IM Anna Muzychuk vs WGM Jessica Nill – Women’s Chess – 2006 Individual Womens Championship

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Anna Muzychuk vs Jessica Nill: 2006 European Individual Championship (Women) – Muzchuk opens with e4 and responds to Nill’s Sicilian Defense with an interesting move order designed to avoid the main lines with 3. c4 – either aiming to play the Closed Sicilian or open the position up slightly and steer play towards a Maroczy Bind set-up. Nill quickly closes the center with e5, and although this wastes a tempo the resulting position does not allow Muzychuk to take advantage of this loss of time. I like Nill’s basic set-up, however I think her plan was wrong with 10. …a6 and 11. …Rb8 – and would prefer black to play more actively in the center with moves like Nd4 and f5. Also, the move 16. …Qc7 seems inefficient. Muzychuk embarks on an excellent plan with 17. Bf2 18. Bh4 and 20. e5! – capitalizing on black’s inefficient opening play by breaking open the center and starting an attack against black’s king. Muzychuk proceeds to end the game very accurately, using threats against black’s queenside to deflect the black pieces from the defense of the king. Muzychuk ends the game with an fantastic finesse – 34. Qf1! – leaving Nill to resign in the face of impending checkmate.

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