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Alexandra Kosteniuk vs Zhu Chen
FIDE WCh Women KO (2001), Moscow RUS, rd 6, Dec-14
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B90)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-02-04  Checkmate123: Fierce attack by Zhu Chen
Apr-03-04  Catholic Bishop: Love it when chicks go at each other like this.
Jul-14-05  neils: she plays like a magician.
Sep-14-05  Averageguy: Neat fork at the end, where white can only save the e4 rook bu cuuting of protection of the f1 rook.
Dec-07-06  sanyas: Zhu Chen suddenly took the initiative on the kingside with 9... h5! which in this game discouraged the natural g4 thrust for White. She bravely left her king in the center, which was actually the safest place for him in this game, although playing 17. ♖fd1 instead of 17. f4, which opens a file leading straight to the black king and was thus a logical follow-up to 14. ♘d5, may have been a missed opportunity for White. Zhu Chen's play was great but 12... g6 confused me. 19. c5 was an excellent breakthrough idea but it may have already been too late by then, although I think an exchange sac at certain points (eg. move 26) may have been a good defensive resource for White.

When the breakthrough finally came with 19. c5 Zhu Chen neatly stepped aside with 24... ♔f8 avoiding forking ideas as well as putting the king on a square where, as it turns out, it could not easily be attacked. Castling queenside was, in hindsight, definitely a better try for White. Kosteniuk's a-pawn push did stifle Black's normal activity on the queenside but with a rook waiting on c8 White didn't want to play there either. I think Kosteniuk neglected basic control of the center a little bit in this game and was punished for it.

Although Zhu Chen's ♖h8 never moved it played a very important part in the attack, while Kosteniuk's QR did nothing until the very end (bad development) and when it finally did move it was immediately caught in a fork. Zhu Chen took over on the kingside which was surprisingly devoid of piece support and the central breakthrough came too late; the result was a rout. An excellent example of the fact that if White does not take the initiative in an Open Sicillian, Black will, and in this game it was done in dramatic fashion.

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