Battle of the Sexes Chess Tournament

Before reading further please replay this game:

  1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qa5 7. b4 Qf5 8. Qe3 Qe6 9. Bb2 Qxe3+ 10. fxe3 f6 11. Bc4 e5 12. a3 a5 13. bxa5 Rxa5 14. d4 e4 15. Nd2 Bf5 16. O-O Bg6 17. a4 Bb4 18. c3 Be7 19. Be6 Nd7 20. Nb3 Ra7 21. c4 Rf8 22. a5 Bf7 23. Bxf7+ Rxf7 24. g4 h5 25. h3 hxg4 26. hxg4 g6 27. Rf2 b6 28. Bc3 Bd8 29. Nd2 f5 30. Raf1 Bh4 31. Rh2 Bg5 32. Rh8+ Ke7 33. axb6 Bxe3+ 34. Kh1 Nxb6 35. Nxe4 Ra4 36. gxf5 gxf5 37. Re1 Nxc4 38. Nc5 Ra2 39. Rb1 Rc2 40. Ba1 Nd6 41. Rh2 Rxh2+ 42. Kxh2 f4 43. Nd3 Ke6 44. Kg2 Kf5 45. Kf3 Rg7 46. Rb8 Rg3+ 47. Ke2 Nc4 48. Rf8+ Kg5 49. Rg8+ Kh4 50. Rh8+ Kg4 51. Rg8+ Kh3 52. Rh8+ Kg4 53. Rg8+ Kh5 54. Rh8+ Kg5 55. Rg8+ Kh5 56. Rh8+ Kg4 57. Rg8+ 1/2-1/2

I had no intention of writing anything about the GibChess Battle Of The Sexes before checking out the games this morning. After being out of the house for several hours the games were concluded upon my return. The game just presented caught my attention. Regular readers will understand why…

Jovanka Houska

IM Jovanka Houska, courtesy of John Upham Photography
https://britishchessnews.com/event/birthday-of-im-jovanka-houska-10-vi-1980/2021-06-10/

is a WGM and was the subject of a previous post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/11/09/find-the-worst-move/). Jovie, as she is known, has been a prolific writer about Chess, such as opening books, and even a novel, a paperback doorstop. She can be seen broadcasting Chess games. Ms. Houska has made a nice career out of Chess, the kind of career that must make a male National Master envious, if not mad as HELL, because the fact is many, if not all, men resent the favoritism shown women involved with the Royal Game. The fact is it would be almost impossible for a male 2300 player to have the income granted Ms. Houska simply because she is a woman. Name the last 2300 rated male you saw broadcasting any kind of Chess game. They would not be taken seriously. Period. How many books do you think the 2300 male about whom I am writing would sale? “WGM” is for, “Woman Grandmaster.” It does not mean Jovanka is a Grandmaster who happens to be a woman. The word alone, “Grandmaster,” signifies a Grandmaster Chess player. A Grandmaster can be of either sex. Only a woman can be a “Woman Grandmaster.” Are you confused? That’s OK, so is the Chess world. To become a “Grandmaster” a player must meet certain requirements (excepting those that do not), one of which is a minimum rating of 2500. To give you an idea of the range of a Grandmaster, the World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, is rated over 2850. A National Master of the United States must have a rating of at least 2200. A Senior Master (and that does not mean “Senior” as in older[er] player) must have a rating of at least 2400. Now that you have that straight let us move on to what it takes to become a “WGM.” It takes all of 2300 points to become a “WGM.” I kid you not. If a male reaches 2300 he is still a “NM”. In Chess circles once a player reaches 2300 he is said to be a “Solid Master.” This writer reached and went over 2000 a few times and became an “Expert.” Things were much different ‘back in the day’ because there were far fewer players and no rating inflation. For example, around the time this writer was winning the Atlanta Chess Championship, Expert players were a factor in winning many Chess tournaments, and I do not mean tournaments of the local variety. In 1974 “A master-level chess player who had been playing chess since his childhood, (Alan) Trefler

Karpov 2010 Campaign Kick-off Party
https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/a-wall-street-presence-in-the-world-of-chess-politics/?_r=0

competed in the 1975 World Open Chess Championship in New York City. Still a college student at Dartmouth, he entered the tournament with a 2075 Elo rating, 125 points below the lowest master-rated player, ranking him 115th overall in the tournament. He went on to be crowned co-champion along with International Grandmaster Pal Benko, who was rated at 2504. Trefler also placed ahead of Grandmasters such as Walter Browne and Nicolas Rossolimo, as well as future Grandmaster Michael Rohde.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Trefler#Chess_career)

It is an insult to Caissa for anyone to call any player of any sex a “Grandmaster” if rated only 2300. It is an insult to ALL GRANDMASTERS and has only served to cheapen the once lustrous title. That is why Chess now has terms such as, “Super Grandmaster,” and “Mid-Level Grandmaster,” and “Weak Grandmaster.” The vast majority of women who play the Royal Game fall into the latter category. Think of it this way, ‘Back in the day’ when women wanted to join the US Military there was a problem they could not solve; pushups. Women could not do the minimum number of push-ups, so the rules were changed allowing women to do push-ups while on their knees. Male soldiers must still do regular push-ups the old fashioned way by balancing on their toes. The battle still rages: (https://nypost.com/2021/05/11/armys-first-female-infantry-officer-blasts-lower-standards/)

