Personal Experience at the U.S. Women's Championship. Part 3.

  • WIM energia
  • | May 31, 2013

This week we are wrapping up the overview of my play from the U.S. Women's Championship. The last two articles featured the first six games and today we will look at the key moments from the last three games.

With this article I would like to concentrate not only on the analysis but also the preparation and what kind of advice followed. Speaking of the analysis, one should analyze his/her games after the tournament. Each player should have his/her own routine. As for me, after analyzing with the opponent I briefly look at the computer evaluations after the game, then when I am home I spend about two hours on each game with my coach. Then, if needed, we do additional work later for a specific opening. I also look at the games in depth with an engine. To present all the ideas and analysis here is infeasible due to time and space limitations, therefore I shall only concentrate on the key moments.

In round six I faced WGM Sabina Foisor who had a rough start but seemed to recover and even drew IM Irina Krush. She is a strong practical player with great dynamic sense. However, her opening choices sometimes are questionable. My coach set a task for me to react to any weird setups with central and simple play and not to dive into unnecessary complications. Keep the game simple. For the opening part I managed to achieve this task.

According to the engine, white is much better or has a decisive advantage. What is the most natural move in this position? Of course e5 - the last two moves prepared it and for the Benoni this is the key idea. It involves some calculation but it is easy to see that this move is very strong. It does not let any black pieces out, which is the case if white plays exf5 - then the Ne7 comes out. Generally, if white manages to get the e5 breakthrough, white's position is much better. Let us see some specific lines and reach another critical position.

At this point, I realized that my safe edge disappeared - black will always have enough counterplay against the weak f2-pawn. She can finish development easily with ...Ne5-Nxd3 and ...Bf5. Sure, the kingside is weak but her pieces are active. Here, I came up with a queen sacrifice that temporarily limited black's development. It is objectively correct but with the right play black could have achieved a draw.

This probably was the most stressful game from the whole tournament. After all when was the last time you sacrificed a queen? Probably the best game that I played in this tournament.

My spirits were high after a combative win like this but tomorrow I had to play IM Anna Zatonskih, against whom my score is absolute zero.


We have played about six times and I have yet to score a draw. Having the white pieces is helpful as I don't risk losing out of the opening. We also predicted the Nimzo but had trouble guessing which line of Nimzo. She played Karpov's variation in the e3 Nimzo, following my first-round game against WFM Sarah Chiang, but then deviated at some point. After theoretical opening moves we reached this critical position.

White has two bishops and more space, which is typical for this opening line. However, the c- and d-pawns are hanging and can become weaknesses. One of the main ideas for white is to push them forward with c4-c5 to create a passed pawn before black manages to consolidate and block the pawns. After Qc7 black is already thinking about taking the e5-knight and even further messing up white's pawn structure. Therefore, here I had to decide whether to take on d7 or retreat the bishop. I chose the weaker move. After Nxd7 I preserve the c- and d-pawns and two bishops, maintaining a slight edge. However, after allowing ...Nxe5 the a-, c- and e-pawns become really weak.

After h6 I can either take on f6 or retreat the bishop. The key here is to understand that white's position can become worse very quickly due to all the pawn weaknesses. Unfortunately for me, I didn't realize this in time. Taking the knight is the correct move because then I get rid of the weak e5-pawn and open black's king. Even after that the position remains approximately equal. Retreating the bishop leads to a worse position where black has the very powerful set-up: Rd8-Nd7-Nf8, where the knight defends the kingside and the rooks and queen put pressure on my queenside. Anna played the remaining moves of the game with unbelievable precision and found all the correct plans. As for me I felt that I lacked complete chess understanding after this game.

Either way, after this game I had no chances to fight for the third place but had good chances to get clear fourth place. My last round opponent WGM Anjelina Belakovskaia hasn't played chess professionally for a long time. Recently she came back; she still lacks modern openings but overall is a strong player. We expected the Trompowsky Attack as an opening and my goal once again was to play simple but solid chess. The 2...d5 line fits this purpose very well as the resulting positions are of a maneuvering type with black having clear plans. In this game I managed to keep the game out of complications better than in the game against Foisor.

We have reached a key position. Normally, black wants to transfer the knight to e4 but in the given position white put some strain on the kingside and I wanted to release it somehow. Playing ...c6,...b6 is one plan and ...c5 is another one. I think ...c5 is stronger because with two bishops one should keep the position open. Hence, ...Nb6 first to attack the bishop then ...Be6 with tempo and ...Rc8 preparing ...c5. Very simple and natural plan.

I am up a pawn but it is not so easy as this extra pawn is a doubled pawn. My bishop is very strong on d5 but so is her e5-knight. A key element in this position to notice is that there are no open files present. Therefore, the rook is not stronger than the knight and giving up the exchange right away is the right decision. I did it a few moves later which gave Belakovskaia extra resources. My bishop keeps an eye on the a2-pawn and if white ever pushes a3 then she allows the ...b3 push.

In the final position Belakovskaia offered me a draw, and after checking the monitors for the Krush-Baginskaite game (which said that Krush won, meaning that a draw gives me a clear fourth place), I accepted. Of course, it turned out that there was a mistake and that game was still going on. But generally in such a winning position I did not have to take a draw under any circumstances. Black can safely improve the position, while white's pieces are all tangled. Draws like these cost very important rating points and I learned my lesson and hopefully will not make these mistakes in the future.

Overall, shared fourth place was my personal best. I am pretty happy with the result and with my play; in the last year I haven't had a single tournament where I did well. Next year I will shoot for the top three if all things go well. Next week we will go over some of the key moments from the U.S. Championship and then will start a new series.


