'Snowdrops and Old-hands' in Marienbad

by ChessBase
11/29/2009 – We take the nomenclature from the organisers on the official site. Czech Coal is staging a match between "chess legends" (Korchnoi, Timman, Hübner, Hort) and young "grandmistresses" (Humpy, Muzychuk, Lahno and Jackova) in the famous chess town of Marianske Lazne (Marienbad). After two of eight rounds the "Snowdrops" are leading 4.5:3.5. Big pictorial report with videos.

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Czech Coal Chess Match – "Snowdrops and Old-hands"

The title is verbatim from the official site. Chess legends Viktor Korchnoi, Jan Timman, Robert Hübner and Vlastimil Hort are competing with young "grandmistresses" [sic] Koneru Humpy, Anna Muzychuk, Katerina Lahno and Jana Jackova in a double-round Scheveningen match "Lasses and Old Timer” [sic] – Czech Coal Chess Match 2009, which is taking place in Marianske Lazne at the Cristal Palace Hotel from 28th November to 5th December 2009. The rate of play is 90 minutes for 40 moves, plus 30 minutes till the end of the game and 30 seconds increment per move. The tournament is being staged by the civic association Prague Chess Society. Guest of honor is former World Champion Boris Spassky.

The Cristal Palace Hotel in Marianske Lazne, where the event is being held


Friday 27.11.2009 19:00 opening ceremony
Saturday 28.11.2009 16:00 p.m. - 1st round
Sunday 29.11.2009 16:00 p.m. - 2nd round
Monday 30.11.2009 16:00 p.m. - 3rd round
Tuesday 01.12.2009 16:00 p.m. - 4th round
Wednesday 02.12.2009 16:00 p.m. - 5th round
Thursday 03.12.2009 16:00 p.m. - 6th round
Friday 04.12.2009 16:00 p.m. - 7th round
Saturday 05.12.2009 13:00 p.m. - 8th round

Musical presentation at the opening ceremony

India's Koneru Humpy, with her father Ashok

Kateryna Lahno (yes, very much so) with husband Robert Fontaine

All the participants: Lahno, Timman, Humpy, Korchoni, Hort, Jackova, Hübner, Muzychuk

Guest of honour Boris Spassky

Results after two rounds

Snowdrops O1 O2 O3 O4 O1 O2 O3 O4
S1 Koneru Humpy 1 1/2
S2 Muzychuk Anna 1/2 1/2
S3 Lahno Kateryna 1/2 1/2
S4 Jacková Jana 0 1
Old-hands S1 S2 S3 S4 S1 S2 S3 OS4
O1 Timman Jan 1/2 1/2
O2 Hort Vlastimil 1/2 0
O3 Hübner Robert 1/2 1
O4 Korchnoi Viktor 0 1/2

Total: Snowdrops 4.5 – Old-hands 3.5

Jan Timman vs Koneru Humpy round one ended after 33 moves in a draw

Hübner vs Lahno in round one (draw in 44 moves)

Korchnoi Viktor - Jackova Jana
Snìzenky a Machøi (1.1), 28.11.2009
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.e4 Nxe4 8.Bxe7 Nxc3 9.Bxd8 Nxd1 10.Bh4 Nxb2 11.a4 d5 12.cxd5 exd5 13.Ra2 Nc4 14.Bxc4 dxc4 15.Re2+ Kf8 16.Kd2 Nc6 17.Nxc6 bxc6 18.Rb1 Be6 19.Kc3 h6 20.Rb7 Kg8 21.a5 Kh7 22.f3 Rhb8 23.Rb6 Rc8 24.Kb4 g5 25.Bf2 Rd8 26.Rxc6 Rd3

Viktor Korchnoi has been under pressure and probably needs to sacrifice an exchange with 27.Rexe6 – without undue hope of saving the game. However he makes it easier for his opponent: 27.Be1? Watch how brutally the Czech IM cashes in on this mistake: 27...Rb8+ 28.Rb6 Rb3+ 29.Kc5 Rc8+ 30.Kd6 Rd3+ 31.Ke5 c3 32.Rc2 Re3+ 33.Kf6 Rxe1 34.Rxa6 Bb3 0-1.

