To Krush or be Crushed
That was the Question

3/1/2005 - 

 ABC Studios in New York City, IM Irina Krush took on GM Zhu Chen for the Accoona's World Championship. It was a two game rapid match. Irina won the right to play Chen by defeating Skripchenko in an exciting match back in September of 2004. This mini 2-game match would also have an exciting finish. 
 Game one had Chen opening with 1.d4, the game went into the Classical Queens Gambit. I hope these ladies saw Garry Kasparov latest video on this opening. The game was a battle of the strongest outpost. By move 26 both players had strong knight outposts. Chen had a knight on d6 anchored by pawn on e5. Krush had knight on d5 anchored by a pawn on e6. Knights are best placed in the center of the board, that's where they control the most squares.  They are especially effective if they are anchored by a pawn and can't be driven away by an opponent's pawn. Chen's knight was deep inside Krush's territory. There is an old saying in chess, that a knight on the 6th is like a nail in the knee. Krush was forced to remove this knight by playing  move 26.. Bxd6. However this gave the bishop pair to Chen and a dangerous central passer on e6. Heavy pieces were soon exchanged. The game went into a two bishops vs. bishop and knight endgame. By move 31 Chen had the advantage going into this endgame. She had superior king position, a dangerous d6 passer, and the bishop pair. However Irina defended well, her defensive task was made easier when Chen decided to give up the bishop pair, by playing move 33 Be4+. The quick thinking Krush transformed the game into a drawish bishop of opposite color endgame with  33.. Nxe4. The game was finally drawn on move 48.

 Game two had Irina Krush opening with 1.d4, the game went into the classical Nimzo-Indian defense. Irina was going out for blood and jabbed her bayonet at Chen with 11. g4 and 12. g5. These moves displaced Chen's knight, but instead of going to the rim of the board with 12. Nh5, Chen wisely retreated the knight to a centralized d7 square. By move 15 both king positions were settled. Fearing Krush's aggressive pawn storm on the kingside, Chen would castle queenside. Playing aggressively on both sides of the board, Irina would leave her king in the center. It is always dangerous not to castle, this decision would seal Irina's fate. Irina grabbed space on both sides of the board, meanwhile Chen was coiled on her first three ranks. Krush forced open the h-file with 20 g6. Chen grabbed control of the this file with 22..Rh8. Krush also created the half open b-file with 23 b5. Krush transferred her knights, who were defending her king position, over to the queenside side for an all out attack. This strategy backfired, the knights were exchanged, but no serious damage occurred to Chen's king position. Both players were in a mad time scramble.  Chen then went on the attack by creating a queen-rook battery on the h-file with move 30..Qh2. Chen's pieces were coordinated for an aggressive assault on Krush's king. Unfortunately Krush's heavy pieces were all on the back rank. Chen delivered the final blow when she centralized her knight with move 26.. Ne4. This move had multiple deadly purposes, namely a mating threat on f2,  a deadly fork on c3, and a discovered attack on the queen.  Krush had no choice but to resign on move 37. Chen took the match and the championship with a 1.5-.5 score. 


Chessbase report of the match
Replay  game 1 - Chen vs. Krush
Replay game 2 -  Krush vs. Chen.
Hangin the Greek's key to victory
Accoona's American-French Championship