Chess Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk won her game
against reigning World Champion GM Antoaneta Stefanova
at the Calvia Olympiads on October 22, 2004, in the match Russia-Bulgaria,
on the first board of the Bronze Medal winner Russian Team.
This is the second time in 2004 that Alexandra wins against
Stefanova, the first one was at the European Championships in April.
Both times Alexandra played with the black pieces.
In April Antoaneta started with 1.d4, this time she tried 1.e4.

GM Stefanova, Antoaneta (2523) - GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra (2508) [B63]
36th Chess Olympiad Calvia (Spain) (round 7), 22.10.2004
[comments by Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk]

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1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Qb6
It's the game of the 7th round of the match Bulgaria - Russia, we had 2 Black games, I played with Black on the first board, Nadezhda Kosintseva played against Velcheva on the 3rd board. On both boards White had chosen the same variation and the same position had appeared.
8.0-0-0 Be7
While we approached this position, on the 3rd board White already had played his next move, so Antoaneta decided to make the same one
9.Nb3 0-0 10.f3 a6
I played this move quickly because it was still my home preparation, while Nadezhda chose another continuation, and we started to play different games without looking at each other's board after making a move. [10...Rd8 11.g4 d5 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Bxe7 Ndxe7 14.Bd3 e5 15.Qg5 Be6 16.Ne4 Ng6 17.Nec5 h6 18.Qd2 Bxb3 19.Nxb3 Nf4 20.Kb1 Nxd3 21.cxd3 Nb4 22.Qc3 Rac8 23.Qxe5 Nxd3 24.Qe2 Qg6 25.Ka1 Kh7 26.h4 h5 27.gxh5 Qf5 28.Rhg1 Nf4 29.Qe3 Rxd1+ 30.Rxd1 Nxh5 31.a3 b6 32.Rg1 Qf4 33.Qd3+ g6 34.Rg4 Qf6 35.Rd4 Nf4 36.Qe4 Ne6 37.Rd7 Rc7 38.Rxc7 Nxc7 39.h5 Ne6 40.hxg6+ Qxg6 41.Qd5 Kg7 42.Ka2 Qf6 43.Nd2 Qd4 44.Qxd4+ Nxd4 45.b4 Kf6 46.Kb2 Ke5 47.a4 Kf4 48.Kc3 Nxf3 49.Nc4 Ng5 50.b5 f5 51.a5 bxa5 52.Nxa5 Ke5 53.Nc6+ Kd6 54.Nxa7 Kc5 55.Nc6 Ne6 56.Kd3 Kxb5 57.Nd4+ 1/2-1/2 Velcheva,M-Kosintseva,N/Mallorca (Spain) 2004 (57)]

[White can take a pawn here, but after that Black gets the initiative 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.Qxd6 Rd8 13.Qc5 Rxd1+ 14.Kxd1 Qc7 with initiative; 11.h4 is another popular move in this position, see, for example, game Ganguly, S - Svidler, P, Bled,2002]
11...Rd8 12.Qe1?!N

Antoaneta recently began to play 1. e4 ( she played 1. d4) and doesn't feel very comfortable in these kinds of positions yet [12.Be3 is the most popular move here]
12...Qc7 13.h4 b5 14.Be3 Nd7 15.f4?!
In this kind of position White normally plays g5-g6, h5 or g5, h5, g6

Probably better was what I planned to play first [15...Nb6 16.Qf2 Rb8 with the idea to play b4]
16.g5 Rac8 17.Rh2
[17.Kb1 b4 18.Na4 Na5 19.Bd3 d5 with ideas - Bc6 and Nc4 20.Nb6? dxe4! 21.Nxc8 Rxc8 and Black's winning]

a mistake, because after 18. ... b4 White is forced to give his knight, otherwise he will lose his key pawn on e4. [18.Nxc5 dxc5 was better for White, but Black has a good position anyway.]
18...b4 19.Nd5 exd5 20.exd5 Na5?

It's not clear why Black should give the piece back. After [20...Nb8 21.h6 g6 22.Qxb4 Nbd7 23.Qd4 Bf8 24.Bh3 Re8 Black still has an extra piece while White doesn't have enough initiative for the sacrificed material]
21.Nxa5 Qxa5 22.Bxc5

I decided that after this move we will have a more complicated position than after [22...Qxc5 23.Qxe7 Bxd5 Diagram

but here Black is simply better and White needs to play very carefully, for example 24.Bxa6? (24.g6 Re8 25.Qd7 Bxa2 26.gxh7+ Kh8 27.Rhd2 a) 27.Qxd6? ... mate in 8:) 27...Qe3+ 28.Rdd2 Rxc2+ 29.Kxc2 b3+ 30.Kc1 Qe1+ 31.Rd1 Rc8+ 32.Qc6 Rxc6+ 33.Bc4 Rxc4+ 34.Rc2 Rxc2#; b) 27.Bxa6? ... and mate in 5... 27...Qe3+ 28.Rhd2 (28.Rdd2 Rxc2+ 29.Kxc2 Bb3+ 30.Kc1 Qe1+ 31.Rd1 Qxd1#) 28...Rxc2+ 29.Kxc2 b3+ 30.Kc1 Qc5+ 31.Rc2 Qxc2#; 27...Be6 28.Qxd6 Qa5 29.Qxa6 Qxh5 White King is not safe and Black is better) 24...Re8 25.Qd7 Ra8 26.Qb5 (26.Re2 Rxe2 27.Bxe2 b3! wins) 26...Qe3+ 27.Rhd2 Bf3 Black's better; 22...Rxc5? 23.Qxe7 Bxd5 24.h6 White's better]

[23.Qxb4 Rxc5 (23...Qxa2 24.Qa3) 24.Qxb7 Qxa2 25.Qxa6 Ra5]
23...Qxa2 24.Qxb4

Here I realised that after

White can simply play 25. Qa3 and get a better endgame

[25.Qa3 Qxa3 26.bxa3 Bf3 27.Rd3 Be4 28.Re3 d5 my chances for a draw are still high in this position but a draw wasn't a result I was fighting for]
25...Be4 26.Bd3?

The rest is quite easy, Black is winning [26.Rc3 during the game I thought that this move still gives White a good position, in fact White has some problems after 26...a5 27.Qa3 (27.Qb3 Qxb3 28.cxb3 d5 Black's slightly better) 27...Qxa3 28.bxa3 Rxc3 29.Bxc3 d5 and this endgame is better for Black]

[If 27.Qb6 Bxd3 28.Rhxd3 Diagram

(28.Rdxd3 Qa1+ 29.Kd2 Bb4+ 30.c3 Qxb2+ 31.Kd1 Re2 32.Qd8+ Rxd8 33.cxb4 Qc2#) 28...Bxg5! 29.fxg5 (29.Be3 Bxf4!) 29...Re2 Black wins]
27...Qa1+ 28.Kd2 Qa4 29.c3 Bxd3 30.Rxd3 Rb8 31.Qxd5

31...Bxg5! 32.b4 Bxf4+ 33.Be3 Bxe3+ 34.Rxe3 Rbd8 0-1


Below: A smiling Alexandra before her game against Stefanova





Below: Another more serious photo of Alexandra just before her game against Stefanova