Polgar Invitational: Round 4 Report

08.12.06 Round 4 is in the books. We're treated to another one of Margaret annotated games and a complete list of the standings after four rounds. The girls have two more rounds to go before the closing ceremony--stay tuned!

Image courtesy Susan Polgar Foundation
Beside the Blitz and Puzzle Solving Championships, all the participants of the SP National Invitational for Girls also got to attend a training session conducted by Susan Polgar.

August 9, 2006

This evening Susan Polgar gave a lecture and distributed the prizes for the blitz and puzzle solving side events. She analyzed one of the player’Äôs games on a demo board and described some of her experiences at various tournaments, on including a women’Äôs invitational during the Soccer World Cup, designed in such a way so that in the case of tiebreaks, the participants took penalty kicks to determine a winner. She addressed the room at large when she spoke, but her words were phrased in such a way that it seemed she was speaking to each and every one of us individually. She speaks with descriptive clarity, and I look forward to reading one of her books.

In the 4th round, once again I lost. However, I don’Äôt want all Maine chess fans to abandon me quite yet. There are still two more rounds to go, and, who knows? Maybe the tables will turn, and I will still find myself with 2.5 points at the end of the tournament.

This game had a very depressing conclusion. I was ahead a pawn and had practically checkmated my opponent, but she managed to maneuver her pieces in such a way that I soon found myself on a shaky defensive side and eventually lost in a devastating endgame.

I will make one statement in favor of my challenger, however. With a rating of 999, her skills were far underestimated. She had an excellent second half of the tournament coming back from an 0-3 record to win her final three games, one of them against a 1500 rated player. I was especially impressed with her perseverance in the middle game, and how she managed to play solidly even when my pieces penetrated her fortress. It was an excellent game until probably the 30th move or so, at which point I made some slight blunders which my opponent was able to take advantage of in the endgame.

Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls
Round 4 August 9, 2006
Margaret Bryan (1076) - Katy Mueller (999)

To view this game with our interactive game viewer while following Margaret's annotations, right-click on the hyperlink below and choose "Open in New Window".

Click here to replay.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4

I am attempting to bring my knight to g5 and then have that followed up with 4. ’Ķ d5,
5. exd5 Nxd5, 6. Nxf7 Kxf7, 7. Qf3+ . Instead of moving her knight to f6, Black responds’Ķ

3. ’Ķ. d6

Now Ng5 is impossible, of course, for the queen captures, so I decide the safe and simple act of castling.

4. 0-0 Bg4
5. h3 Bh5
6. g4 Bg6
7. d3 Be7
8. Qd2

I’Äôm worried about the g5 square and the fact that Black could easily dispose of one of my most vital factors of protection with Nd4, forcing me to trade knights, then moving bishop h4 or g5. It is for this reason that I decide to add some backup to my queen.

8’Ķ. h6

That squashes my plan of Ng5 immediately, and I realize with some apprehension that the move by Black of Nd4 looks more threatening than ever. I respond with

9. c3 h5
10.g5 f5
Black just made an error. True I could move en passant and trade pawns, but that would be a pointless move, and I would like to keep that passed g-pawn for just a little longer. I respond with a better move of ’Ķ

11. Nh4! Bf7

Now I wonder if I should have taken f5 right then and there, but instead I tried to be fancy and moved’Ķ

12. Bxf7+ Kxf7
13. g6+ Ke8

That wasn’Äôt my plan. Black was supposed to move either Ke6 or Kf6, at which time I would respond with exf5+, or f4, as in the case of the latter.

14. Nxf5 Bf6
15. f4

My plan at this point was for Black to follow with exf5, allowing me to play Qxe5. Black would make another move, and I would play Nxg7+, sacrificing my knight to the bishop in order to mate with Qf7#.

15’Ķ. Nge7

No idea how I overlooked that one. I probably should have followed that up with Nxe7 now, assuming that Black captured back with the knight in return. I then would have played f5, advancing a pawn and protecting g6 at the same time. Instead, I went fxe5, a highly unsolid move which I later regretted. The game continued’Ķ

16. fxe5 Nxe5
17. Nxe7 Qxe7
18. d4 Nxg6
19. Re1 Nh4

The saying, ’ÄúA knight on the rim is grim’Äù, does not, I believe, apply to the to the person who owns the piece, but to their opponent, whom the terrible threat is being inflicted upon. In this case, the move is devastating for me. Black is now threatening a three-way royal fork with Nf3+.