Before leaving the the house last move made in the Eric Rosen (2356) vs Jovanka Houska (2365) game above was 21…Rf8. My first thought, exactly, was, “What The Fork?” I do not understand this move. It did, though, remind me of a former student in Louisville, Kentucky, who was being home schooled because he had pulled the fire alarm at school. He would make a non sequitur move like this and when asked why he made the move would invariably answer, “I dunno.” Got to be where I replied, “Just needed a move, huh.” That was about the only time the kid cracked a smile. Nevertheless, if you would like to explain the move to my readers Jovanka, please, by all means, do so by leaving an explanation in the comment section. After returning I made a strong cuppa Joe while thinking about the Too Much Coffee Man, real, actual Chess Grandmaster, and former candidate for the World Championship, Kevin Spraggett (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/),

https://i0.wp.com/fanpagepress.net/m/K/Kevin-Spraggett-new-pic-1.jpg
https://happybday.to/Kevin-Spraggett

and then sat down to replay the remainder of the game. The first move that shocked me was 33 axb6, which allows 33…Bxe3+! CHECK! Maybe there is a time when allowing your opponent to take a pawn while checking your King is a good idea. Then again, maybe not…
41 Rh2 (Turn out the lights the party is definitely O’ver)
After both moves numbered 44 I knew there would be much RED when later looking at the MOVES over at the ChessBomb. Like everyone else in the Chess world not named Allen Priest the Armchair Warrior was expecting 44…f3+, because everyone knows, “Passed pawns must be pushed.” I was uncertain after she played 45…Rg7, but I’m no Grandmaster. Then comes the move that ends the game, 47…Nc4. Ask any student and they will tell you this writer as a Chess teacher has been known to vociferously yell at the top of his lungs, “EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!!!” As I tell the children in a much softer voice later, “Always examine all checks because sometimes a check turns out to be CHECKMATE!” Before playing the ill-fated and lame Knight move Jovanka had to see the next move her opponent made would lead to a drawn game by perpetual check, yet played it anyway, thus acquiescing to the draw. What can be said other than this is pitiful Chess, and not because it was played by a player with “GM” attached to her name. Not winning a game that should have been won would be bad for any player of any sex and any rating, excepting, again, Allen Priest.

Rosen, Eric (USA) – Houska, Jovanka (ENG)
Gibraltar Chess Festival | Battle of the Sexes 2022 round 02
B10 Caro-Kann, two knights variation

  1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qa5 7. b4 Qf5 8. Qe3 Qe6 9. Bb2 Qxe3+ 10. fxe3 f6 11. Bc4 e5 12. a3 a5 13. bxa5 Rxa5 14. d4 e4 15. Nd2 Bf5 16. O-O Bg6 17. a4 Bb4 18. c3 Be7 19. Be6 Nd7 20. Nb3 Ra7 21. c4 Rf8 22. a5 Bf7 23. Bxf7+ Rxf7 24. g4 h5 25. h3 hxg4 26. hxg4 g6 27. Rf2 b6 28. Bc3 Bd8 29. Nd2 f5 30. Raf1 Bh4 31. Rh2 Bg5 32. Rh8+ Ke7 33. axb6 Bxe3+ 34. Kh1 Nxb6 35. Nxe4 Ra4 36. gxf5 gxf5 37. Re1 Nxc4 38. Nc5 Ra2 39. Rb1 Rc2 40. Ba1 Nd6 41. Rh2 Rxh2+ 42. Kxh2 f4 43. Nd3 Ke6 44. Kg2 Kf5 45. Kf3 Rg7 46. Rb8 Rg3+ 47. Ke2 Nc4 48. Rf8+ Kg5 49. Rg8+ Kh4 50. Rh8+ Kg4 51. Rg8+ Kh3 52. Rh8+ Kg4 53. Rg8+ Kh5 54. Rh8+ Kg5 55. Rg8+ Kh5 56. Rh8+ Kg4 57. Rg8+ ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2022-gibraltar-chess-festival-battle-of-the-sexes/02-Rosen_Eric-Houska_Jovanka

1 e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qa5 (This is the old move, still played by the middle-aged ‘old guard’ players who rest on their laurals without putting in the effort to keep up with current opening theory. It was the choice of Stockfish 13, but Stockfish 14.1 @depth 49, and SF 310121 @depth 60, have progressed to the better move of 6…Nd7) 7. b4 Qf5 (Another antiquated move made by the woman better known for broadcasting Chess in lieu of playing the game. Three different SF programs all play 7…Qd5, and so should YOU!) 8. Qe3 Qe6 9. Bb2 (Fritz and Houdini both show 9 Be2 best, but Stockfish 14 would play a move yet to be played by a titled human being, 9 d4. The move is not shown at 365Chess.com. Keep in mind I am using the ‘Big’ database which includes games from chumpy lumpies, like you and me. Surprisingly, two games can be found at the Chessbase Database)

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