Monday, March 30, 2015

Ray Robson, Anna Sharevich, and Katerina Nemcova on KPLR channel 11

Pogonina: My opponent went into a variation that is considered dangerous for Black

Natalia Pogonina managed to come back for the third time at the World Championship, defeating Pia Cramling with a swift attack. After the game Natalia came to the press center for an interview.

Anastasia Karlovich: Natalia, this is the third time you win on demand at this championship! How did you do it today?

Natalia Pogonina: My opponent went into a variation that is considered dangerous for Black – a strange choice in a situation when you need a draw to advance. We arrived at a complicated position with good attacking chances for White. My maneuvering was probably not ideal, but her 17...Qc5 gave me a tempo for 18.Nb3 and 19.Nd2, after which White should have a very comfortable edge.

After that I had so many tempting continuations that it was difficult to choose between them, that's why I took so much time for my moves.

– Yet Pia was spending more time than you, and in the end you had some extra time on the clock, which allowed you to calculate the nice finale! Or did you see it instantly?

– No, I discovered 38.Nd7+ only after some thought. I had 10 minutes left, so I could afford using some of this time.

– It must be very pleasing to end the game in such fashion...

– I would take any win, to be honest.

– On the move 28, did you consider other ideas apart from 28.f4?

– I calculated some knight leaps, but eventually decided to strengthen my base on e5, and then push the h-pawn. It looked a solid plan to me.

– What about 28.Rxc4?

– I looked into it, but not very deeply. Now I see that I don't have to regain an exchange after 28...Qxc4 29.Nd6, but can simply continue the attack. Looks good for White, too.

– Which of the three matches you saved on demand was the most difficult?

– All of them were difficult – there were tough opponents, and I needed to win... I don't want to single out any of them.

– What is your mood before the tie-break? What color do you have in the first game?

– My mood is good as usual. I will play Black in the first game.

Playoff tomorrow to determine WWC finalists

Semifinal game 2 results

Harika, Dronavalli (IND) ½-½ Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR) 1-1
Pogonina, Natalija (RUS) 1-0 Cramling, Pia (SWE) 1-1

After 2 games, both matches are tied at 1-1. There will be a rapid / blitz / Armageddon playoff tomorrow to determine the two finalists.

Chess Improvement: Attacking brilliancy at the World Women Chess 2015 presented by GM Kuljasevic

More playoff to determine the WWC finalists

World Women's Chess: Harika draws against Mariya, duel enters tie-breaker
IANS | Chennai
March 30, 2015 Last Updated at 22:30 IST

Indian chess Grandmaster Harika Dronavalli on Monday drew against Ukraine Women GM (WGM) Mariya Muzychuk in 78 moves in the World Women's Chess Championship 2015 semi-final at Sochi in Russia.

In the other return semi-final game, Russian WGM Natalija Pogonina took sweet revenge for her loss on Sunday by defeating Swedish GM Pia Cramling in 38 moves.

The contests between the semi-finalists now enters the tie-breaker. The two finalists will emerge in the play-offs on Tuesday.

Playing white pieces, Dronavalli -- with FIDE Elo rating 2492 and ranked 16th in the world -- opened the game by putting her knight at f3 square.

The Ukraine opted for Dutch defence and pushed her 'f' pawn two squares forward.

"In the Dutch defence, Muzychuk has chosen a sideline variation and not the mainline," WGM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman told IANS.

According to Subbaraman, both the players have contrasting styles.

"While Mariya is more open and aggressive, as could be seen from the choice of defence, Harika is a positional player," Subbaraman said.

"To win in the knockout format, players need to play smart and steady chess. Gambling may yield short-term dividends but will not work overall," Susan Polgar, a four-time women's world chess champion, told IANS.

"Harika has played steady chess so far and that is why she is still in it. In this game, she is playing solidly for results. I like her choice of opening. She is controlling the pace of this game. If her opponent does not play accurately, she (Harika) will take advantage of that," Polgar added.

On the 7th move, both took their kings to safety by castling.

Both players also fianchettoed all their bishops.

