Sunday, February 28, 2010

Judit Polgar - Gregory Kaidanov Sicilian Theme Match

A wrap-up report.

I left you all in suspense, as at the end of Game 3 GM Kaidanov led the match 2 games to 1.  But GM Judit Polgar tied the match by winning the final game (Game 4) behind the white pieces, forcing a play-off series of  two games (each player won one game) and then a final Armageddon game, eek!   You can read the exciting report of the final as well as a review of each game at Susan Polgar's blog.  I won't keep you in suspense - Judit won!!!!

The match was sponsored by Jeff Smith, who funded a $22,000 purse divided between the two players ($22,000 per Monroi; $16,000 per Chessbase).

Chessbase has a report, Monroi provided live coverage of the games (includes photos and videos), and GM Alexandra Kosteniuk has included one of Judit's games (Game 2) at her blog as an excellent example of the Dragon variation of the Sicilian (like I know what that is - har!)  

Congratulations to Judit Polgar.  I hope this signals that we may be seeing more of her in the future - but if we do not, she has set the standard that other up-and-coming chess femmes are striving to reach. 

This is an exciting time to be covering news of female chessplayers.  In my mind, I compare the advancement of women in professional chess to what is happening in the world of Olympics-eligible female figure skaters.  It seems just a few years ago that a new young star burst on the scene.  Michelle Kwan.  She set the standard and elevated ladies' figure-skating to new heights, introducing an element of athleticism combined with artistry that rocked the skating world.  Kwan retired in 2006 - just in time for a new star to begin her rise.  At the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics South Korean skating star Kim Yu Na totally exploded the previous record for ladies' programs top scores (short program and free skate) under the new scoring system.  Yu Na is now the standard that other up-and-coming skaters are striving to reach., taking over the torch from Kwan, so to speak.

Who will be the new female star in chess to reach Judit Polgar's standard and take over her torch?

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