Zhu Chen wins Accoona Women's Championship

by ChessBase
3/2/2005 – Former women's world champion Zhu Chen defeated former US champion Irina Krush to take the Accoona Women's Championship at the ABC Times Square Studios, NYC, yesterday. The top Chinese player used the occasion to end her "maternity leave" with a suitable bang. Here's a picture report by Paul Truong.

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Accoona Women’s World Chess Championship

Impressions from New York

By Michael Bagalman, with pictures by Paul Truong

I live close by and walked over just at 5pm. Getting close to the studio, there was quite a crowd assembled in the street. Hoping that the popularity of chess had just taken a quantum leap forward I asked someone what was going on. It turns out that Jennifer Lopez was in the window of the MTV studio across the street. As far as I can tell, her appearance was not chess-related.

Opening ceremony for the chess match in the ABC studio in Times Square, New York City

Still, there was a pretty good crowd at the Times Square studio for the chess match. Unlike the match with Skripchenko at the Samovar a few months ago, the audience was in the same room with the players this time, and I think this made a difference. Zhu Chen was totally focused throughout both games; she seemed unaware that anyone else was in the room.

Irina Krush, however, was very aware of the crowd. She was looking up distractedly throughout both games, and once pointed out someone that was particularly disturbing so that GM Ron Henley (serving as arbiter) would quiet him. In the second game, when she launched her g-pawn forward aggressively, we heard a loud "woo!" from the commentating room next door, and Krush looked up smiling.

She also seemed to be suffering from a cold. And while Zhu Chen hardly moved at all during the game (she was like a statue when not reaching out to move a piece), Krush was shifting continually in her seat. During the first game, the table was clearly moving as Krush shifted her weight. Eventually Krush had to stop the clock and Henley checked the table; apparently someone had forgotten to set the lock underneath to hold the legs steady!

The Accoona team should be credited for the good job they did in organizing the event. Everything seemed to proceed smoothly, and the audience was well cared for with good seating, food and drink, and video screens of both the players and a Fritz board to help see the action. Plenty of passers-by on the street stopped to look in the window, which – I am sure – was the whole point of choosing this very cool venue.

The deputy Ambassador from China speaks at the opening

Accoona CEO Jonathan McCaan

A photop op before the match begins

Two ladies: Zhu Chen from China and Irina Krush from New York

The start of game one, a Queen's Gambit Accepted

Game one saw Zhu Chen pressing hard but allowing her opponent to escape after a careless move (33.Be5 would have been much better than her 33.Be4+). The game ended in a 48-move draw.

Zhu Chen (2494) - Krush,Irina (2466) [D26]
Accoona Women's Championship New York City, USA, 01.03.2005
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Qe2 cxd4 8.Rd1 Be7 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Nxd4 Qc7 11.Nxc6 Qxc6 12.e4 a6 13.Bg5 b5 14.Bb3 Bb7 15.Rac1 Qe8 16.a3 Rc8 17.e5 Nd7 18.Bf4 Nb6 19.Ne4 Nd5 20.Bg3 Rxc1 21.Rxc1 Qa8 22.Nd6 Bxd6 23.exd6 Rc8 24.Qd2 Rxc1+ 25.Qxc1 Qc8 26.Qxc8+ Bxc8 27.Kf1 Nf6 28.f3 Kf8 29.Ke2 Ke8 30.Kd3 Kd7 31.Kd4 Kc6 32.Bc2 h6 33.Be4+ Nxe4 34.fxe4 f6 35.e5 fxe5+ 36.Kxe5 Kd7 37.Bh4 Bb7 38.Be7 Bxg2 39.Bf8 h5 40.Bxg7 Bf3 41.Bh6 Bd1 42.Bf4 Bf3 43.Kd4 Kc6 44.Kc3 a5 45.Kd4 Bd1 46.Ke5 Kd7 47.Bd2 a4 48.Bf4 ½-½. Click here to replay.

The start of the match-decider game two

The second game was a see-saw affaire with both sides having winning chances. In the end Irina Krush got into desperate time trouble and lost on position and the clock.

Krush,Irina (2466) - Zhu Chen (2494) [E38]
Accoona Women's Championship New York City, USA, 01.03.2005
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 c5 5.dxc5 Qc7 6.Nf3 Bxc5 7.e3 a6 8.b3 b6 9.Bb2 Bb7 10.Be2 Be7 11.g4 d6 12.g5 Nfd7 13.Rg1 Nc5 14.h4 Nc6 15.h5 0-0-0 16.a3 Kb8 17.Rc1 Rc8 18.b4 Nd7 19.Ne4 Rhg8 20.g6 hxg6 21.hxg6 f6 22.Qb1 Rh8 23.b5 Nd8 24.bxa6 Bxa6 25.Nd4 Nc5 26.Nb5 Bxb5 27.cxb5 Ndb7 28.a4 d5 29.Nxc5 Bxc5 30.Kf1 Qh2 31.Bc3 Rh4 32.Qa1 Nd6 33.Bf3 Qh3+ 34.Bg2 Qf5 35.Ke2 Rh2 36.Qb1 Ne4 0-1. Click here to replay.

Zhu Chen's husband GM Mohamed Al-Modiahki of Qatar, and Irina's boyfriend IM Pascal Charbonneau of Canada analyse for the public during the game.

Joined by US champion Hikaru Nakamura, writer Paul Hoffman and former women's world champion Susan Polgar

And the winner is... Zhu Chen, former women's world champion and young mother

Receiving the trophy from the Accoona executives Jonathan McCann Stuart Kauder

Media attention that comes with success

Signing hot sauces (!?) for a fan

Incidentally New York Mayor Bloomberg has declared March 1st the Accoona Women's World Chess Championship day. We assume that this means there will be an event of this kind every year. Hurray for women's chess!

All photos by Paul Truong


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