20. Qd3 Rd8
21. Qg3 Kf8
22. Bf4 Re8
23. e5

With this move I am hoping to set off a series of exchanges ending with Black being unable to move her bishop in fear of losing her queen. I dimly overlook the threat of Qc5+.

23’Ķ dxe5
24. dxe5 Qc5+
25. Be3

That was a pathetic move, and the worst part is that at the time I thought I had no other choice, because if I had interposed with the queen Black would have forked my rook on Nf3+, and I would not be able to capture it. But now I realize that if Black had taken my rook, I would have merely taken her queen, and would have been way ahead in material. If Black had played Qxf2+, then I would have just captured with the rook and it would have been an even exchange. I guess I really messed up on that one.

25’Ķ. Qxe5
26. Bf2

Stupid! Now Black just trades queens, and is then free to perform that dreaded rook fork!

26’Ķ. Qxg3
27. Bxg3 Nf3+
28. Kf1 Nxe1
29. Bxe1

I have decided to play the game through right up to the very last move, for my opponent is almost out of time, and there is a slim chance that I can still win.

29.’Ķ h4
30. Nd2 Re3
31. Kg2 Rh5
32. Kh2 Be5+
33. Kg2? Rg5+
34. Kf2 Rxh3
35. Ne4

I’Äôm still fighting, but my forces are diminishing by the minute, and Black is ready to respond with a lazy check in response to the idle threat I just made. Sure enough’Ķ

35’Ķ. Rf5+
36. Kg2 Rhf3
37. Bxh4 Rf4

Of course! Now my bishop is dead for sure, and this game is starting to look suspiciously like Round 3, where my style of play just completely fell apart.

38. Rd1 Rxh4
39. Rd8+ Kf7
40 Rd7+ Kg6
41. Ng3 Rg4
42. Rd3 Bxg3

Only three minutes left on Black’Äôs clock!

43. Rxg3 Rxg3+
44. Kxg3 Kg5
45. b4 a5
46. a4 axb4
47. cxb4 c5
48. bxc5 Rxc5
49. Kf3 Rc4
50. Kg3 Rxa4
51. Kf3 Rd4
52. Ke3 Rd8
53. Ke4 b5
54. Ke5 b4
55. Ke6 b3
56. Ke7 Rd1
57. Ke6 b2
58. Ke5 b1=Q
59. Ke6 Qe4+
60. Kf7 Rd7+
61. Kg8 Qh7#

So that was Round 4, and by the end there was possibly less than a minute on my opponent’Äôs clock. Because of my losses in the last two rounds, tomorrow I’Äôm playing on the last board, and I just may be able to scrape out a win.

Maine's Illustriuos Girls Champion: Margaret Bryan

Here are the standings of the main event after 4 rounds:

Name Rating Points

Marshall, Abby 1950 4.0
Mateer, Amanda 1891 4.0
Jamison, Courtney 1997 3.0
Livschitz, Louiza 1983 3.0
Kats, Elina 1969 3.0
Datta, Anjali 1884 3.0
Carter, Ashley 1848 3.0
Lee, Laura L 1813 3.0
Wamala, Jessica N 1711 3.0
Wiener, Alexandra 1631 3.0
Buscher, Blythe 1490 3.0
Selby, Krista 1480 3.0
Williams, Jordana 1581 2.5
Bailey, Taylor 1550 2.5
Chen, Janice S 1790 2.0
Rodriguez, Eunice 1742 2.0
Chu, Emily J. 1536 2.0
Wu, Connie 1532 2.0
Gibson, Graham 1519 2.0
Hernandez, Sandra 1450 2.0
Farell, Rachel 1422 2.0
McGrath, Cailin M 1383 2.0
Roy, Ananya 1373 2.0
Barkell, Erica D 1299 2.0
Chen, Alice F 1292 2.0
Marcjan, Karen 1261 2.0
Smith, Kaila 1225 2.0
Hannibal, Dana C 1170 2.0
Kaur, Shiny 1454 1.5
Liu, Cheryl 1424 1.5
Smoak, Anna T 1421 1.5
Ichikawa, Shizuyo 1334 1.5
Parshall, Alison K 1259 1.5
Hellwig, Hannah M 1136 1.5
Vyas, Dhrooti V 1111 1.0
Coccio, Kathleen M 1046 1.0
Oliver, Elizabeth 1020 1.0
Mueller, Katy D 999 1.0
Avilova, Tanya 892 1.0
Klauer, Tracie 862 1.0
Wai, Marissa Al 794 1.0
Stuart, Emillia An 1344 0.5
Bryan, Margaret 1076 0.5
Spitelle, Alisa R 639 0.0

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