What has always attracted me to the joys coming from chess is that one can look back to earlier times to see the youthful adventures of young champions who had yet to reach maturity. And one might say that magazine subscriptions to chess periodicals is a necessary component to achieve this; we rarely find our purpose otherwise.
NIC 2006 #1 gives a picture from the world junior championship announcing Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, AZE, the male champ, ( 2674) and Elizabeth Pahtz, Germany, the girls champ, (2408) with scores of 10.5 and 10.0.
We often read about the difference between male and female chess strength. Perhaps I could say, not being a great myself but able to gain a perspective from the view of my readership, that there tends to be a different approach to handling positions and openings. Each receives the benefit of home study or even coaches and methods of instruction. These can vary where the skill is often seen in the mental attachment each is willing to absorb through such training. And in the final analysis, it is individual style of likes and dislikes that mold the maturity of youth.
Thus, I give two games, one each, that might clarify my comments that are based from their respective results. I point to theory, strategy, level of concentration ingrained in the style of each champion. Enjoy.
White: Evgeny Alekseev Black: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov English – Pirc Defense
l. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. Nge2 c5 7. d3 Nc6 8. O-O a6 9. h3 Rb8 10. a4 Bd7. Common too is 10… Ne8 11. Be3 Nd4 to avoid a future d4 pawn sortie to the center that black felt confident allowing.
11. Be3 Ne8 12. d4 c:d4 13. N:d4 Nc7 14. Kh2 Ne6 Square count is W/14 B/5. Black has set up a hedgehog type defensive structure which is solid. Black must start thinking to gain sq.ct. for himself. White is better prepared to increase mobility and territory because of his active pawns. Now, instead of playing aggressively, White avoids exchanges which is a bit slow. An aggressive path was 15. N:e6 B:e6 16. Nd5 B:b2 17. Rb1 Bg7 18. f4 with better chances for attack for the pawn missing.
15. Nde2 Perhaps following a belief by computers that it is wise sometimes to avoid exchanges. But this thought is rather slow here because black forces will begin to find happier times.
15. … Na5 A knight on the rim is dim but not when used as a ricochet (c4).
16. b3 b5 17. c:b5 a:b5 18. b4 Nc4 19. Ba7 Avoiding the more adventurous 19.a5!? maybe because 19…N:e3 20. f:e3 Be5 21. Rc1 h5.
19. … b:a4! 20. B:b8 Q:b8 21. Nd5 Re8!
22. Ra2 Nd8? Black has sacrificed his R for getting the bishop-pair with a very active position but best was 22… Nc7 with a complicated battle.
23. Qe2 e6 24. Ndf4? A tit for tat because White misses the powerful 24. Ndc3! Nb6 25. b5 Nb7 26. N:a4 N:a4 27. Q:a4 Nc5 28. Qc2 Q:b5 29. Rb1! Regrouping and eyeing square count, black pieces began to offer hope.
24. … Nh6 25. Rc1 Nc6 26. Nd3 Na7 27. Qd2 Bh5 28. Ne3 Bc4
29. N:a4 B:a2 30. Q:a2 offering a draw. Declined as the black bishop on g7 is more active than white on g2. The a4N will be out of play after….
30. … N d7! 31. Nab2 h5! Forcing 32. h4 weakening the g5 square.
32. … Nb5 33. Nc4 Nf6 34. Kg1 Rc8 Black forces are methodically being improved in the position with the goal to avoid exchanging pieces.
35. Qd2 Ng4 36. Na5 Bc3 37. Qd1 Rc7 This prophylactic move leaves White unable to find a useful move.
38. Bf1 Qa7 39. Qa4 N:f2 The dark pieces have an overwhelming square count now!
40. N:f2 Qe3 41. Qd1 Bd4 42. Rc2 Q:g3+ 43. Bg2 Be3! 44. Nb3 R:c2 45. Q:c2 B:f2+ 46. Q:f2 Q:h3 White resigns. <***>
White: Elisabeth Pahtz Black: Irina Vasilevich Sicilian Defense
l. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 c:d4 4. N:d4 Nc6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Be2 Qc7 8. O-O Bb4 Irina normally plays the Scheveningen that I had stressed, giving …Bb4 line little review in preparation for this game.
9. Na4 O-O 10. c4 Another idea is to play 10. N:c6 b:c6 11. Nb6 Rb8 12. N:c8 R:c8 13. B:a6 Rf8 14. Bd3 Bd6 which leads to an unclear position.
10. … Bd6 11. N:c6 b:c6 12. g3?! At home she decided 12. f4 was a better play. However, the plan seems to have produced an okay position. She felt the B belonged on f4.
12. … N:e4 13. c5 Be7 13… B:e5?! 14. Qd3 f5 15. f3 White is slightly better.
14. Bd3 Nf6 15. Bf4 Qd8 16. Nb6 Ra7 17. Qc2! Putting pressure on the kingside. On the CB web the Q was moved to e2 which fouled up the whole conversation. It reminds me of the erroneous move transmittal during a USCF Team League game where it took several moves to realize something was amiss! High tech is not perfect in the hands of mortals!
17. …h6 18. b4 Nd5 19. N:d5 c:d5 20. a4 Like many girls fast play seems to enliven the spirit. With only 3-minutes left for the t/c, it became a speed race. My opponent had lots of time left. Taking over 40-minutes on a position cost me. The position is easier to play with white.
20. … Bf6 21. Rae1 Re8 22. Bd6 Bb7 23. f4 Ra8 24. Qe2 Qc8?! Better was Be7.
25. Qh5 Bd4+ 26. Kg2 Bc3 reaching the critical position in the game.
27. Re2 d4+? 28. Kh3 f5 29. g4! Qd8 30. g:f5 e:f5 31. Q:f5 R:e2 32. Qh7+ Kf7 33. B:e2 d3 34. Bh5+ Ke6 35. Q:d3 Black resigns.
What I like about this comparison is both players played these games near the end of the tournament so both had probably suffered physical and mental stress.
The male has the tougher schedule per ratings. He also has likely much greater depth of knowledge coming from actual tournament play with tournament pressure equal for both. The female battle plan is different. I see it in comment structure. The sense of preparation is given less attention to detail and more to familiar general ideas. The love and spirit of play is equal.