  • 3 years ago


    @ wolf nope, just the european tournaments

  • 3 years ago


    I have to ask this but, are the women at the Womens U.S open hot?

  • 3 years ago


    @Energia: this is from Nicanor Parra, chilean mathematician and poet. He ranks among the most important poets of Spanish language literature. Parra, however, describes himself as an "anti-poet," due to his distaste for standard poetic pomp and function (may not in this particular poem)

    Greetings :)

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    nice article as always.

  • 3 years ago

    FM MikeKlein

    @Energia - You're welcome. It was a great report on the tournament. Now how to top it for the Chess Life article? Not sure I can.

  • 3 years ago


    I have learnd a lot from these 3 articles Thanks for posting them.Smile

  • 3 years ago


    Lool whats this shxt

  • 3 years ago


    Thanks for all the detailed analysis!  I especially enjoyed going through your game against Foisor.  Your Round 7 victory has quickly become one of my all-time favorites and I've played it through many many times.  However, your analysis opens up even more lines and possibilities than I had realized were present.

    I'm a little surprised at how critical you are of your play in that game, despite calling it your best, but I suppose you didn't enter the game with the intent of playing a queen sacrifice.  After hearing you describe it as the most stressful of the tournament, I guess I can understand why you would want to highlight each opportunity in which you would have liked to have simplified the win.

    However, as a spectator, I have to say that I loved the game as played!! Wink

    It was thrilling to watch, and a real treat to see a game with a Queen sacrifice at that level of play!

    Sorry that the monitors gave you a false report during the last round ... I liked your position against Anjelina (and what's far more important, is that you did too!).  But you had a great tournament nonetheless (and a very exciting one), and I'll be rooting for you to achieve your goals for next year's USWCh! Smile

  • 3 years ago


    Is it call democracy? Girls can't play chess with boys, nonesense! I can understand in boxing, running, soccer it can be like that, but chess is a game of brains! Don't we think that males brains are better than females?

    Color of skin, sex, high, weight - everything has no different in modern society! 

  • 3 years ago


    i wanna ask about the third diagram

    23. .... Bxh3!

    "This is the best move and Sabina found it in time-trouble."

    why you dont play 24. gxh3 ...

    i dont find it dangerous for white,

  • 3 years ago

    WIM energia

    @Riedemann this is a beautiful poem (or song). Where is it from? or have you composed it?

  • 3 years ago

    WIM energia

    @MikeKlein Thanks Mike :) this is very nice of you.

  • 3 years ago



    Juro que no recuerdo ni su nombre,

    Mas moriré llamándola María,

    No por simple capricho de poeta:

    Por su aspecto de plaza de provincia.

    ¡Tiempos aquellos!, yo un espantapájaros,

    Ella una joven pálida y sombría.

    Al volver una tarde del Liceo

    Supe de la su muerte inmerecida,

    Nueva que me causó tal desengaño

    Que derramé una lágrima al oírla.

    Una lágrima, sí, ¡quién lo creyera!

    Y eso que soy persona de energía.

    Si he de conceder crédito a lo dicho

    Por la gente que trajo la noticia

    Debo creer, sin vacilar un punto,

    Que murió con mi nombre en las pupilas,

    Hecho que me sorprende, porque nunca

    Fue para mí otra cosa que una amiga.

    Nunca tuve con ella más que simples

    Relaciones de estricta cortesía,

    Nada más que palabras y palabras

    Y una que otra mención de golondrinas.

    La conocí en mi pueblo (de mi pueblo

    Sólo queda un puñado de cenizas),

    Pero jamás vi en ella otro destino

    Que el de una joven triste y pensativa.

    Tanto fue así que hasta llegué a tratarla

    Con el celeste nombre de María,

    Circunstancia que prueba claramente

    La exactitud central de mi doctrina.

    Puede ser que una vez la haya besado, 

    ¡Quién es el que no besa a sus amigas!

    Pero tened presente que lo hice

    Sin darme cuenta bien de lo que hacía.

    No negaré, eso sí, que me gustaba

    Su inmaterial y vaga compañía

    Que era como el espíritu sereno

    Que a las flores domésticas anima.

    Yo no puedo ocultar de ningún modo

    La importancia que tuvo su sonrisa

    Ni desvirtuar el favorable influjo

    Que hasta en las mismas piedras ejercía.

    Agreguemos, aun, que de la noche

    Fueron sus ojos fuente fidedigna.

    Mas, a pesar de todo, es necesario

    Que comprendan que yo no la quería

    Sino con ese vago sentimiento

    Con que a un pariente enfermo se designa.

    Sin embargo sucede, sin embargo,

    Lo que a esta fecha aún me maravilla,

    Ese inaudito y singular ejemplo

    De morir con mi nombre en las pupilas,

    Ella, múltiple rosa inmaculada,

    Ella que era una lámpara legítima.

    Tiene razón, mucha razón, la gente

    Que se pasa quejando noche y día

    De que el mundo traidor en que vivimos

    Vale menos que rueda detenida:

    Mucho más honorable es una tumba,

    Vale más una hoja enmohecida,

    Nada es verdad, aquí nada perdura,

    Ni el color del cristal con que se mira.

    Hoy es un día azul de primavera,

    Creo que moriré de poesía,

    De esa famosa joven melancólica

    No recuerdo ni el nombre que tenía.

    Sólo sé que pasó por este mundo

    Como una paloma fugitiva:

    La olvidé sin quererlo, lentamente,

    Como todas las cosas de la vida.


  • 3 years ago

    FM MikeKlein

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