However, Dronavalli started lagging on time unlike on Sunday when she had the time advantage during the first half of the game.

Soon Mariya started pushing her queen-side pawns thereby opening up the space.

On the 30th move, the Ukrainian went for exchange of queens and seven moves later the players traded one of their rooks.

At this position, each player had a rook. Dronavalli had four connected pawns to Muzychuk's three.

"Though Harika had a slender advantage throughout the game, it was not enough to win," Subbaraman said.

The semi-final contests consist of two games. If the score after two games remains equal, the match is continued in the tie-break.


3 straight for Webster, 5 straight Final Four Championships for SPICE


Round 1 results: Webster 3.5 - 0.5 UMBC

Niclas Huschenbeth vs Liem Le [1/2-1/2]
Ray Robson vs Tanguy Ringoir [1-0]
Akshayraj Kore vs Illya Nyzhnyk [0-1]
Yasif Durarbayli vs Levan Bregadze [1-0]

Round 2 results: Webster 3.5 - 0.5 UTD

Liem Le vs George Margvelashvili [1-0]
Leonid Kritz vs Ray Robson [0-1]
Illya Nyzhnyk vs Conrad Holt [1/2-1/2]
Valentin Yotov vs Yasif Durarbayli [0-1]

Round 3 results: Webster 3.0 - 1.0 TTU

Liem Le vs Yaroslav Zherebukh [1-0]
Elshan Moradiabadi vs Ray Robson [1/2-1/2]
Illya Nyzhnyk vs Andrey Gorovets [1/2-1/2]
Samy Shoker vs Yasif Durarbayli [0-1]

Final standings

1. Webster 10 pts
2. UTD 5.5 pts
3. TTU 4.5 pts
4. UMBC 4.0 pts

With 10 points, the team broke the all time Final Four record of 9.5 points which our team scored in the past 2 years. In addition, the 4.5 point winning margin is the largest ever (beating our own record of winning by 2.5 points in the past 2 years). This is in spite of not having our #1 Wesley So and #3 Georg Meier from last year!

Congratulations to the students for their hard work and dedication for excellence!

Pia Cramling and her endgame rules

Anastasia Karlovich: Dear chess friends. We are in the press center. And Pia Cramling came here to share with us her impressions after the game against Natalia Pogonina. Pia, first of all, did your preparations work out today? How was the game?

Pia Cramling: I thought it would be nice possibility we would play this opening. She has played it before. I thought it would be quiet and long game. Nothing more than that. What happened is that we went to an endgame which quickly became a little better for me. It was pleasant position for me. Slowly I improved. When I got this rook ending, where she could only make Kd8, Kd7, it was fantastic position for me.

But it took me long to decide where I should place my h pawn, whether it should be on h5 or continue on h3. Then I found the right move. But I think in the end I should have played more correct. I don’t think I played well in the end. But of course I am very happy that I won the game.

Anastasia Karlovich: You have a lot of experience playing the endgames. Do you think it helped you today?

Pia Cramling: Yes, I guess this is one of the advantages that helped me. Indeed I played a lot of such endgames. I think the way to learn endgames is just to play them.

Anastasia Karlovich: Is it a basic rule of this endgame, when you have small advantage, when you press a little bit but still you are far from the victory.

Pia Cramling: You need to have active pieces. You should find more targets. When I put a pawn on h5, there was a target on h6. It was quite logical that pawn should go further.

Anastasia Karlovich: What do you think, maybe she had to take on h4?

Pia Cramling: Maybe, but then I could have a possibility to enter with my king to f4. And she would have to play f6. But she has a danger to be in zugzwang. I will go Kf5. So, I think it was nice position for me.

Anastasia Karlovich: Tomorrow you are playing with black pieces. What is your plan for tomorrow? What is your strategy?

Pia Cramling: I don’t know, I will just try to play good chess.

Anastasia Karlovich: We wish you all the best tomorrow. Thank you so much.

