In January 1991, I became the first woman in history to earn the “Men’s” Grandmaster title (traditional FIDE requirement). In December 1991, my baby sister Judit became the second female in history to do the same. It took nearly 20 years later for another sister pair to earn the Grandmaster title.
Last week, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) officially recognized Nadezhda Kosintseva as a Grandmaster. Her younger sister accomplished this title a few years ago. Congratulations to the Kosintseva sister for accomplishing this rare feat. Below is a game of Nadezhda earlier this year at the European Women’s Championship.
Nadezhda Kosintseva (2567) – Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, (2462) [B81]
European Women’s Championship
Tbilisi, Georgia (3), May 9, 2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.g4 This is the famous Keres attack. Many Sicilian players as Black prefer to avoid it and try different move orders to get to the Scheveningen variation.
6…e5 This is a rare response compared to the more popular 6…h6.
7.Bb5+ A smart intermediate move which creates commotion for the Black camp. If instead White would have played 7.Nf5, Black would follow up with the energetic 7…h5 8.g5 Nxe4 9.Nxg7+ Bxg7 10.Nxe4 d5 with a double edged position.
7…Bd7 8.Nb3 Perhaps being caught by surprise, White avoids the main line which continues with 8.Bxd7+ Qxd7 9.Nf5 h5. But this also means that White sacrifices a Pawn.
8…Bxb5 9.Nxb5 Qd7 Black with this intermediate move, forks White’s Knight on b5 as well as g4 Pawn. Black was also ok the capture the Pawn right away by 9…Nxe4 and then if 10.Qd5 respond with 10…Qd7.
10.Qe2 Nxe4 Black follows the basic principal by capturing the central Pawn (versus a side Pawn) when you can. It feels that after 10…Nxg4 11.Rg1 White would have sufficient counter play for the Pawn.
11.f3 After Queen takes on e4 (Qxe4), the White Knight would have been falling on b5.
11…a6 Another intermediate move to counter attack instead of directly retreating the attacked Knight.
12.N5d4 The best option. Of course 12.Nxd6+ would fail as Black’s Knight would capture back with Ne4xd6, leaving White a piece down.
12…Nf6 After 12…exd4, White wins the Knight and Pawn back with 13.Qxe4+ with a somewhat better position due the Black’s isolated Pawn on d6.
13.Bg5 Finally all White’s minor pieces are developed and castling will be next on the agenda.
13…Nc6 White would have compensation for the Pawn after 13…Be7 14.Nf5 0–0 15.0–0–0.
14.0–0–0 At first 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Nf5 looks very tempting, with White’s Knight arriving to an excellent looking outpost. The problem is that the Knight is unable to maintain its position after 15…Ne7.
14…0–0–0 An interesting and probably better alternative was 14…Ne7 which questions the White Knight on d4, as the e5 Pawn would no longer be in a pin.
15.Nxc6 Qxc6 White is still down a Pawn. However, it is white who clearly has the initiative.
16.Rd3! Threatening to pin Black’s Queen by Rc3.
16…Qa4 After 16…Kb8, White’s position gets stronger after 17.Na5.
17.Kb1 Be7 18.Rhd1 Kb8? 18…Rhe8 was safer.
And the time arrived for action… 19.Nc5! Qc6 After 19…dxc5 White wins the sacrificed material back with a superior position. 20.Qxe5+ Ka8 21.Qxe7.
20.Nxb7! White goes all out to open up files on the Queenside against Black’s King.
20…Kxb7 Naturally after 20…Qxb7, White would pin and win Black’s Queen with 21.Rb3.
21.Rc3 Qa4 The only move to keep the fight going. For example, if 21…Qb5 22.Rb3 or 21…Qd7 22.Rb3+ Ka7 23.Be3+ would both lose right away.
22.Ra3 Qc6 Again an only move to hold the position together.
23.Rdd3! White wisely brings additional ammunition to the attack.
23…d5 Again the best defense, opening up the diagonal for Black’s Bishop, as well as preparing to block a future check on the a7-g1 diagonal, by pushing d5-d4.
24.Rdb3+ Ka7 25.Rc3 Qb7 If 25…Qb6 White would continue with the fancy 26.Rc7+! Qxc7 27.Qxa6+ Kb8 28.Qa8 checkmate, just as in the game.
26.Rc7! Similarly to the previous variation, this combination works well here too.
26….Bxa3 27.Qe3+ A fine in-between move to make sure White will not have to capture back on a3 with a Pawn.
27…d4 28.Rxb7+ Kxb7 29.Qxa3 Let’s evaluate the situation. Now that the clouds have cleared, White has a Queen against two Rooks, which normally would be fine for Black. However, in this case White’s position is still to be preferred because the unsafe position of Black’s King.
29…Rhe8? This a mistake. Black had to play 29…Rd7 although that loses a Pawn too after 30.Qb4+ Ka7 31.Qc5+.
30.Qb3+ Now Black will end up losing more than one Pawn.
30…Ka7 31.Bxf6 gxf6 32.Qxf7+ Kb6 33.Qxf6+ Kb7 34.Qg7+ Kb6 35.Qxh7 Black lost three Pawns within the last five moves, now the situation is hopeless.
35…Rf8 36.Qg6+ Kb5 37.a4+ Ka5 38.Qc6 and Black resigned. 1–0