. e4d627. Qh7+Kxg5
6. Be2e528. Qg7+Kh4
7. Be3Ng429. Qh7+Kg5
8. Bg5f630. Qg7+Kh4
9. Bh4Nc631. Rh1+Kg3
10. d5Ne732. Nf1+Kf2
11. Nd2h533. Rh2+Kg1
12. h3Nh634. Qc3Qe3+
13. g4hxg435. Nxe3Kxh2
14. hxg4Nf736. Nf1+Kg1

15. Qc2Bd737. Qe1Kg2
16. 0-0-0c538. Nd2Ne5
17. Rh2Nc839. Bf1+Kg1
18. Bg3Bh640. Be2+Kg2
19. f4exf441. Qf1+Kh2
20. e5Kg742. Qf2+Kh3
21. exf6+Qxf643. Ne4Rg8
22. Nce4Qe744. Qxf4Black

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at dsands@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide