Chess.com hosted the Women’s Month Celebration | Invitational Blitz Tournament on Wednesday. The event started with a Q&A with the strongest woman chess player in history, the legendary GM Judit Polgar. The interview was followed by a blitz tournament, in which the team White Rose finished first in a field of eight teams.
You can click here to find all the details of what happened during the event, including games, results, standings, and more, as part of our live events platform.
Polgar discussed a range of topics, including the growth of chess and streaming, various accounts of chess history, as well as her hobbies and interests. The audience was composed of Chess.com staff members and streamers.
Polgar responded positively to the growth of chess in recent years, commenting that the increase in streamers in the last two years has been something “special.”
Polgar on the growth of chess: “In the last two years, maybe I can say, it was a great boom, seeing streamers, and it became something very special for chess, I believe.” pic.twitter.com/SLCkvvJ74N
— ChesscomLive (@ChesscomLive) March 15, 2023
She stated a few minutes later, “I think during the Queen’s Gambit series, when it was out, I think it was at least as big [of a] boom in the world [as] Fischer-Spassky 50 years ago,” pointing out that this time it “had nothing to do with politics.”
Asked about the separation of women’s and open events, she said: “I think generally it should be one, but there can be motivational events for girls and ladies to inspire them, but I think it’s very important when we talk about chess we talk objectively about the game of chess.”
She added: “I don’t even like to talk too much about girls becoming better than another boy or whatever. No, I just wanna talk about kids developing the maximum potential they can and they have.”
Asked about the greatest comeback she’s ever seen in a game of chess, she recalled a game against GM Alexander Grischuk in which she was just two pawns down in a knight endgame, dead lost. She explained that on move 61, Grischuk made the most natural-looking move, and suddenly the position was drawn—she saved the game.
Polgar isn’t a big fan of variants, but she mentioned her father invented one: Star Chess, which is similar to the regular game but played on a star-shaped board.
Where does she love to travel? She named countries like Spain, Argentina, Chile, and the Netherlands; she also mentioned that some of the pleasant memories in the more than 80 countries she’s visited are related to good tournament results.
Who inspired her? When she was about eight or nine years old, she was a “big fan” of GM Garry Kasparov, “but then later on I started to admire a lot of other world champions… and also grandmasters and others.” She, of course, beat Kasparov herself in 2002.
If she could go back in the past, she would play the Cuban world champion, Jose Raul Capablanca. “I would wonder what kind of incredible games we could play with our imagination and our tactics and our artistic style.”
The interview ended with a brief mention of the Judit Polgar Global Chess Festival. It usually occurs on the second Saturday of October annually, but this year it’s planned to span two days. One day will be held offline at the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest, with in-person lectures and conversations about the importance of chess and education. The other day will be accessible to people online.
White Rose finished first among eight teams with 19 points. The four players were WGM Adriana Nikolova, FM Anna-Maja Kazarian, WFM Devina Devagharan, and Andrew Kauffman.
The tournament was a seven-round Swiss played at the 3+2 blitz time control. A win earned three points, while a draw scored one. Each four-person team was composed of three women and one man.
The top three teams led the tournament from the start. Latin Chess Power had the sole grandmaster in the field, GM Carlos Matamoros, who won five games and drew two. Below is his first-round victory.
GM Carlos Matamoros wins his first game in the blitz event! pic.twitter.com/qQ9Eg3GpiY
— ChesscomLive (@ChesscomLive) March 15, 2023
As the tournament went on, there were, of course, a few Botez Gambits. Latin Chess Power board three, WIM Lilia Fuentes, may have mouse slipped in round two when she hung her queen in one move here…
… but she went on to win the game.
A mate-in-one was dropped in this other game. Lara Mateo graciously accepted the gift and won.
Three players finished with a perfect score, winning seven out of seven games: Devagharan (of the winning team), Laura Collado, and WIM Maria Florencia Fernandez.
Of the three aforementioned players, Fernandez, the Latin Chess Power board two, earned the biggest upset. She defeated IM David Martinez Martin in round four, where she demonstrated the power of the bishop pair against two knights. Below is the ending of that game.
Board three Kazarian won six games and lost just one. In just 25 moves and with the black pieces, she scored her highest-rated win against Fuentes, who, with under 20 seconds, hung a knight.
Nikolova, the winning team’s board one, won the final game for her team against WIM Luciana Morales. After a long maneuvering game, surely time trouble crept in, and she found a winning sequence of moves. Can you find the clincher?
Black to move and win.
The top three teams will receive prizes, including Chessable courses, hoodies, t-shirts, and mugs for each member.