Friday, April 8, 2011

A Little Judit Will Do You Good

Judit Polgar wows European Championship with mother of all displays
Leonard Barden, Friday 8 April 2011 13.42 BST

Though Russia's Vladimir Potkin won the European Championship at Aix-les-Bains on tie-break, it was the bronze medallist Judit Polgar who most delighted the global online audience by her creative chess. The world's all-time No1 woman player won four imaginative attacks and two subtle endgames in her 8½/11 total.

Polgar is now a mother of two and plays few events, making her result the more impressive. Here she counters White's slow 4 Qc2?! by fast development, then sacrifices a whole rook to keep the white king in the centre. Computers are unconvinced, but over the board defenders usually err in such positions, and 19 Rc1? (19 Ng5) and 26 Qf3? (26 g4) led to a Polgar piece invasion where 31...e3! stops perpetual check.

L Pantsulaia v J Polgar

1 c4 e6 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 g3 d5 4 Qc2?! c5 5 d4 cxd4 6 Nxd4 e5 7 Nb3 Nc6 8 Bg2 Nb4 9 Qd1 dxc4 10 N3d2 Bf5 11 Na3 b5! 12 Bxa8 Qxa8 13 Nf3 Nd3+ 14 exd3 Bxd3 15 Nxb5 Bb4+ 16 Nc3 0-0 17 Rg1 Ne4 18 Bd2 Rd8 19 Rc1? Nxc3 20 bxc3 Ba3 21 Be3 Bxc1 22 Bxc1 Rb8 23 Nd2 Qd5 24 Qa4 a5 25 Qd1 h6! 26 Qf3? Rb1! 27 Kd1 e4 28 Qf4 Ra1 29 Qb8+ Kh7 30 g4 Qd7 31 Qe5 e3! 32 fxe3 Qa4+ 33 Ke1 Rxc1+ 34 Kf2 Rxg1 0-1

Sebastien Feller's unbeaten 8/11 and seventh place was a huge result in the context of the French Chess Federation's ban on the 20-year-old for alleged computer cheating at the 2010 Olympiad. At Aix, with no possibility of outside help, Feller's performance was 50 rating points higher than in the Olympiad, a fact which will surely be quoted when his appeal against suspension is heard.

He was booed at the prize-giving, but the controversy has divided French chess and is set to run. Feller was the only home player in Aix to qualify for the World Cup in August. England No2 Luke McShane lost in the final round but his 7.5/11 was also enough for a World Cup place.

Polgar exploits Black's slow opening (9...Nxd4!) by a classic king's side pawn storm.

J Polgar v C Philippe

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be2 d6 7 Be3 Nf6 8 g4 h6 9 h4 Bd7? 10 Rg1 d5 11 exd5 Nxd5 12 Nxd5 exd5 13 Qd2 Rc8 14 0-0-0 Bb4 15 c3 Be7 16 f4 b5 17 Kb1 Na5 18 Nf3 Bc6 19 Bd4 0-0 20 g5 h5 21 Ne5 Nc4 22 Bxc4 dxc4 23 Qe2! Qe8 24 Nxc6 Rxc6 25 Qe5 f6 26 Qd5+ Kh8 27 g6 f5 28 Qf3! 1-0

3186 1 Bc6 Ke8 (or Bxc6 2 dxc6 Ke8 3 f5!) 2 f5! and White queens.

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