Monday, September 15, 2008
Kosteniuk - American Resident
Chess By Lubomir Kavalek Special to The Washington Post Monday, September 15, 2008; Page C10 Florida attracts not only hurricanes. Many excellent foreign tennis players found a second home there, and chess players were not far behind. The Russian grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk also lives in the Sunshine State. Last week, she made it to the final of the FIDE Women's World Championship in Nalchik, Russia. Her decisive quaterfinal victory against Ukraine's Anna Ushenina came in a Nimzo-Indian variation that debuted in a world championship match in 1993 in London. By slightly tweaking the move order, Kosteniuk created a perfect storm. Ushenina-Kosteniuk 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 c5 7.dxc5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Ne4! 10.e3 Qa5! (I found this precise move order when I was preparing Nigel Short for his world championship match against Garry Kasparov in 1993. It improves on 10...Nc6 11.Nf3 Qa5 12.Nd2! Nxc3 13.bxc3 Bxc3 14.Rb1 Qxc5 15.Rb5 Qa3 16.Rb3 Bxd2+ 17.Qxd2 Qa5 played in the game Spassky-Fischer, Belgrade 1992.) 11.Be5 (The bishop move was also Kasparov's first reaction against Short. After he had time to analyze it, he came up with 11.Nge2.) 11...0-0 12.Bd3 Nc6 13.Bxe4 Nxe5! 14.Bh7+ ?! (A suspect move. After 14.Bxd5 Bg4! the game Kasparov-Short, London 1993, went 15.Nf3 Bxf3 16.Bxf3 Nxf3+ 17.gxf3 Rac8 18.0-0 and draw was agreed. As later games confirmed, black is already better after 18...Rxc5. Instead of 15.Nf3, grabbing the pawn 15.Bxb7 led to a disaster in the game Carlhammar-Kosten, Villeurbanne 2003, after 15...Rad8 16.Be4 Nc4 17.Rc1 Nxb2 18.f3 Nc4 19.Nge2 Nxe3 20.Qb1 Be6 21.Kf2 f5 and white resigned.) 14...Kg7 15.Bd3 b6! (Kosteniuk finds an improvement to 15...d4 16.exd4 Nxd3+ 17.Qxd3 Re8+ 18.Nge2 b6 when white can try to escape with 19.0-0-0.) 16.cxb6? (Loses by force. After 16.0-0-0 Bxc3 17.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 18.bxc3 Nxd3+ 19.Rxd3 Bf5 20.Rd2 [On 20.Rxd5 Be4 wins.] 20...bxc5 black has the edge.) 1 6...d4! 17.exd4 Nxd3+ 18.Qxd3 Re8+ 19.Kd1 (After 19.Nge2 Ba6 wins.) 19...Bf5 20.Qd2 (20.Qf3 only transposes to the game after 20...Bxc3 21.Qxc3, since 21.bxc3? allows 21...Qa4+ 22.Kd2 Qc2 mate.) 20...Bxc3 21.Qxc3 Qxb6 (21...Qa6! 22.Kd2 Rac8 23.Qb3 Qa5+ also wins.) 22.Ne2 Rac8 23.Qa3 Rc2 (Almost everything wins here, for example 23...Qc6 24.Rc1 Qe4!; or 23...Rc4 24.h3 Rxd4+ 25.Ke1 Rxe2+! 26.Kxe2 Qb5+ 27.Ke1 Re4+.) 24.Re1 Rd8 (24...Rc4 is also good.) 25.Qe3 Qxb2 26.Rc1 Re8 (27.Qxe8 allows 27...Rd2 epaulet mate.) White resigned.