U.S. Chess Queens Call a Truce

Irina Krush, the No. 1 seed in the 2007 U.S. Women’s Championship had a short draw last night with No. 2 seed Anna Zatonskih in the fourth round of the nine-round tourney in Oklahoma, an unlikely chess mecca. Krush’s official chess rating is only a hair higher than Zatonskih’s. I had expected Irina to go all out to beat her chief rival because she’ll need to lap Zatonskih, who is half a point ahead of her, if she is going to win the coveted title of U.S. Women’s Champion. But Zatonskih chose an unambitious response to Krush’s Queen’s Gambit Accepted and the two cerebral gladiators agreed to a very quick draw, on the 11th move.

Grandmaster Pascal Charbonneau, who watched the game from Montreal over the Internet, told me that the drawn position was dull. “Neither of them wanted to continue this boring game,” he said, “because there wasn’t much fight in the position.” He said that, even with the 1/2 point deficit, Irina stood well in the tournament, because she would have more Whites than Blacks in the remaining five rounds and had already faced her strongest adversaries.

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