1675468457 Kosteniuk leads the Munich Grand Prix after a blunder by

Kosteniuk leads the Munich Grand Prix after a blunder by Paethz

The brains of chess players attract neurologists like honey attracts flies, because mental sport demands measurable top performance because the rules are very clear. However, not even the most sophisticated machines will be able to explain the huge mistake that the German Elizabeth Paethz is making today. Her rival, still Russian (soon to be Swiss) Alexandra Kosteniuk is the sole leader after the 2nd round of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix featuring twelve elite players in Munich, Germany.

“It is clear that Elizabeth suffered from a so-called blind spot because there is no other rational explanation. Sometimes things like that happen to us,” Kosteniuk later explained to the spokesman, the Spaniard Michael Rahal. It was one of the most important Soviet coaches, Alexander Kotov, author of still cult books (Think like a great Teacher, Play like a great Teacher, Train like a great Teacher), who universalized the concept of the “blind spot”: suddenly , makes a player at a very high level makes a tactical mistake that is typical for beginners because he forgets an elementary detail. In the case of Paethz, his opponent’s queen prevented a mate on e8 with his rook. Almost all chess players, even world-class players, make such mistakes at some point.

There was another big mistake on the same lap, but this one has a much more common explanation: time trouble. It happened in an uphill battle between two Asian world stars, Indian Humpy Koneru and Kazakh Zhansaya Abdumalik, who gave each other hugely intimidating looks as they shook hands in greeting minutes before the first set. Koneru, 35, third in the world rankings, probably sees in Abdumalik (23, 15th) the rising star she was in her youth and would like to threaten her like she did then. But Abdumalik, who is also a councilor on the Almaty (formerly Alma Ata) city council, is not easily intimidated.

Koneru and Abdumalik, at the beginning of their argument in Munich todayKoneru and Abdumalik, at the start of their confrontation in Munich todayDavid Llada

Anyway, after the opening, Koneru reached a very advantageous position. He missed a shot that was as spectacular as it was difficult for a human to calculate, but still enjoyed a comfortable positional advantage. However, under the pressure of the clock, he forgot that if he charged instead of pressing from afar, his turret would be blocked, and that’s exactly what happened.

But not everything was said yet. The fight continued and Koneru showed impressive tenacity until she reached a very difficult defensive position to break through, although according to the machines she was still a loser. But Abdumalik is not a chip, he couldn’t find the exact break and the tie was signed after almost five and a half hours of fighting.

Second round: Koneru – Abdumalik, tie; Dzagnidze – M. Muzychuk, draws; Zhu—Harika, pulls; Kashlinskaya – Tan, boards; Pähtz-Kosteniuk, 0-1; Wagner – A. Muzychuk, 0-1.

Classification: 1st cost iuk 2 points; 2nd-4th Tan, Dzagnidze and A. Muzychuk 1.5; 5th-8th Paethz, Harika, Koneru, and M. Muzychuk 1; 9th-11th Kashlínskaya, Zhu and Abdumalik 0.5; 12 Wagner 0.

Third round (Saturday, 3:00 p.m.): Tan-Paethz; Kosteniuk–Wagner; Harika-Kashlinskaya; Abdumalik Zhu; M. Muzychuk-Koneru; A. Muzychuk-Dzagnidze.

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