Roza Eynullayeva, Sensational New Star at the US Open

Board One of the second round of the US Open in Cherry Hill New Jersey featured a struggle between Artur Yusupov, who has been ranked among the top ten players in the world, and a young girl whom most of the spectators had never seen or heard of before.

But, I knew her. Back in March when I was circulating petitions to run for USCF Executive Board, I had gone to the Marshall Chess Club to collect signatures. I had asked everybody for their signature and, when a young chess expert offered to sign, I had not thought much of it.
Roza Eynullayeva
Roza Eynullayeva

However, the following day, I was attacked on the chess politics newsgroup for soliciting the signature of a scholastic player. I had not realized that she is as young as she turned out to be. I assume that most rated experts are at least approaching adulthood. There is no rule which prohibits a scholastic member from signing a petition for a candidate for election.

Her name is Roza Eynullaeva. In the USCF, her name is spelled Eynullayeva. She was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, the home town of Garry Kasparov, on 10 September 1987, so she is still 14 years old. She is a Woman FIDE Master with a FIDE rating of 2196. Her USCF rating is 2085. She is now the number two rated girl in the USA. ( Laura Ross is still number one).

In her game against Grandmaster Yusupov, Roza played somewhat passively and allowed him to gain the initiative. However, on move 28, she sacrificed a pawn with e6. If Yusupov accepted with Bxe6, she could then play 29. Bb2, attacking the rook on g7. Yusupov cannot move the rook, because Roza would play 30. Qh8+ followed by checkmate, so Roza would win an exchange with good chances.

However, Yusupov countered by ignoring the sacrificed pawn and threatening checkmate. Roza had to defend against successive mate threats and finally, when Yusupov was about to force a trade of queens leaving him with a decisive material advantage, Roza resigned.

In spite of losing this game, it was a remarkable performance for a 14-year-old girl against one of the strongest chess players in the world.

Here is the Game:

Position after White played 28. e6

[Event "US Open"]
[Site "Cherry Hill New Jersey"]
[Date "2002.07.28"]
[Round "02"]
[White "Eynullayeva,Roza"]
[Black "Yusupov,Artur"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A90"]
[WhiteElo "2085"]
[BlackElo "2699"]

1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 d5 5.Nf3 c6 6.Nbd2 Bd6 7.b3
Nbd7 8.Bb2 Ne4 9.e3 O-O 10.O-O Qf6 11.a4 Rf7 12.Ne1 Qh6
13.Nd3 g5 14.f4 Ndf6 15.Nf3 Rg7 16.Nfe5 Bd7 17.Ba3 Bc7
18.cxd5 exd5 19.b4 Re8 20.Rc1 Bxe5 21.Nxe5 Rxe5 22.dxe5
Ng4 23.h3 Nxe3 24.Qd4 gxf4 25.Rf3 Nxg3 26.Rxe3 fxe3 27.Re1
Ne4 28.e6 Qg5 29.Re2 Nf2 30.Rxf2 exf2+ 31.Qxf2 Bxe6 32.Bb2
Rg6 33.Kh2 f4 0-1

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