The lady is a champ at Essent 2003

by ChessBase
10/22/2003 – If you have a tournament with a world champion, a junior champion, a Dutch champion, and the top female player, you can be sure of one thing: Judit Polgar will be there every year. This formula appeared in Hoogeveen in 1997 and Polgar has yet to miss a turn. This year she took clear first place for the first time since 1998, but she needed a last-round win to do it. Report and games.

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The Lady is a Champ

In the past few years things have gotten tougher on Judit Polgar's annual trip to Hoogeveen, Netherlands. The champion's slot has gone from the likes of Spassky and Smyslov to world class players Khalifman and Karpov. Jan Timman has given way to Van Wely and Ivan Sokolov. Even the junior champions are getting tougher. Shaked and Sadvakasov were both rated under 2500. This year Aronian weighed in at 2649!

In fact, this quaint annual event turned into one of the strongest tournaments of 2003 with a 2689 average Elo. For the third time Polgar was the top seed in the event and she lived up to her billing by taking clear first by a full point. It wasn't easy, however. She was tied with Aronian going into the final round and locked up the tournament by beating him in a complicated game.

That win made it a clean sweep with the white pieces for Polgar. She lost to Sokolov in the fifth, but none of her competitors could muster more than a single victory. Sokolov and Aronian both failed to distinguish themselves and finished even. At least Sokolov had the consolation of beating Polgar in a fantastic sacrificial game. Karpov lost twice and failed to win a game to end up in the cellar. He has played very little classical chess in the past few years, instead becoming a rapid specialist.

1st Essent Report2nd Essent ReportOfficial Site (Dutch)
Replay all games online and download PGN

Polgar started with a bang by dealing Karpov one of his most devastating losses ever, as we saw in our first report. She finished strongly as well, although her win over Aronian was made much easier when the young Armenian blundered into this position.

Black has just played his queen to c4 and was hoping to get rid of the b and d-pawns with a quick draw. It won't take you long to find White's winning shot. It probably didn't take Polgar more than a second to see 29.Rc1! would win the exchange after 29...Qxd3 30.Rxc8+ Kh7 31.Bc2, pinning the queen against the king.

Aronian preferred to play on with rook and bishop for the queen after 29...Qxc1 30.Bxc1 Rxc1 but couldn't deal with all the threats after 31.d6! and he resigned a few moves later.

That decisive last-round game gave Judit Polgar another great 2003 result and added even more rating points to her current career high. The next list could see her recapture her old position as the top-rated Hungarian by passing Peter Leko.


Photo from official site.

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