Women's Speed Chess Championship: Dzagnidze Beats Krush In Tiebreak

Women's Speed Chess Championship: Dzagnidze Beats Krush In Tiebreak

| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

Georgia's GM Nana Dzagnidze beat U.S. GM Irina Krush on Friday in the round of 16 of the FIDE Women's Speed Chess Championship. Krush managed to win the final regular bullet game on demand but then lost three bullet games in a row in the tiebreak. 

Three more matches in the round of 16 are played this weekend:

The live broadcast of the match.

This fifth battle in the round of 16 was another thrilling match that got not only the viewers on the edge of their seats but also commentators WGM Dina Belenkaya and GM Alexandra Kosteniuk. The latter had played in the championship herself and quickly changed roles from player to analyst.

After two wins each and a draw, it was Dzagnidze who took the initiative in the match by winning three games in a row. Krush did manage to win the final 5|1 game but lost that segment 4.5-2.5.

Here's one of Dzagnidze's wins, where she refuted a far too dangerous material grab from her opponent:

The faster the time controls, the better the results were for Krush, who tied the 3|1 portion 3-3. Sometimes the clock had a much bigger effect on the play (and outcome!) than the position, like in game 13. Big blunders happened in time trouble, and Dzagnidze flagged in a winning position:

The bullet segment then started with four wins for the white pieces. Krush drew her next black game and won another one as White; she was just one point behind now. After another draw, she again won with the white pieces while the match clock had run to zero. In other words, she had won a must-win game:

After a short break, the tiebreak started with four more bullet games on the program. The first was disappointing for Krush, who was better in an endgame when she suddenly allowed a mate in two. That was the straw that broke the camel's back, as Krush also lost the other two bullet games.

Krush: "I wanted to make it a competitive match. That actually was my first goal with the fans watching. No one wants to see a total blowout. I was happy to make it close and exciting."

As it turned out, Dzagnidze's decision to change her openings completely for the tiebreak (1.e4 instead of 1.d4 and the Dutch as Black to avoid the King's Indian Attack) worked well: "In the bullet games, I thought at one moment that somebody had changed my opponent because she was playing so quickly and so well. I didn't know what to do. But finally, I decided to change the whole course," Dzagnidze said.

Krush earned $1,000 for finishing 9th-16th. Dzagnidze moves on to the quarterfinals, where she will meet GM Kateryna Lagno, who beat her compatriot GM Valentina Gunina in the round of 16.

All games

2021 Women's Speed Chess Championship results

The FIDE 2021 Women's Speed Chess Championship is an online competition for titled female players. The qualifiers for the event were held May 28-June 6, while the main event runs June 10-July 3. Players battle for their shares of a total prize fund of $66,000.

Previous reports:

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

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