Home Chess The Saga Of Zatonskih vs. Krush, Kosteniuk Wins 2nd: ‘I’ve 6 out of 9!’

The Saga Of Zatonskih vs. Krush, Kosteniuk Wins 2nd: ‘I’ve 6 out of 9!’

The Saga Of Zatonskih vs. Krush, Kosteniuk Wins 2nd: ‘I’ve 6 out of 9!’


The final spherical of the Cairns Cup 2023 featured an epic matchup between IM Anna Zatonskih and her longtime U.S. Girls’s Championship rival GM Irina Krush. Additional cementing her match victory, Zatonskih held off Krush’s strain within the endgame, ending undefeated and a full level forward of the sphere. 

Within the Recreation of the Day, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated GM Elisabeth Paehtz in a energetic duel to complete in clear second. Krush and GM Bella Khotenashvili tied for third. 

Easy methods to watch?

You may watch stay video games of the FIDE Girls’s Grand Prix on our Occasions Web page. The rounds begin every day at 11:20 a.m. Pacific/20:20 CEST.

Zatonskih’s match victory tells like a Cinderella story, beginning the occasion because the lowest ranking and reaching an unimaginable undefeated plus 4 efficiency to turn out to be the first-ever American to win the Cairns Cup. 

Although Zatonskih had already sealed first getting into the final spherical, 4 opponents had been contenders for the $35,000 second prize: Krush, Khotenashvili, Kosteniuk, and Paehtz. 

Dzagnidze vs. Mammadzada

Regardless of being out of rivalry for the highest prizes, GM Nana Dzagnidze and GM Gunay Mammadzada created a struggle of a recreation. The highest Azerbaijani girl led the way in which with …Ba3! On transfer 9, shaking her opponent out of the usual opening fare right into a place the place she may set the tone. 

Mammadzada took over the darkish squares whereas Dzagnidze introduced each her rooks to bear the half open f-file after which struck on the kingside with 23.g4!? Either side centered their forces on this aspect of the board when the 22-year-old worldwide grasp missed a method to jumpstart her attacking probabilities. Can you discover what she neglected?

Mammadzada constructed up her assault extra steadily as an alternative when Dzagnidze counterattacked within the heart. The youthful competitor eradicated the final of White’s kingside pawn cowl and chased the opposing king out of what was left of its shelter. But, the Georgian grandmaster fought on and when Mammadzada blundered amidst the complexities, Dzagnidze capitalized, successful a chunk and dashing her king over to a haven on the queenside.

Dzagnidze completed a troublesome occasion on a excessive be aware, ending in clear fifth. Picture: Bryan Adams/St. Louis Chess Membership.

Paehtz vs. Kosteniuk

Kosteniuk turned up the quantity in opposition to the Ruy Lopez with 24…d5!? Her items quickly sprung to life, wrestling management of the middle from White’s grip. Because the wrestle intensified, the twelfth world champion gained a major time edge on her opponent: 33 minutes vs. 5. Two strikes earlier than reaching time management, Paehtz blundered with 39.Ne3? and Kosteniuk’s items quickly hunted down their enemy counterparts. Can you discover how Black can end off the sport?

This energetic conflict is our Recreation of the Day with annotations by GM Rafael Leitao.

After the sport, Kosteniuk candidly shared her emotions on her efficiency:

“Nicely, I’ve six out of 9. I’m sorry, however I’ve six out of 9! I do know that I may’ve gotten extra, however that’s it. If there may be somebody who has six out of 9, we gonna discuss.”

“However okay, in fact, I’m very pleased to complete on a win and to complete so properly as a result of this match, as I discussed, it’s the second in a row. Additionally, the fatigue, the chilly, the frustration of this stolen level―regardless of all these occasions happening within the background―I managed to play properly and to complete properly, so in fact I can not complain.”

The fatigue, the chilly, additionally the frustration of this stolen level―regardless of all these occasions happening within the background―I managed to play properly.

-Alexandra Kosteniuk

Krush vs. Zatonskih

It is becoming that the Cairns Cup would end with a conflict between Zatonskih and Krush: the best rivalry of American ladies’s chess. These two opponents have confronted one another as rivals and allied as U.S. teammates for twenty years. At present was as a lot of a battle as ever. The gamers had been the final recreation to complete, combating for 130 strikes and practically 6.5 hours. 

GM Yasser Seirawan shared his ideas on Zatonskih’s mindset getting into the sport with the match already received: “I believe initially, there’s a terrific sense of aid. She’s completed her mission. However the second factor is, she’s a competitor… You get to the board and that aggressive spirit, it wells up.”

Krush, however, was within the midst of a tense struggle for second, tied with Kosteniuk and Khotenashvili together with Paehtz on their tail only a half level behind. 

One other chapter within the legendary Zatonskih vs. Krush rivalry. Picture: Crystal Fuller/St. Louis Chess Membership.

Zatonskih and Krush’s lifetime rating is 12-9 within the grandmaster’s favor with 10 attracts. Krush gained an additional pawn early within the recreation, however Zatonskih holding the steadiness as items had been steadily traded away.

Even with simply two pawns every in a rook and opposite-color bishop ending, Krush continued to press, attempting to create a mating web together with her extra lively king. She once more received a pawn, but Zatonskih arrange a fortress to carry again White’s additional passer and king. Krush did not appear to have any method to make progress and the sport appeared to be winding all the way down to a draw.

On transfer 62, the gamers fell into mutual time bother, and the regular, even recreation shifted right into a twister of successful and drawing probabilities flying by because the American rivals skirmished and blitzed for an additional 60 strikes.

Right here was one in every of Krush’s final alternatives to say the complete level. How would you attempt to win this difficult endgame?

With piles of their absolutely stuffed out rating sheets on the desk beside the gamers, Zatonskih claimed the 50-move rule after dueling in opposition to her rival for 130 strikes.

Khotenashvili vs. Harika

Out of the 27 earlier video games between them, Khotenashvili has by no means received whereas GM Harika Dronavalli has 11 victories. The rating carry overwhelmingly in favor of the Indian grandmaster could also be why Khotenashvili selected to intention for a draw with the white items. She opted for a similar line within the Catalan that she used to attract vs. GM Kateryna Lagno on the Nicosia FIDE Girls’s Grand Prix final month. 

The final spherical was Khotenashvili’s solely draw of the occasion. Picture: Bryan Adams/St. Louis Chess Membership.

Outcomes – Spherical 9


Dzagnidze 1 – 0 Mammadzada
Paehtz 0 – 1 Kosteniuk
Krush 1/2 – 1/2 Zatonskih
Khotenashvili 1/2 – 1/2 Harika


All Video games – Spherical 9

The Cairns Cup 2023 takes place June 3-13, 2023, on the Saint Louis Chess Membership. The format is a 10-player round-robin. Followers can stay up for a chess match comparable in fashion to the celebrated Sinquefield Cup with the ten greatest feminine gamers from all over the world competing within the World Chess Corridor of Fame for a $180,000 prize fund.

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