Thursday, August 6, 2009


written by Abby Marshall
As soon as I saw the first round pairings, I knew. There was never a doubt in my mind who the champion would be.

OK, no, seriously I think I’m surprised as anyone by my result but I do have a theory: I got very tactical positions. In two games I sacked a piece on h6 or h3, which is generally a good clue that the position is tactical. Tactics are my strength, so I was lucky in that regard. If the games had been more positional in nature, the result may have been very different against the same opponents. I feel chess is kinda random like that; hot or cold streaks may not have so much to do with how well you’re actually playing but rather what positions or openings you get. I got two King’s Gambits.

Other things happening, nothing much. I took a bye the first round of the Open to go to a Chinese buffet then watched TV and took a nap. Obviously I’m a very busy person. The hotel is very nice but a little convoluted. Going out of my room I have a choice of whether to turn right or left and one way is much quicker than the other. You think I would choose the longer way like 50-50 percent of the time, but I find that it’s more 80-20. Hmm. I am also on day 26 of being a vegetarian, so the steak and rib restaurant connected to the hotel is taboo, but there are lots of places to eat within walking distance. Indianapolis is a nice catch.

I’m lucky enough to have both the skill and the XX chromosome necessary to play in both the Denker and the Polgar, and really, playing in the Denker is basically no different than playing in the Polgar. Both are really high pressure, high adrenaline tournaments, where everyone is generally an active and dedicated player, so you just can’t blow anyone off. I guess the number of intense games at the Denker is greater since I was playing up more, but the difference between Denker and Polgar is the relative strength of the tournament, not anything to do with playing guys or girls. If anything, the Polgar is more pressure. Now that a girl has won the Denker, maybe someday the Polgar will be the stronger tournament.

I believe that women can play chess as well as men, I mean why not. But just because something should be a certain way, I don’t think we can always act like that is the case currently. There shouldn’t have to be all-girl’s events and titles and what not, except that the ratio of guys to girls is still hugely skewed and there are hardly any top women players compared to guys. The question is when will women be considered equal to men at chess? What barriers have to be broken before we can say that girls have proven we are equal to guys? I don’t know. At this event, it was me and Erica and like 50 guys. A girl winning the Denker is just another step to women reaching equality, but it’s not the last.

Speaking of women’s chess, the presence of Kosteniuk at the US Open should be making some guys sweat. I think she is super cool and I can’t wait to play her in a simul tonight. She is also playing the four-day schedule and I’m going to be her cheerleader during the games. Women winning both the Denker and the US Open? I propose an invitational for boys next year.

I just think it’s fair.

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