20 July, 2013

Front Page Chess

Good to see Chess take a front page for a change...

Admittedly , its only the free "Metro" newspapers for commuters, which could make it more surprising, but still it makes a pleasant change to read an encouraging chess article on the way to work !
The cause of this front page is a new Dutch Champion.

No, not GM Dimitri Reinderman ( the "Dutch National" Champion ) but rather the Women's Champion, Lisa Schut.
In fact, in a reversal of the usual, GM Reinderman is not even mentioned, and the short article is a Q and A session with Lisa Schut  [see front and page 4/5, but note it is in Dutch :)   ] 

Here, you have the usual questions...

"How did you start playing?" ( My parents taught me and my sister   : it was a great family experience  ).

"Did you expect to win this Championship ?" (No, it was a total surprise. In the tournament, I felt no pressure, enjoyed my evening relaxing and eating out, and played with an open mind ).

"What's it like as a young woman in the chess world ?"
( Chess is a male stronghold, with separate championships for women, but you often play against men, sometimes losing, sometimes winning. I am often shocked that my opponent is angry after losing to me. Men regularly believe that women can't play chess )

There are also obligatory mentions of her coaches (  Vladimr Chuchelov, the Belgian/Russian, and an occasional Adrian Mikhalchisin.  ) plus a diversion to her participation in the forthcoming European Women's Championship,, which starts on Monday.

In this forthcoming tournament, she says she is hoping to surprise, although facing the likes of Anna Muzychuk, Antoaneta Stefanova, Pia Cramling, Tatiana Kosintseva, Kateryna Lagno etc I think she will have to pull out more than just a rabbit from her hat !
She's now a WIM and rated 2277, so about the middle entrant in a field of 150 participants, but you never know. If she continues her confident winning streak she could well end up with a great result, maybe in the last 16, as she is hoping.

Here's a finish from the Dutch Championship , during which she did not lose a single game  ( won 6, drew 2, lost zero ! ) and her performance was at a GM level ( 2561 ).  Definitely something to be proud of !
By the last round, she had already secured the title, but still played a nice finish ( albeit, helped by her opponent at times !)

Here as Black, she has just captured the pawn on h2...

Should  White re-capture ?  It actually makes little difference to the final result, but no, is the answer.  Qg2 is slightly better but just delays matters, although it makes for an interesting calculation exercise ( try it in your head , not on the board ! )

 35. Qxh2 e2

Hardly a Queen sacrifice, since Qxh4 is followed by exf8=Q.  If instead Bxe2, then Qe1+ is a final blow as well.

I wish her all the best in next week's European Individual Women's Championship, and I might even see if I can sneak a peek from work during the day !

For a short report on the Championship, see Chessvibes. All games ( including Reinderman's as Open winner :)  here.