Press conference with Harika Dronavalli and Mariya Muzychuk

Anastasia Karlovich: Hello, dear chess friends. We are in the press center of the Women’s World Chess Championship. Our guests are Harika Dronavalli and Mariya Muzychuk. Their first game of the semifinal match finished in a draw. Can you say a few words about today’s game? Harika can you tell us about the opening, this variation with 4...Bb4? It seemed to be your home preparation?

Harika Dronavalli: It was a side variation. White should have a slight initiative. But she just has to find the correct plan. I am not sure if 15.Ncd5 is correct move. I think it is too quick to give me a chance to exchange. At least that’s what I think. Here, I thought anytime I am going to take on c6, it is going to be too passive. She will have a good position and will keep playing. So I decided to make this d5-pawn isolated and try to keep some chances.

So, to my mind, she had to be very careful about this d5 pawn. I felt some weakness to target. I don’t know how good was 20...h5. Over the board I felt it is quite practical to play it. I calculated this variation and it was ok to my mind.

But after 25.h3 I started to misplay. 26...Ke7 was still ok. But then 27...Ra5 was not a good move. Better was 27...Nxd5+ 28.Kxe4 c6 29.Be2 and here at least I have 29...h4.

Mariya Muzychuk: I don’t think white has an advantage in this position. It’s equal.

Harika Dronavalli: That’s what I felt as well. But variation I played was really bad. I can even include in the same variation (27...Nxd5+) the move 29...b5. It’s all the same, but at least my rook could have been in a better position. But in the variation I played I moved my rook on a wrong square and I gave her tempo. Later because of 27...Ra5 she was slightly better.

Anastasia Karlovich: Masha, how did you estimate your position? Can you show us some critical moments to your mind?

Mariya Muzychuk: I liked my position here. But probably 29...h4 was better instead of 29...c6. And after that c6 is possible.

Harika Dronavalli: Yes, I saw it as well. But I thought 29...h4 30.Kf3 (with next Kg4). 30...Ra4, 31.Rc4 maybe. 

I shouldn't have allowed this 30.g4. I thought she is getting in with the king - Kf3, Kg4. Maybe I was wrong. I should not have played 29...c6.

Anastasia Karlovich: After 30.g4, taking on g4, what do you think about your position?

Mariya Muzychuk: During the game I thought my position was much better. I expected to win this game. But black had many tricks and I started to think and spent a lot of time.

Harika Dronavalli: After I made a move (33...Nf6+) I expected only 34.Kf3. Only later I realized that 34.Kf5 is also possible. Maybe 34.Kf3 Rh8 is the move after that.

Mariya Muzychuk: Then 35.Re1 Kf8 36.Kg3 d5. Yes, there is a counter play.

Harika Dronavalli: I think 34.Kf5 is quite strong move over the board practically.

Mariya Muzychuk: Here after 36.Re6 I expected 36...Nd7+ 37. Kg5 Nc5.

Harika Dronavalli: But here if I continue this line, at one point after 38.Re3 I can’t stop the pawns. I thought it would be difficult, for if my knight doesn’t come back to my pawns.

Mariya Muzychuk: You could have played 38...d5 there.

Harika Dronavalli: Then 39.f5 d4 40.Rh3 d3 41.Bd1 with idea b4, but there is 41...Ne4+

Mariya Muzychuk: Very dangerous knight still.

Harika Dronavalli: I thought if my knight is far from passed pawns, it is easier for my opponent to play. That’s why I decided to take it.

Later I don’t know what was happening there if 38.Rf6 Nh3+ 39.Kf5, maybe 39.Kg6 even. This ending is crazy completely. Difficult one.

Anastasia Karlovich: In general, what black should do? Keep the rooks or change them?

Harika Dronavalli: If possible, I would like to keep my rooks. But the position was very concrete. I think after 41.Re2 white was clearly better.

Mariya Muzychuk: 41...c5 is a very strong move. I calculated 42.Be6+ Kd6 43.Bf5 and then 43...Ne5 44.Rd2+ Kc6. But probably it's not winning at all. That’s why I wanted to get a rook ending.

Harika Dronavalli: Yes, that’s why I had to play 42...Nf4. Suddenly it became very concrete now. I think I am already saving this position.

