Polish Championship: The magic of the last round

The last round of the Polish Championship mattered to every competitor, for different reasons. The battle for the top prizes was a serious one, as, after all, this is an Olympiad year! Consequently, all of those fighting for a prize were willing to battle to the last pawn. Others fought to improve their final result, and save precious rating points, whilst very few shrugged their shoulders and just got the event over with. In other words, a typical last round in an official tournament... 

Why are the women's games especially interesting? The reasons are superficial: more fights, less calm calculation, more drive, less theory, etc. And let us not also forget what makes women's games especially interesting - more mistakes! 

Only a win in their individual game, on the final day, could allow Iolanthe Zawadska to catch Monica Socko. And, it must be said, she almost did it: 

Zawadska-Socko

After 45.g3-g4, Black would probably not be able to hold against the two widely-separated passed pawns. But tiredness and nerves made White play "more solidly", 45.a6 – counting on rounding up the kingside after the pawn is taken. 45…Bb8?! – now again  46.g4 works, but – 46.Bf2?! Kxa6 47.Kc4 e4! – Quick change! 48.fxe4 fxe4 49.Be1- alas, she cannot immediately go after e4 (49.Kd4), because the bishop stands badly… 49…e3 50.Kd4?! – Missing the chance to pose more problems with 50. Kd3 and after: 50…Ba7 51.Ke4 Kb5 – the king comes across to help in time. Draw ( ½ : ½ ).

The champion in an excellent mood

Thus, Monica Socko is champion, Iolanthe Zawadska second. The fate of the bronze should, by the logic of the tournament situation, have been decided by the games involving Shepkova and Horovska. The players matched one another for a long time but at one moment lost control over the situation. Both lost, and this allowed third place to be taken by Iweta Rajlich, who, ironically, also had a quite suspicious position for a long time. But she managed to survive and scored a last-minute goal: 

Kharazhinska-Rajlich


Whiet to play her 44th.

White resigns (0:1).

The championship trio Socko-Zawadska-Rajlich again proved their class. 

In the men's championship, the last round also saw a key meeting. Leader Radoslav Wojtaszek needed only a draw, and he achieved this in a position of strength, in a position where he could have played for a win with excellent chances, had he needed to. Kacper Piorun had to settle for silver (6,0), and 3-4th places were shared between the experienced Bartels and Jan-Krzhizhtof Duda, who caught him (both on 5,5).

Duda - Klekovsky

In the previous play, White had secured an extra pawn, but the opposite bishops and active black king insured Black against defeat. Had Klekovsky now played 45…а4, fixing the white queenside, Duda would have needed great inventiveness to show any chances of winning. But after the careless 45…Bd8?! White himself played 46.a4 (!) bxa4 47.c4 and Black's centre did not have long to live.  White won (1:0).

 

Links: 1, 2, 3, 4

Text: Sergey Kim