Monday, August 6, 2007

Blast from the Past: Judit Polgar Wins U.S. Open

CHESS; Polgar Is First Woman to Win the Open By ROBERT BYRNE Published: August 25, 1998 Judit Polgar of Hungary, in a display of dazzling sacrificial tactics as well as slow strategic maneuvering, has become the first woman ever to finish first in a United States Open. Polgar, at 22 the highest-ranked woman in the world, and Boris Gulko, a Fair Lawn, N.J., grandmaster and former United States Invitational champion, each scored 8-1 to share a victory over some 300 entrants. The two grandmasters were each awarded a prize of $3,750 in the tournament, which was held at the Kona Surf Resort in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Aug. 1 to 9. The only time they faced each other over the board, in the seventh round, they had a respectful, carefully contested draw. To achieve her share of the victory, Polgar had to foil many of her opponents who would have been honored to get a draw with her. In some cases, she had to grind them down in lengthy endings; in others she set sneaky snares. Her most typical -- and most brilliant -- performance was her game against the Georgian grandmaster Georgi Kacheishvili. Polgar won with a decisive attack produced by a fascinating queen sacrifice. In the Classical Variation of the King's Indian Defense, 7 . . . Na6 is a 10-year-old move that lacks the central challenge of 7 . . . Nc6, but in the event of 8 d5 it is well-positioned to delay c5. Unlike 7 . . . Nbd7, it does not block the black queen bishop. After 11 f3, it would be wrong to play 11 . . . Nh2 because 12 Kh2 Qh4 13 Kg1 Bd4 14 Qd4 Qe1 15 Bh6. Polgar had to get some open lines for counterattack with 15 . . . f5 or suffer a permanently passive position. That's the kind of dare she never declines. After 19 . . . Bd7, there was no immediate chance for Kacheishvili to attack on the queenside, so he tried to prevent the black pieces from sauntering into his king position by the forcing 20 f4. But the aggressive Polgar soon let loose with the speculative pawn sacrifice 23 . . . Nc5!? 24 Nc7 Ne4 25 Be4 Re4 26 Re4 fe. [My note what is fe???] On 27 . . . Ne5!?, the penalty for 28 fe? would have been 28 . . . Qf3 29 Qg2 Qd1. Kacheishvili tried to kill off Polgar's threats with 31 Nf6 Qf7 32 Rd6 (32 Nd5 meets with 32 . . . Rg3! 33 hg? Qh5 34 Kg2 Qh2 35 Kf1 Qg1 mate), but Polgar set up a queen sacrifice with 32 . . . Qe7 33 Qd1 Rg6! 34 Qa1 Qd6 35 Ne8 Kg8 36 Nd6 Rd6, gaining a powerful attack with her rook and bishop. Kacheishvili played 40 Qb1 but gave up without going further. He had no defense against 40 . . . Ne1! 41 Qe1 e3 42 Kg1 Rg2 43 Kh1 Rg3 mate. If 41 Kg1, then 41 . . . Rg2 42 Kh1 Rb2! 43 Qb2 e3 44 Kg1 Nf3 45 Kh1 (45 Kg2 Ng5 46 Kg1 Nh3 mate) Ng5 46 Qg2 e2. If 41 Ne3, then Re2 42 Nd5 (or 42 Qc1 Nf3 43 Nf1 e3 44 Qe3 Ng5 45 Kg1 Nh3 mate) Nf3.

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