30 Mar

Sibling Rivalry

Siblings who are elite players are rare. The most famous of all are the three Polgar sisters from Hungary - Judit, Sofia and Susan - who were active together more than 20 years ago. But there have been numerous other examples, more commonly pairs of siblings, such as the Byrne brothers of the United States - Robert, a grandmaster, and Donald, an international master, and both were overshadowed by the rise of Bobby Fischer.

Also there’s the brother and sister act of IM Greg and WGM Jennifer Shahade, who played in several US Championships together; and there’s England’s GM Nick and IM Richard Pert - identical twins. The most active siblings today include a set of sisters at the top of the women’s game: Nadezhda and Tatiana Kosintseva (Russia) and Anna and Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine).

The Muzychuk sisters were both going strong at the Women’s World Championship in Sochi, Russia - and on course for a sibling rivalry final.  Both were in opposite ends of the draw, with the only possible sister showdown being in the final.  While Mariya kept the dream alive by toppling top-seed Humpy Koneru of India, for a berth in the semifinal, sadly, Anna was eliminated in her quarterfinal match-up by veteran Pia Cramling of Sweden, who, at 51, is the oldest competitor in the tournament.

Semifinal latest scores:
Dronavalli Harika (Ind)     1-1 Mariya Muzychuk (UKR)
Natalija Pogonina (RUS)  1-1 Pia Cramling (SWE)

P Cramling - A Muzychuk
Women’s World Ch., (4)
Modern Benoni
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 c5 4.d5 d6 5.Nc3 exd5 6.cxd5 g6 7.e4 Bg7 8.h3 0–0 9.Bg5 Re8 10.Bd3 h6 11.Be3 a6 12.a4 Nbd7 13.0–0 Rb8 14.Re1 Qe7 15.Qd2 g5 16.a5 Nf8? Black has to play actively in the Benoni; seeking good piece-play and strategic outposts.  That's why 16...g4! 17.hxg4 Nxg4 18.Bf4 Nde5 would have been much, much better.  Now, with a tactical blow, Black's pieces get all tied up. 17.e5! dxe5 18.d6 Qe6 19.Bxc5 N6d7 20.Ba3 f5 21.Nd4 The more clinical wins was with 21.Qc2 e4 22.Nxe4 fxe4 23.Rxe4 Qf7 24.Re7 and Black is close to resigning here. 21...exd4 22.Rxe6 dxc3 23.Qc2 Nxe6 24.bxc3 Ndf8 Black's last hope was to activate all her pieces with 24...Nf4 25.Bxf5 b5 26.axb6 Nxb6 27.Bxc8 Rexc8 though even here, although Black has good activity, the d-pawn is still very strong. 25.Bxf5 Bd7 26.Bb4 Nf4 27.Bxd7 Nxd7 28.g3 Nh5 If 28...Nxh3+ 29.Kg2 g4 30.Qf5! and, yet again, the d-pawn is going to be the deciding factor. 29.Qd2 Nhf6 (See Diagram) 30.Re1! The more pieces that come off the board now, the more stronger White's position becomes - especially as Black will be tied down to defending b7. 30...Rxe1+ 31.Qxe1 b6 32.Qe2 bxa5 33.Bxa5 Rb5 34.Bc7 Much stronger was  34.Bd8! Rc5 35.Bxf6 Nxf6 36.Qxa6 Rxc3 37.d7 and White wins a piece. 34...Rc5 35.c4 a5 35...Kf7 would have prolonged the agony.  But, long-term, this is difficult for Black to defend. 36.Qa2 Ne4 37.Qa4 Nef6 38.Bxa5 Ne5 39.Bc3 Ned7 No better was 39...Nxc4 40.Bd4 Rc8 41.d7 winning. 40.Bd4 Rc8 41.Qa6 Rd8 42.c5 Ne8 43.Qc4+ Kh8 44.Bxg7+ Kxg7 45.Qe6 1–0

0 Comments March 30, 2015

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