There is nothing more exciting than to see two ladies battle it out on the chessboard. On my site I have devoted numerous times the contributions made by women of all ages to the joys for us all whose bookshelves are loaded with mostly male biographical dominance of game play, stories, and chess problems.
Our 2016 US woman champion is Nazi Palkidze and she looks forward to helping the American women team in the upcoming Chess Olympics. Her name is that of her grandmother and is pronounced “nah-zee” which translates in Georgian to mean “tender or delicate.” It is the first name often seen in Georgia. (Well, Nazi, I hope you keep your name! and family heritage.)
She writes that as a girl of 12 growing up, she was a huge minority, often being one of the only girls competing and because of that, chess felt like a “men’s game.” She was even thinking of leaving chess.
Coming to America, winning the US title, her life has changed. The number of students she teaches has grown dramatically. She continues her daily routine of study, diet and exercise. Currently she works on chess study four hours a day reading chess books, improving tactical vision, and especially on endgame play.
She and her husband Gregory Barnes met while attending UMBC. He is a huge chess fan. Since coming to the USA, she has switched her GEO federation to the USCF at the end of 2014 and now they reside in Nevada.
After high school and before college, she did some traveling and playing tournaments. The following game was vs. GM Csaba Balogh, 5th Wroclaw Open, Poland. I had the white pieces. Opening: Sicilian Defense, Scheveningen Variation (B82).
l. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 c:d4 4. N:d4 Nc6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3 Qc7 9. O-O-O Mr. Warburton of England did not favor castling Q-side. O-O 10. Be2 a6 11. g4 N:d4 12. B:d4 Nd7 13. h4 White starts a K-side pawn rollup. Black plays smartly countering it with a Q-side demonstration. This leads to a hairy-scary position.
l3. …b5! 14. a3 Rb8 15. g5 b4 16. a:b4 R:b4 17.f5 Ne4! 18. B:e5 d:e5 19. f6! White cannot afford anything but sharp play against the enemy King position.
19. … Bc5! Threating …Bd4 striking terror in the White castled position.
20. f:g7 K:g7 Earlier game on my website showed Black leaving the pawn as a blockade but it fails here because of her note 20. …Re8 21. h5 Bd4 22. g6 and White still opens up the King position.
21. h5 Qe7 Black dismisses the superior 21…Be7, having an eye maybe still on a Bd4 idea. It seems vital to keep the Queen on the Q-side.
22. Qg3! Bd4 23. R:d4!! e:d4 24. Q:e5+ f6 25. g:f6+ Q:f6 26. h6+ The effect of this check was missed by the Grandmaster.
26. … Kf7 On 26…Kh8, 27. Rf1 exploits the 8th rank weakness.
27. Bh5+ Ke7 28. Nd5+ and mate cannot be answered.
This game sparked the spirit of a young girl in her traveling quest and goal.
The most memorable game in her trip to play in the Open Master Tournament held in Biel, Switzerland in July 2011 was white against the Ukrainian prodigy GM Illia Nyzhnyk. Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Var. (B94)
l. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 c:d4 4. N:d4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6, Bg5 Nbd7 7. Bc4 Qa5 8. Qd2 e6 9. O-O-O!? h6? I’ve warned about loosening the K-wing pawn structure of my columns. Usually Black tries for a spatial Q-side counter which is strategically the correct response to get a respectable counter to a K-side assault. Thus, best would seem to be 9….b5 10. Bb3 Bb7 11. Rhe1.
10. B:f6 N:f6 11. Rhe1 Be7 12. Kb1 Removing the King from the central complex is a sound strategy.
12. … Qc7 Castles here would be weak. 13. Nd5! Qd8 14. N:e7+ Q:e7 15. Bb3 Leaves the d6 pawn weak.
13. Bb3 O-O 14. f4 b5 15. a3 Rb8 16. g4 Nd7 Square count is 13/5. Having strengthened her King position, she continues the assault with a healthy pawn storm. Still, she missed the opportunity for a sac here: 17. B:e6! f:e6 18. N:e6 Qb7 19. Nd5 Nb6 20. N:e7+ Q:e7 21. N:f8 with the better game. But, sometimes it is wiser to follow your plan. It is called “stick-to-it-ness.”
17. h4 Nc5 18. g5 N:b3 19. c:b3 h5 20. f5 g6 Black has not been able to increase square count but does have the advantage of the two-bishops versus 2-knights which could limit white somewhat.
21. Qd3 Kh7 22. Rc1 Qd7 23. Nce2! Bb7 24. Ng3 This Knight now adds it’s power in the attack.
Rbc8 25. R:c8 B:c8 26. Qf3 e5 27. Nc2 Kg8 28. Ne3 Bb7 29. N:h5! g:h5 30. f6 Rd8 31. f:e7 Q:e7 32. Nf5 Qe6 33. Nh6+ Kg7 34. Q:h5 Rc8 35. Nf5+ Kg8 36. Qg4 Rc7 37. h5 Bc8 38. Qf3 a5 39. g6 d5 40. Nh6+ Kf8 41. e:d5 Black resigns. (1-0).
Sometimes the appearance of quiet move can prove deadly.