Malcolm Pein on…Polina Shuvalova


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Today’s Daily Telegraph chess column sees Malcolm focusing on the Polina Shuvalova, who has impressed many people with her fine play at the Russian Women’s championship.

Shuvalova’s defensive skill is certainly admirable, especially in one so young.

Malcolm also presents a puzzle on which to test your strength.

Malcolm Pein on…Polina Shuvalova

The Russian Women’s championship saw the emergence of a new star, as 19-year-old Polina Shuvalova confounded the established players with six straight wins.

Going into the rest day, Shuvalova’s closest pursuer, former women’s world championship finalist Aleksandra Goryachkina, was 1.5 points behind. A couple of years ago Vladimir Kramnik mentioned to me that he had coached Shuvalova and had been very impressed. Shuvalova’s victims included Russian internationals Alexandra Kosteniuk and Valentina Gunina. Expect to see the teenager breaking into the team soon.

Kashlinskaya – Shuvalova reached this position after 30.Bg5 gxf6 31.Re4. White threatens a mating attack with Rg4+, exf6 and Qh8 and if 31…f5 32.Qg5+ Kf8 33. Rh4 forces Black to give up the queen to avoid mate.

Polina Shuvalova

Black continued: 31…Rxc4!! (31…f5 32.Qg5+ Kf8 33.Rh4 wins and 31…Nxe5 32.Nxe5 Bxf1 33.Rg4+ Kf8 34.Nxd7+ Qxd7 35.Rd4 Qc7 36.Qxf6 is good enough for perpetual) 32.bxc4 Qc5+ 33.Kh1 f5 34.Qg5+ Kf8 35.Rh4 Qxe5 (Covering the mate threat on h8. Black’s pieces are well coordinated and White’s rook and queen offside and unable to protect his king) 36.Rh7 (36.Qd2 Ke7 37.Rh7 Bxc4) 36…Bxc4 37.Qh4 Kg8! (Ingenious)

Ingenious Defense by Polina Shuvalova

38.g4 (Black runs the king and wins after 38.Rh5 Bd5 39.Rg5+ Kf8 40.Qh6+ Ke7 41.Rg8 Kd6 42.Qf8+ Kc6 43.Qc8+ Rc7) 38…f4 39.g5 Nb2? (39…Bd5) 40.Rg1? (Presumably mutual time trouble, as 40.Rc1! would keep White in the game and if 40…b5 41.g6; If 40.g6 Bxf1 41.gxf7+ Rxf7 wins) 40…Be2 41.Kg2 Bxf3+ 0–1

Test Your Strength


White to play and win

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

36.Qf6 left Black with no way to defend a6 and there was no perpetual after 36…Qg1+ 37.Ka2 Qg8+ 38.Rf7 1-0

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