Malcolm Pein on…the ‘She Plays to Win’ Initiative


Chessable Blog
Table of Contents

Malcolm Pein looks at the ‘She Plays to Win’ initiative in his latest Daily Telegraph chess column.

Cassie Graham, one of the stars of the initiative, had a very good against Pia Cramling recently and this forms the centrepiece of today’s column.

Pia Cramling shows her attacking prowess in today’s puzzle. Test your strength and see if you can find the answer.

Malcolm Pein on…the ‘She Plays to Win’ Initiative

The European Online Women’s Club Cup organised by the European Chess Union and Monte Carlo Chess Club is under way on the Tornelo platform. Five teams from England are involved.

The tournament patron is Prince Albert II of Monaco. The leading players include former women’s world champions Maria Muzychuk and Alexandra Kosteniuk. Wood Green Chess Club have entered three teams, there is one English Women’s LiChess team and a junior team supported by IM Lorin D’Costa’s ‘She Plays to Win’ initiative, which lines up:

Cassie Graham – University of Birmingham, age 19; Kristina Solovieva – Barnet Knights, age 13; Nina Pert – Brentwood, age 12; Emily Maton – St Albans, age 13; Alisha Vyas – Barnet Knights, age 13.

Graham nearly defeated the Swedish chess legend Pia Cramling in last week’s warm-up

P. Cramling – C. Graham
English Anti-Gruenfeld

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Qb3 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.h4 h5 8.e4 Nc6 9.Ng5 0–0 10.d4 Na5 11.Qb4 (Preventing the standard Gruenfeld counter c7-c5 attacking the centre) 11…Nc6 12.Qa3 a6 13.Bc4? b5 (Or 13…Nxd4 when 14.0-0 is best, as 14…Nc2? allows 15.Bxf7+. After 14.cxd4? Qxd4 White must castle and give up the bishop on c4. Not 15.0-0 Qxa1? 16.Qxe7) 14.Bxb5? (14.Bd5 Bb7 and e7-e6 is OK for Black.)

What Should Back Play Here?

She Plays to Win

14…Nxd4! 15.cxd4 Qxd4 16.Rb1 (After 16.Bc6 Rb8 the white rook on a1 is lost) 16…Qc3+ (16…axb5! 17.Qxa8 Qd3 18.Rb3 Bc3+ wins or after 16…axb5! 17.Qe3 Qc4 Black checks on c3 and captures on a2 with a huge advantage. Now White escapes into a bad endgame a pawn down) 17.Qxc3 Bxc3+ 18.Bd2 Bxd2+ 19.Kxd2 axb5 20.Rxb5 Rxa2+ 21.Ke3 Ba6 22.Rc5? Ra3+! (If 23.Kf4 e5+! wins the knight) 23.Kd2 Rd8+ 24.Rd5 Rxd5+ 25.exd5 Rd3+ 26.Kc2 Rxd5 27.Ra1 Bd3+ 28.Kc3 Bf5 29.Ra7 Rc5+ 30.Kd4 Rc2 31.Ke3 Kg7 32.Nf3 c5? (Time trouble, 32…Kf6 33.Nd4 Rc3+ 34.Ke2 e5 was the way) 33.Rxe7 Rc3+ 34.Kd2 Rc2+ 35.Ke3 Rc3+ 36.Kd2 draw.

Test Your Strength

Pia Cramling Attacking

P. Cramling – Z. Franco, Seville Open 1988.

White to play and win

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

23.Bc7! Qxc7 24.Qxf7+ Kh8 25.Rh4 1-0 If 25…h6 26.Rxh6+ or 25…h5 26.Rxh5+ gxh5 27.Qxh5+ Kg8 28.Qh7+ Kf8 29.Ne6+ is one way.

Was this helpful? Share it with a friend :)

4.9 with 3.65K user reviews

Check them on individual course pages