by Sam Sloan

At the New York Open, held on April 5-7, 1996, it was no great surprise that there were two girls in the experts section, although that would have been a surprise not so many years ago. However, it was a surprise when both girls won both of their first two games.
Irina Krush, rated Chess Master

After that, in one of those fiendish computer created coincidences, they were paired against each other. (Again, only a few years ago, before there were computers, the diabolically minded tournament director would have done that on purpose.)

Naturally, a lot of interest developed in this game and a big crowd gathered. I am sorry to say, however, that it was just a krush. Irina simply let Martha, 18, have too much in an early stage of the game, and Martha just rolled her up, or blew her off the board or however you want to put it.

But, cheer up! Irina is only 12 years old, and, with a USCF rating of 2110, there is still some hope left for her.

As for Martha, her story did not have a happy ending either. She remained near the lead until the last round. Then, in the last round, with the first prize of $8,000 at stake (by the way, that is Eight Thousand Dollars, this is not a typo) Martha was paired against Justin Sarkar, another student of her own chess teacher. (Ever wonder how these little kids get to be so good? They all have chess teachers!) Martha and the little boy she had to face in the last round are both trained by International Master Rafael Klovsky, whereas Irina is trained by Michael Trosman. (Don't try to look up these names in the rating list, because I don't believe that you will find them. You will just never guess where all of these professional chess trainers come from.)

Martha's exciting last round game against the little boy finally ground down into an even endgame where each side had a rook and three pawns and most of the pawns were passed. So, the position was, if Martha wins, she gets clear first of $8,000. If she draws, she gets $500. If she loses, she gets zero. She had the edge and could easily have played safe and forced a draw. So, what did she do? You guessed it! Martha played to force a win, and she lost.

[Event "New York Open"]
[Site "Newark NJ (USA)"]
[Date "1996.04.06"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Krush Irina"]
[Black "Fierro Martha"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E94"]

1. d4 d6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 Nf6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 a5 
8. O-O Nbd7 9. Be3 Ng4 10. Bg5 f6 11. Bh4 g5 12. Bg3 Nh6 13. Nd2 Nc5 
14. f3 f5 15. b3 f4 16. Bf2 Nf7 17. a3 h5 18. h3 Nh6 19. Rb1 Rf6 20. b4 
axb4 21. axb4 Na6 22. c5 Rg6 23. cxd6 cxd6 24. Nc4 g4 25. fxg4 hxg4 
26. hxg4 Bxg4 27. Bxg4 Nxg4 28. Qf3 Qg5 29. Rfc1 Qh5 30. Nb5 Rh6 31. Qh3
Qg5 32. Qf3 Nh2 33. Qd3 f3 34. g3 Qh5 35. Rb2 Qh3 36. Ne3 Ng4 0-1

[Event "New York Open"]
[Site "Newark NJ (USA)"]
[Date "1996.04.05"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Krush Irina"]
[Black "Leite George"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E12"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 b6 5. Nf3 Bb7 6. Bg5 O-O 7. e3 d6 
8. Bd3 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 h6 10. Bh4 Nbd7 11. O-O e5 12. Bf5 Qe8 13. Nd2 g6 
14. Bd3 Kg7 15. Rae1 Nh5 16. f4 f5 17. h3 e4 18. Be2 Qe6 19. Kh2 Kh8 
20. g4 Nhf6 21. gxf5 gxf5 22. Rg1 Rg8 23. Nb3 a5 24. d5 Qf7 25. Nd4 Nh7 
26. Ne6 Nc5 27. Qd1 Nf8 28. Bh5 Qd7 29. Qd4+ Kh7 30. Rxg8 Nfxe6 31. Qh8#

[Event "New York Open Under 2200"]
[Site "New York (USA)"]
[Date "1996.04.07"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Sarkar, Justin"]
[Black "Fierro, Martha"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B39"]
[WhiteElo "2148"]
[BlackElo "2187"]
[PlyCount "125"]
[EventDate "1996.07.04"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. c4 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 Ng4 8.
Qxg4 Nxd4 9. Qd1 e5 10. Be2 O-O 11. O-O d6 12. Qd2 a6 13. Rfd1 Be6 14. Rac1 f5
15. exf5 Bxf5 16. Bd3 Bg4 17. Re1 Qh4 18. Be4 Rab8 19. f3 Be6 20. Bd5 Bxd5 21.
Nxd5 Rf7 22. Bf2 Qd8 23. Bxd4 exd4 24. b3 Qf8 25. Qd3 Be5 26. Rc2 Qh6 27. g3
Qh3 28. Qe4 Rbf8 29. f4 Bg7 30. Qe6 Qxe6 31. Rxe6 Rd7 32. Kg2 Kf7 33. Rce2 Be5
34. Re7+ Rxe7 35. Nxe7 d3 36. Rd2 Kxe7 37. fxe5 dxe5 38. Rxd3 Ke6 39. c5 Rc8
40. Rd6+ Ke7 41. Rb6 Rxc5 42. Rxb7+ Kd6 43. Rxh7 Rc2+ 44. Kg1 Rxa2 45. Rh6 Rb2
46. Rxg6+ Kd5 47. Rxa6 Rxb3 48. Ra2 Ke4 49. Kf2 Kf5 50. h3 Rc3 51. Kg2 Kg5 52.
Rf2 Ra3 53. Re2 Ra5 54. Kf3 Rb5 55. Re3 Kf5 56. g4+ Ke6 57. Kg3 Kd5 58. g5 Kd4
59. Re1 e4 60. Kf4 Kd5 61. Rxe4 Rb3 62. Re3 Rb1 63. g6 1-0

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