Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Kosteniuk - Stefanova, Turin 2006


Black to play and win.

I just saw a great game between Alexandra Kosteniuk and Antoaneta Stefanova, who must be the most attractive pairing today at the Turin Olympiad. But this was definitely a time where the spectators were more likely watching the board than ogling the players....

Kosteniuk - Stefanova
Turin Olympiad 31.05.2006
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Bc5 6.c3 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.d4 Bb6 9.a4 (Not 9.dxe5?! Nxe5 (of course 9...dxe5? 10.Qxd8+ Nxd8 11.Nxe5 Nxe4?! 12.Bd5 is good for White) 10.Nxe5 dxe5 11.Qxd8+ Kxd8 12.Bxf7 Rf8 13.Bd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Bb7 which ends up better for Black) 9...Bb7 10.Re1 0–0 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bh4 Re8 13.d5 Na5 14.Ba2 c6 15.Nbd2 (Perhaps 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.axb5 axb5 17.Na3=, as now White must sacrifice a piece in unclear circumstances.) 15...g5! 16.Nxg5 hxg5 17.Bxg5 Kg7 18.b4 Nc4 19.Bxc4 (Perhaps better to preserve the Bishop with 19.Nxc4!? bxc4 20.dxc6 Bxc6 21.Bxc4 unclear) 19...bxc4 20.Nxc4 cxd5 21.exd5 Ba7 22.Qf3 (I focused my own analysis on 22.Ne3!? Qd7 (22...Bxe3? 23.Rxe3 Qc8 24.Rg3 looks good for White; 22...Bc8!? 23.Qf3 perhaps is tough to judge) 23.Qf3 Ng8 24.Nf5+ Kg6 (24...Kf8 25.Qh3) 25.g4 Kxg5 26.Qh3 which looks all unclear.) 22...Bxd5 23.Bxf6+ Qxf6 24.Qxd5 Bxf2+ 25.Kh1 Rh8! (Threatening Rxh2+ followed by Rh8+. Not 25...Bxe1?! 26.Rxe1 with some initiative for White.) 26.h3 Qf5 27.Rg1?? (Overlooking Stefanova's only reply -- but that reply wins for Black! White must play 27.Re3! Bxe3! 28.Nxe3 Rxh3+! 29.Kg1 (29.gxh3 Qxh3+ 30.Kg1 Qxe3+) 29...Rxe3 (likely better is 29...Qg5!) 30.Rf1 Qg6 31.Qxa8 Rxc3 32.Qxa6 which White might survive) 27...Bg3!! (and White cannot avoid mate beginning with ...Rxh3+ except by great material sacrifice and so resigned. Kosteniuk likely expected either 27...Bxg1? 28.Nxd6! and White is better or 27...Rxh3+?? 28.gxh3+ Bxg1 29.Rxg1+ Kh6 30.Qg2! which wins for White. A wonderful game by Stefanova. I wonder what the ratio of wins to losses between these frequent opponents stands at now?) 0-1

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