- The Washington Times - Friday, November 5, 2004

The U.S. women’s team achieved a historic milestone in the just-concluded Olympiad held in the resort town of Calvia, Spain, earning America’s first medal ever in the women’s competition.

The so-called “dream team,” which was sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation, took the silver medal behind top-ranked China, with Russia earning the bronze. The U.S. men’s team could only manage a fourth-place result, despite a strong finish. Ukraine, breaking a long Russian winning streak, took the men’s gold, with Russia second and Armenia third.

The silver medalists included former women’s world champion Susan Polgar on first board, Brooklyn’s Irina Krush on second board, Ukrainian-born WIM-elect Anna Zatonskih on third board, and master Jennifer Shahade as alternate.

Polgar, one of Hungary’s three famous chess-playing Polgar sisters, and Zatonskih, a two-time Ukrainian women’s champ, were making their first Olympiad appearances for their adopted country. Both won critical games in Calvia to help earn the breakthrough medal.

Polgar’s win over Georgian legend Maia Chiburdanidze — herself a longtime former women’s world titleholder — was one of the best games of the event. The win paced the U.S. squad to a 2-1 victory over one of the pre-tournament favorites.

In an English Opening, Polgar said after the game she obtained a big psychological edge with the aggressive 8. Bb2 d6 9. g4!?, launching a violent attack without even bothering to castle.

The game’s star move comes few moments later with the striking 13. Bf5 g6 (see diagram) Nxe5!!, violently breaking up the Black center. Taking the piece right away invites 14…dxe5 15. Qxe5, hitting the knight and threatening mates on g7 and h8. Losing now is 15…Ng2+ 16. Rxg2 f6 16. Be6+ Rf7 18. Qg3 Bxg2 19. Qxg2 Nd7 20. Qd5 Ne5 21. Bxe5 Qxd5 22. Bxd5 fxe6 23. Bxa8.

Also falling short would be 14…Qe8 15. Be4! Bxe4 16. Ng4! Nd3 17. Qxd3! f6 (Bxd3?? 18. Nh6 mate) 18. Nh6+ Kg7 19. gxf6+ Rxf6 (Kxh6 20. Qh3 mate) 20. Qxd6 Nd7 21. Ng4, with a decisive material edge.

Chiburdanidze tries 14…Nxe2, but Polgar had prepared the neat 15. Nxf7! Nxc3 (Kxf7 16. Qg7+ Ke8 17. Bf6 Rf7 18. Qg8+ Rf8 19. Qe6+ Qe7 20. Qxe7 mate) 16. Nh6+, virtually forcing the sequence 16…Kg7 17. Bxc3+ Rf6 18. Bxf6+ Qxf6 19. gxf6+ Kxh6, and White emerges and pawn and the exchange to the good.

Polgar’s only regret in the game was that now 20. Rb1!, with the idea of 21. Rb3 and 22. Rh3 mate, would have wrapped things up in style. Still White retains an overwhelming edge, and simplifies down to the won ending with the alert 36. Kf1 Nd2+ 37. Rxd2! Rxd2 38. Rc6 Rc2 39. b6.

The White queenside passed pawns can’t be stopped and Chiburdanidze resigned.

Zatonskih scored several nice wins in Calvia, including a lightning attack that upended Venezuelan expert Zaida Hernandez. Hernandez actually holds up her end on the Black side of a Sicilian, but a moment’s inattention costs her dearly.

After 23. Bh4 Na5 24. Bf6 Rxc3 25. bxc3, Black has some decent queenside pressure. But the absence of pieces around her lonely king was a wailing distress call that goes ignored.

Thus 25…Rc8? (pre-emptive flight with 25…Kf8 may be needed here; already 25…Nc4 26. Qe1 Bxf6 27. exf6 Nc6 28. Qh4 Qd8 29. Kf2!, clearing the way for the rook, wins for White) 26. Qe1! Bxb5 27. axb5 Kf8 (too late) 28. Qh4 Ng8 29. g5 Bxf6 30. gxf6 Qd8 31. Qh8!, with a decisive invasion.

Black is helpless against the twin threats of 31. Ng5 and 31. Qg7+; e.g. 31…Rc7 32. Ng5 Ke8 33. Qxg8+. Hernandez resigned.

The ninth annual Northern Virginia Open gets under way this morning at the Holiday Inn-Express at 6401 Brandon Ave. in Springfield. Twenty Grand Prix points are at stake, and the tournament has attracted some strong out-of-town competition in the past.

Spectating is free and play continues through Sunday evening. For more information, check out the tournament Web site at www.vachess.org/nova.htm.

36th Chess Olympiad, Calvia, Spain, October 2004


1. Nf3Nf621. Bd5Rf8

2. c4e622. f7Nd8

3. Nc3Bb423. Bxb7Nxb7

4. Qc20-024. Rg3Rxf7

5. a3Bxc325. Re3Nd8

6. Qxc3c526. b5Rf4

7. b4b627. d3d5

8. Bb2d628. Re7dxc4

9. g4Bb729. dxc4Nf7

10. g5Nh530. Rd1Ng5

11. Rg1e531. Rxa7Rxc4

12. Bh3Nf432. Ra6Rc2

13. Bf5g633. Rxb6c4

14. Nxe5Nxe234. a4Ra2

15. Nxf7Nxc335. Ra6Nf3+

16. Nh6+Kg736. Kf1Nd2+

17. Bxc3+Rf637. Rxd2Rxd2

18. Bxf6+Qxf638. Rc6Rc2

19. gxf6+Kxh639. b6Black

20. Be6Nc6resigns

36th Chess Olympiad, Calvia, Spain, October 2004


1. e4c517. Rfc1Qd7

2. g3Nc618. Nb5Ba6

3. Bg2g619. h3Nc6

4. d3Bg720. g4hxg4

5. f4d621. hxg4Nfe7

6. Nf3e622. Rc3Rfc8

7. c3Nge723. Bh4Na5

8. 0-00-024. Bf6Rxc3

9. Be3Qc725. bxc3Rc8

10. a4b626. Qe1Bxb5

11. Na3d527. axb5Kf8

12. e5Nf528. Qh4Ng8

13. Bf2h529. g5Bxf6

14. Qe2Rb830. gxf6Qd8

15. d4cxd431. Qh8Black

16. cxd4Nb4resigns

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

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