Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 Chess Olympiad - This and That

Hola!  Darlings, I lied to you - TWICE! 

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.  I thought this Olympiad goes only 9 rounds, but actually I learned by visiting Susan Polgar's chess blog earlier today that it goes 11 rounds.  I also had previously reported that Mansky Kamsky did NOT have an airport - but it does!  However, the airport is too small or something - maybe not enough guards to keep out hoards of invaders from third world countries? - anyway, not big enough to land jumbo jets or whatever.  I don't know - anyway, it's too fricking small to do what it should have been able to do in order to get all of the people to Mansky Kamsky with a minimum of fuss and bother, so it ranks with Podunk City as far as necessary amenities, plus it's in Siberia, darlings.  Geez!

I thought it would be nice to bring you some more photographs of some of the lovely chess femmes at the Olympiad.  A look at some of these women will convince you that chess is not a "game for geeks" :) All photos are from the official website, unless otherwise stated.

GM Susan Polgar (left) and GM Judit Polgar (right).  Photo (c)2010 Albran.
 I saw this photo yesterday at The Week in Chess as I was reviewing news coverage after R5.  I don't know who the fellow is but whatever he said must have been very funny.  Susan Polgar is, of course, the founder and one of the authors of the popular chess blog Chess Daily News and Information.  Her chess career is extensive - she's been there and done just about all of it, including being Women's World Chess Champion 1996-1999 representing Hungary at the time. She was the first female to earn a GM title the traditional way, by earning norms in qualifying events and meeting the ELO requirement. In 2004 she helped the United States' Women's Chess Olympiad team win it's first ever medal at a Chess Olympiad - Silver - and also won an individual Gold Medal for her performance on Board 1 - one of many individual gold medals she has won through the years for her Olympiad performances.  SP has won many other championship titles, awards and accolades.  These days she makes her home in Lubbock, Texas where she runs SPICE - the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence - at Texas Tech University and coaches the surging Texas Knight Raiders chess team.  SPICE has also instituted a series of elite invitational tournaments with highly-rated international GMs as well as tournaments designed to provide opportunity for American players to earn coveted IM and GM norms.  It seems she has retired from tournament chess but I hope that someday someone will be able to lure her out of this retirement :)

Susan Polgar's youngest sister, GM Judit Polgar is, quite simply, the best female player in the world - ever, and prior to her marriage and motherhood's duties filling her days, was routinely in the top 10 and then the 20 players of the world with an ELO above 2700.  JPolgar has not lost her competitive fire and, with a supportive husband and famiily, has announced her intention to put more time into competitive chess endeavors.  She never left the chess scene, exactly, but appeared in what I call "fluff" events which were, nevertheless, enormously popular.  JPolgar continues to be a huge chess star and a giant draw for any event in which she plays, and organizers of events are well aware of her star power.  But, JPolgar is far from "fluff" on the board, as her record thus far anchoring Board 3 for Team Hungary in the Open at the 2010 Chess Olympiad well attests. 

Photo from R5:  Bulgaria versus Ukraine.  Board 1 saw a show-down between GM Antoaneta Stefanova (fur-collared
jacket slung over the back of her chair, far left)  a former Women's World Chess Champion, and GM Kateryna Lahno,
the newly-crowned Women's World Blitz Chess Champion, on Board 1, sitting across from  Stevanova, hand under chin)
This is one of the photos from the official website which, I must say, is putting up a lot of great photos. It caught my eye not only because of the dramatic match it depicted but because of all those black leather jackets! I had no idea black leather jackets are de rigeur this season but, evidently, they are. If you noticed, Susan Polgar was wearing a black leather jacket in the top photo - with a ruffle no less! Geez, guess I'm really out of the loop fashion wise, spend too much time with my nose in history books and at this blog...

I called Bulgaria-Ukraine a show-down and that's no lie, it was.  If Bulgaria hoped to stay in contention for a shot at a medal, it had to - ideally - defeat the powerful Ukraine Women's team - or at least split the match for a point each.  Bulgaria's team is anchored by former Women's World Chess Champion GM Antoaneta Stefanova, who has been one of the best female players in the world for many years.  However, Bulgaria's women's team drops off sharply on the bottom two boards compared to Ukraine, and that was the difference in results in R5:

Round 5 on 2010/09/25 at 15:00
Bo. 3 Ukraine (UKR) Rtg - 12 Bulgaria (BUL) Rtg 3 : 1

1.1 GM Lahno Kateryna 2539 - GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2551 ½ - ½
1.2 GM Zhukova Natalia 2499 - WGM Voiska Margarita 2314 ½ - ½
1.3 IM Ushenina Anna 2466 - WIM Nikolova Adriana 2295 1 - 0
1.4 IM Gaponenko Inna 2469 - WIM Videnova Iva 2283 1 - 0

It was astonishing to me, frankly, that Margarita Voiska held a draw against the powerful Zhukova; Nikolova and Videnova lost their respective games to Ushenina and Gaponenko, two more established chess stars who have played in elite Women's events around the globe, with their much higher ELO ratings.

Now darlings, you should know if you've been following this blog, that Ukraine Women sit in FIRST place after R5; RUSSIA 1 is in SECOND; and those fighting-chess-chicks from the USA are in THIRD place, yippee!  Bulgaria is in THIRTEENTH place at the moment.


Anna Zatonskih, date unknown
 USA Women have to face tough as nails Georgia in R6.  Georgia is currently in SIXTH place and is gunning to get back into the top 3.  I have some favorite players on the Georgian Team, but in this case nation takes trumps, and I'll be rooting for USA all the way.  While Irina Krush has been burning up Board 1 and at this point is in line for an individual Gold Medal for her Board 1 play, it is critical to USA Women's performance in the second half that Anna Zatonskih MUST get her game in gear.  Is Zatonskih ill (she has had health issues in the past)?  Is she missing her husband/best friend/chess advisor GM Daniel Fridman, who is not playing on the German Open Team because of a horrible controversy that erupted between the best German players and the German Chess Federation?  It may be neither of these things, or something else, or a case of the chess "yips" (similar to not being able to putt in the crunch in money games of golf).  The thing is, great players find a way, somehow, to rise above "yips" and illness and everything else that distracts us ordinary mortals, and they play their asses off when it counts.  Anna, I love you, but you are not playing your ass off.  Get going, girl friend!
R1, I do not know who she is, or what team she is on.

Round 3, I do not know who she is or what team she is on.
More later - right now I've got to get outside and cut the front lawn...

1 comment:

Blog Admin said...

That's Judit's husband :)

Best wishes,
Susan

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