Irina Krush’s Lecture at the Marshall Chess Club

So this evening I stopped by the Marshy to see a lecture by IM Krush (I can’t help but think of Big Punisher’s hit “I’m not a player I just Krush a lot.”) She covered a few games from the current European Team Championship with aplomb, nicely fitting in the recent games to the theme of the lecture: Unusual Positional Decisions.

In the first game Irina reviewed, Topalov shocked Svidler with an interesting move. In the following diagram, it is white to play. If you look at the position, you can see that black is happy with his pieces. The bishops are very well placed, and the queen is applying pressure to the kingside.

What would you play for white and why?

At a certain point in the lecture I realized there was someone sitting in the back who was being very quiet and not answering any of Irina’s questions… Kamsky?

Actually, when i first walked in I recognized him immediately and had to stop myself from saying all the gushing things any chess fan would want to say in the presence of a legend. Instead, I just got a cup of coffee and sat down across the room pondering why on earth an elite GM of his caliber would attend a run-of-the-mill chess lecture at the Marshall…

Oh right… because Irina Krush is giving the lecture… (swoon you chess nerds!)

Another game she covered involved the amazing move 20.b3! sacking the exchange. Mitch Fitsko saw this move immediately. As it turns out, the position after this sacrifice is equal, as white is able to secure his queenside and stifle black’s counter-play. However, between two human beings it goes without saying that white’s game was much easier to play. Later in the game, black missed his chance to simplify with 21…Bd7. Instead, the immediate 21…Qa5 was better. White doesn’t want to capture black’s queen and rid himself of his only weakness (the b-pawn,) and so black is able to use the a5 square to re-route the queen to h5, where she will defend against Bh6 and pressure the kingside pawns enough for an equal game. The move 21…Bd7 then was too slow, as after 22.Qc3 Qa5 23.Be2 the h5 square is covered. White when on to win in a rather straightforward way.