Women’s Chess Tournaments

by

In August of 2019, two women’s chess tournaments will be held in the US that SparkChess readers might like to play in or to support. From August 16-20, the Berkeley Chess School in California is hosting the Berkeley Summer International Master Norm Tournament. From August 17-18, the 2019 Texas Women’s Chess Championship will be held at the North Richland Hills Library.

Berkeley Summer International Master Norm Tournament

Berkeley Summer International Master Norm Tournament

CALIFORNIA: As a women’s-only IM Norm tournament, the Berkeley Summer International Master Norm Tournament is a rare event. In the US, only U.S. Women’s Championships and the Cairns Cup have similarly provided such strong competition while being restricted to women. The tournament is headlined by GM Irina Krush, a 7-time U.S. Women’s Chess Champion. WGM Carla Heredia, in charge of marketing and communications for the Berkeley Summer International Master Norm Tournament, emailed, “We are very happy that GM Irina Krush accepted our invitation. Although she will be the number one seed in the tournament, she will be facing strong opposition such as IM Carolina Lujan, who is the number one female player in Argentina. Challengers will compete for different norms. The IM norm is possible, as well as WIM and WGM norms. Norm seekers thus far include WGM Anjelina Belakovskaia from the US (Arizona) and WFM Uyanga Byambaa from Mongolia. We still have a few spots left for norm seekers.” To learn more about this tournament, go to this link.

Here is a recent blitz win by GM Irina Krush over former Women’s World Chess Champion GM Alexandra Kosteniuk. Even though Krush was losing for part of the game, she fights back to get the full point.

[pgn][Event “IMSA Masters Blitz Women”]
[Site “Hengshui CHN”]
[Date “2019.05.18”]
[Round “19.1”]
[White “Irina Krush”]
[Black “Alexandra Kosteniuk”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “E44”]
[WhiteElo “2422”]
[BlackElo “2546”]
[Annotator “Root, Alexey”]
[PlyCount “93”]
[EventDate “2019.05.17”]
[EventType “blitz”][Site “Hengshui CHN”]
[Date “2019.05.18”]
[Round “19.1”]
[White “Irina Krush”]
[Black “Alexandra Kosteniuk”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “E44”]
[WhiteElo “2422”]
[BlackElo “2546”]
[Annotator “Root, Alexey”]
[PlyCount “93”]
[EventDate “2019.05.17”]
[EventType “blitz”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 b6 5. Nge2 Bb7 6. a3 Be7 7. d5 O-O 8. g3 d6 9. Bg2 e5 10. b4 a5 11. Rb1 Nbd7 12. O-O Re8 13. e4 Bf8 14. f4 exf4 15. gxf4 axb4 16. axb4 b5 17. cxb5 Nb6 18. Nd4 Qd7 19. Nc6 Qg4 20. Qd3 g6 21. Bb2 Bg7 22. Kh1 Qh4 23. Ne2 Ra2 24. Bd4 Ng4

{The computer engine recommends either 24…Nxe4 or 24…Nbxd5, both with the idea of the black rooks attacking the White N on e2}

(24… Nxe4 25. Bxe4 Bxd4 26. Qxd4 Rxe2)

(24… Nbxd5 25. exd5 Rexe2)

25. Bg1 Bxc6 26. bxc6 Rea8 27. Qg3 Qxg3 28. Nxg3 Nc4 29. Rfd1 Nce3 30. Bxe3 Nxe3 31. Rg1 Bd4 32. Bf3 Rf2 33. Be2 Ra2 34. Rge1 Bc3

{Black missed a mating attack.}

(34… Ng4 35. Nf1 Rxf1+ 36. Kg2 (36. Rxf1 Rxe2) 36… Rf2+ 37. Kg3 Ra3+ 38. Rb3 Rxb3+ 39. Bd3 Rxd3+ 40. Re3 Rxe3+ 41. Kxg4 Bf6 42. e5 h5#)

35. Rec1 Bd4 36. Re1 Rxf4

{The same 36….Ng4 mating attack works here too.}

37. b5 Bb6 38. Ra1 Rc2 39. Rec1

{According to computer analysis, Black had to try either 39…Rb2 or 39….Rxc1+, to avoid White’s b-pawn becoming a threat.}

Rd2 40. Ra6 Ng4 $2

{[#] White to play and win a piece. What did Krush play?}

41. Bxg4 Rxg4 42. Rxb6 $1 Rh4 (42… cxb6 43. c7 Kg7 44. c8=Q {And White will win.}) 43. Rb8+ Kg7 44. Nf1 Rb2 45. b6 g5 46. bxc7 g4 47. Rxb2 1-0

[/pgn]

Texas Women’s Chess Championship

Jim Hollingsworth, Alexey Root
Jim Hollingsworth, Alexey Root

TEXAS: 2019 Texas Women’s Chess Championship organizer Jim Hollingsworth emailed, “13 players are signed up as of June 20. Last year we had 12 players. According to the latest US Chess data, 250 Texas women (ages 16 and older) are eligible for this Championship. So it’s not surprising that less than 10% of those could play on any given weekend. The tournament’s staff and I are focused on providing the best chess experience possible to the baker’s dozen we now have (plus the few more we hope will sign up before the August 2 deadline).”

Hollingsworth noted that each additional player adds extra expenses, as every woman who signs up by August 2 gets a free entry, free food during the rounds, and a free banquet meal on Saturday night. Therefore, please consider donating to support the 2019 Texas Women’s Chess Championship at this link. Your donation is tax-deductible through the Texas Chess Association. My report on last year’s tournament is available at this link and I have committed to play in the tournament again this year.

The California tournament is open to both girls and women and the Texas tournament is for Texas women ages 16 and older. For more chess opportunities for girls and women in the US, or to support the Women in Chess Initiative, go to the main page of the US Chess Federation (uschess.org) and click on “Community” then “Women” and then look for the choices on the tabs such as “Our Initiative” or “Events.” Or to go directly to events, click on this link.

WIM Alexey Root, PhD

Alexey Root is a Woman International Master and the 1989 U.S. Women's chess champion. Her peak US Chess rating was 2260. She has a PhD in education from UCLA. You can find her books on chess on Amazon.com.