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hosted by Chess Queen™ & 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk


Friday, August 7, 2009

My US Chess Open 2009 Experience DAY 1

I played a great US Chess Open 2009! In the first 6 rounds I took 5,5 out of 6, that's 5 wins and only 1 draw (against GM Mitkov).

For the last 3 rounds I decided to take 3 half point byes as is allowed in the rules, and I announced it on the first day. So my final result in the US Open is therefore 7 out of 9 points, and I should take one of the top spots in the tournament, I'm very happy about that!

I played a few interesting games and since many of you follow me on Twitter and on Facebook, I will tell you everything about my tournament here on my chessblog.

I started the tournament with a win over Charles Burress:

Black just played
8. ... d5

Before making the obvious 9. exd6 en passant, I spent some time calculating 9. Nxd5?! which seemed interesting at first since after cxd5 10. Bxd5 Rb8?? I'm winning after 11. Bxf7+! winning the Queen on d8. If Black plays 10. ... Bd7? I have another nice move which is 11. Qf3! double attack on the a8 Rook and f7 pawn, winning. But after some thought I realized that Black will just play 10. ... Be6 and after 11. Bc6+ Bd7 12. Bxa8 Qxa8 13. 0-0 even though my position is still better because I'm much better developed, but I decided that after

9. exd6 exd6 10. 0-0 I have the right to hope for more. Since here after 10. ... d5 I already have 11. Nxd5! exd5 12. Bxd5 and after Be6 13. Bc6 Ke7 is the only move but here my attack is unstoppable 14. Qf3 Rc8 14. Bg5 f6 15. Rfe1!, winning.

10. ... Be6 11. Re1 d5

Now, it's White to move. Try to find the best continuation for White. I will post the rest of the game below this post.

The second game was one the toughest of the tournament. I played Black against a talented young boy Kyle Shin.

My opponent played fast and well while I was spending time trying to complicate things in a position where normally one should think about equalizing. That's the position I had after my 22nd move:

I just played 22. ... Qc6, having about 15 minutes to finish the game I was prepared for a long battle for a draw, but suddenly my opponent played 23. Qb3? after the game he told me that he missed that after 23. ... Bd3 24. Rbd1 Bxe4 25. Bxc5 I have the intermediate move Bxf3, instead my opponent played 25. Ng5 and after a few more mistakes lost the game.

I won the third game against K. Barclay quickly after my opponent's bishop got trapped:

Black just played 12. ... Bg4? I replied 13. Qe1 and after 13. ... Nc4 14. b3 Nb6 15. f5 there is no way to save the bishop on g4 and after a few more moves my opponent resigned.

After the third win I decided to have a walk and to get some kind of a reward for my three wins. The first thing that I could think of is to come to the closest MacDonald's and to get an ice-cream. Since it was already past 10pm only the drive-through was open. So without hesitation I went by foot to the drive-through window and tried to order an ice-cream but it turned out that in order to order something through a drive-through windows you have to be in a car. So I was able to get an ice-cream only by asking people in the next car to order one for me.

So after that little story let's get back to my first game after
11. ... d5

I spent almost 20 minutes here calculating the variations after 12. Nxd5! and finally decided not to sacrifice the piece since even though I felt that there should be something after 12. ... cxd5 I didn't see the concrete way of winning the game after this sacrifice. Instead I played 12. Ba6!? which is also a strong move but not as beautiful as
12. Nxd5! cxd5 13. Bb5+ Ke7 14. Bd2!
with the idea after
14. ... f6 (Black loses after 14...a5 15.Bc3 f6 16.Qg4 Qd6 17.Rxe6+ Qxe6 18.Re1 )

to play
15.Ba5! Qxa5 ( 15...Qc8 16.Qxd5 ) 16.Qxd5 - triple attack! With the ideas to take on e6, on a8 or to give a checkmate in 1 by playing Qd7#. Obviously, Black is not able to protect from that many threats.

Tomorrow I will let you know about my last three games of the US-open. I played them against a FM, a GM and an IM.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion



  • At August 7, 2009 at 11:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Congrats Alexandra!
    I look forward to your report of the second day tomorrow.
    Way to go!

  • At August 8, 2009 at 12:30 AM , Anonymous William and Ava said...

    Excellent play! You do a wonderful job sharing your insights.

  • At August 8, 2009 at 12:38 AM , Anonymous Eugene said...

    Cool! Congrats on a great first day at the U.S. Chess Open.

    Can you comment on the advantage of taking the bye(s) in the last three rounds? Is it because you didn't want to overexert yourself? Or because you knew that your scores were already good enough to advance to the next day?

  • At August 8, 2009 at 1:20 AM , Blogger Alexandra Kosteniuk said...

    Hi Eugene!
    Thanks for your comment.
    In accordance with regulations, I applied to take 3 byes in the last 3 rounds before round 4, so I didn't know what my final result would be. For this tournament I wanted to play only the first 6 rapid games as I have to go back to Miami on Sunday and in any case I would miss the last round and playing 3 rapid games and 1 slow game on Friday is not a good strategy. That also leaves me tomorrow Saturday full opportunity to enjoy the blitz event.
    I am happy with my result of 5.5 out of 6 and 7 out of 9 counting the byes.

  • At August 8, 2009 at 1:37 AM , Anonymous yanquis1972 said...

    i was never sure if fast-food restaurants actually had that policy or not. thanks for embarrassing yourself for the rest of us!! you will def appreciate this --

    congrats on yr performance, cool that that kid almost drew you. have to watch out for him.

  • At August 8, 2009 at 12:23 PM , Anonymous Stu said...

    Thanks for the commentary. Your style is easy to follow . My eyes dont glaze over trying to follow the thought process. Thanks and keep up the good work.


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