Czech IM Jana Jackova beat Viktor Korchnoi in the first round

In the second round Jana lost in 68 moves to German GM Robert Hübner

Koneru Humpy - Hort Vlastimil
Snìzenky a Machøi (2.4), 29.11.2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Qb6 5.Nc3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 e6 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.0-0 Be7 10.b3 0-0 11.Bb2 Rfe8 12.Qe2 a6 13.Rad1 Qc7 14.Qc2 Rac8 15.e4 dxe4 16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17.Bxe4 g6 18.Rfe1 Bf6 19.Bc1 Rcd8 20.Be3 Nb6 21.Qe2 Nc8 22.Bb1 Rd7 23.Rd2 Qd8 24.Red1 Bg5 25.Qg4 Bxe3 26.fxe3 Qe7 27.c5 Red8 28.Bd3 a5 29.Rf2 Kh8 30.Bc4 f5 31.Qe2 e5 32.Qb2 b5 33.cxb6 Nxb6 34.Rfd2 Nxc4 35.bxc4 Qb4 36.Qc2 Kg7 37.Rb1 Qe7 38.Qc3 exd4 39.exd4 Kh6 40.Kh1 f4 41.Rd3 Qh4 42.Rf1 f3 43.Rdxf3 Qxd4 44.Qxa5 Qxc4 45.Rf4 Rd4 46.Qe5 Qd5 47.Qf6 Rxf4 48.Rxf4 Qd1+ 49.Rf1 Qd6 50.Qh4+ Kg7 51.a4 c5 52.a5 Rd7 53.Qf2 h5 54.Rc1 Qd4 55.Qc2 Rf7 56.a6 Kh7 57.Qb3

Here Vlastimil Hort, who is originally from Czechoslovakia but has lived for decades in Germany, made an unhappy decision: 57...c4? 58.Qxc4 Qxc4 59.Rxc4. It is interesting and instructive to see how Humpy, the second-strongest female player in the history of chess, turns the one pawn advantage into a full point. 59...Rf1+ 60.Kh2 Ra1 61.Rc7+ Kh6 62.a7 h4 63.g4 Ra2+ 64.Kg1 g5 65.Kf1 Kg6 66.Ke1 Kf6 67.Kd1 Ke5 68.Rf7 Ke6 69.Rg7 Kf6 70.Rc7 Ke5 71.Kc1 Kf4 72.Kb1 Ra6 73.Kb2 Kg3 74.Rc3+ Kg2 75.Ra3 Rxa7 76.Rxa7 Kxh3 77.Kc3 Kxg4 78.Kd2 Kh3 79.Ke2 g4 80.Kf1 Kh2 81.Ra2+ Kh1 82.Ra4 h3 83.Kf2 1-0.

Nice play by GM Koneru Humpy

These "snowdrops" have become devilishly strong – GM Vlastimir Hort

Lahno Kateryna - Korchnoi Viktor
Snìzenky a Machøi (2.3), 29.11.2009
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 Bxg5 7.hxg5 Qxg5 8.Qd3 Nf8 9.Nh3 Qe7 10.Nf4 Nc6 11.0-0-0 Bd7 12.Qg3 Rg8 13.Ncxd5 exd5 14.Nxd5 Qd8 15.Nf6+ gxf6 16.Qxg8 fxe5 17.dxe5 Qe7 18.f4 0-0-0 19.Bc4 Ne6 20.Qg3 Qc5 21.Bxe6 Bxe6 22.Rxd8+ Nxd8 23.Rd1 b5 24.Qg8 Qe3+ 25.Kb1 Bd7 26.Qxh7 Qxf4 27.Qd3 Qg4 28.a4 bxa4 29.Qa6+ Nb7 30.Rh1 Kb8 31.Rh8+ Bc8 32.Qc6 Qd1+ 33.Ka2 Nd8 34.Qb5+ Bb7 35.Qxa4 Bd5+ 36.b3 Qxc2+ 37.Ka3 Qc1+ 38.Ka2 Qd2+ 39.Ka3

Here the great Viktor Korchnoi had real chances of beating his young Ukrainian colleague, but blew it by taking the pawn: 39...Bxg2 (why not 39...Kc8 and torture the opponent) 40.Qh4 Qa5+ 41.Kb2 Qxe5+ 42.Ka2 ½-½.

Good chances: Viktor Korchnoi in game two against...

GM Kateryna Lahno, who has scored 50% so far

Dutch chess legend Jan Timman has also made two draws so far

Boris Spassky commenting for the audience

Video reports by GM Robert Fontaine for Europe Echecs


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