Later, If I play 46...Rh8+ 47.Bh7, and I can’t stop the g-pawn.

Mariya Muzychuk: Yes, that was my plan.

Harika Dronavalli: So, I started with 46...b6. And I am not sure about 47.Rf7. What if white goes 47.Rb7?

Mariya Muzychuk: Then 47...Nd5 comes.

Harika Dronavalli: 47...Nd5 and 48...Nf6 is coming. Okay, 47.Rf7 Rd8 is my practical chance, and after 48...Rh8+ I got a counter.

Even if I give my knight for a pawn, it should be a draw soon.

After 50.Rf5+ I had to make a tough decision whether I should enter the rook ending or not. It was hard for me to understand. Maybe it was equal.

Then I chose 50...Kd6. I thought 51.Rxf4 was the only try here. It could go on Kxd7 52.g5 Rxb2 53.Kf7 and I think I am fast enough.

After the game move 51.Bxb5 I think it is easier for me to play. If white moves 52.Kf7, then it is 52...Rh7+ and direct draw. After 55...c4 it started to be very tricky and my opponent had to give the pawn back.

Anastasia Karlovich: Harika, did you have a feeling that something went wrong in the game?

Harika Dronavalli: Yes, because I gave her one tempo and gave her 30.g4. Because of these two moves, I had got a very bad position. But I managed to equalize it.

Anastasia Karlovich: Harika, what did you do yesterday? You had a free day. I wonder did you follow tie break games online or you tried to get some rest?

Harika Dronavalli: No, definitely I did not see live games, but later I went online to check the results. I had so many playing days. I just wanted to have some rest. That is what I was doing during my free day.

Anastasia Karlovich: Mariya, my question is to you. What about your sister? Did she decide to stay and help you?

Mariya Muzychuk: My sister stayed here with me. I am very happy that she did not leave me. I hope that she could give me some good advices.

Anastasia Karlovich: Thank you, dear girls for coming.

Polish Championship LIVE!

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Brain teaser

White to move. Does White have a win? How should White proceed? No computer lines please.

1n4bQ/pq6/1ppppr2/R1b2kr1/2Pn4/1P1P1NPp/3P1K1N/1BB5 w - - 0 1

Typical play in French for White (Part II) ... and more

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Urii Eliseev and Daria Charochkina are new Moscow Champions

The final events of the Moscow Chess Championships for men and women were held from 14-22nd March at the Russian State Social University.

In the men section GM Urii Eliseev and IM David Paravyan shared the first place with 6,5/9 points each. Eliseev is declared winner on better tie-break.

The bronze medal was also decided by tie-break, with FM Dmitry Gordievsky edging GM Igor Naumkin.

In the women section WGM Daria Charochkina dominated, taking the clear first place with 8,0/9 points, leaving the second placed FM Daria Pustovoitova a full point behind. WFM Anastasya Paramzina is third with 5,5 points.

Daria Charochkina and Urii Eliseev

The total prize fund for both sections was 300,000 RUB.

Tournament website

Top finishers

Final standings (Men):

1 GM Eliseev Urii RUS 2514 – 6.5
2 IM Paravyan David RUS 2436 – 6.5
3 FM Gordievsky Dmitry RUS 2472 – 6
4 GM Naumkin Igor RUS 2431 – 6
5 GM Belous Vladimir RUS 2569 – 5.5
6 IM Dvalishvili Pavel S. RUS 2439 – 5.5
7 GM Krapivin Alexander RUS 2436 – 5.5
8 GM Savchenko Boris RUS 2581 – 5.5
9 IM Demidov Mikhail RUS 2531 – 5.5
10 IM Sychev Klementy RUS 2429 – 5

Final standings (Women):

1 WGM Charochkina Daria RUS 2376 – 8
2 FM Pustovoitova Daria RUS 2339 – 7
3 WFM Paramzina Anastasya RUS 2241 – 5.5
4 WGM Chasovnikova Eugenia RUS 2198 – 5
5 IM Vasilevich Irina RUS 2316 – 5