Elena Akhmilovskaya of the Soviet Union won the Women's World Championship Candidates' Tournament held in Malm"o, Sweden, earlier this year. She totaled 9 points in the eight-player double-round-robin event. This earns her the right to challenge women's world champion Maya Chiburdanidze of the USSR next fall. Rated at 2305 against Chiburdanidze's 2455, the 29-year-old Akhmilovskaya will be the decided underdog in the title match. Ratings and playing form, however, do not always coincide. Pia Cramling of Swewden, with a 2400 rating, was the highest-ranked player in the event. The 22-year-old hope of the West only finished in fourth place (with 7 points), behind Nana Alexandria of the USSR and Marta Litinskaya, also of the USSR, with 9 and 8 points, respectively. Perhaps the pressure of playing before her home crowd caused young Cramling to start very badly, as she scored only 1 points in her first six games. She later recovered and won her final three games, but it was too little and too late to overcome her early deficit.
In my not so humble opinion, Cramling has more talent than her Soviet rivals and I give here her victory over Soviet Irina Levitina, the 1984 challenger, taken from this event, as evidence to support my contention. Her fiery style and creative imagination, culminating in a proffered Queen sacrifice, are entirely worthy of our admiration. Cramling Levitina 1. P-Q4 N-KB3 2. P-QB4 P-KN3 3. N-QB3 P-Q4 4. PxP NxP 5. P-K4 NxN 6. PxN B-N2 7. B-QB4 (a) O-O 8. N-K2 P-QB4 9. O-O N-B3 10. B-K3 Q-B2 11. R-B1 R-Q1 12. P-B4 (b) B-N5 13. P-B5 N-R4 14. B-Q5 (c) P-K3 (d) 15. PxKP PxKP 16. N-B4!! (e) PxB 17. QxB Q-Q2 (f) 18. Q-K6 ch! K-R1 19. KPxP N-B5 20. B-B2 PxP 21. BxP BxB ch 22. PxB P-QN4 (g) 23. NxP ch! (h) Resigns
A. A currently popular alternative here is the simpler 7. N-B3. The text continuation was a favorite of Boris Spassky, a former world champion, who used it to defeat Bobby Fischer in a memorable game at Santa Monica, Calif., in 1966.
B. In the Fischer game, Spassky now played 12. Q-K1 to prepare the thematic 13. P-KB4 without allowing the B-KN5 pin for Black. White, however, plays for the immediate meat-ax without the subtleties.
C. In a Soviet championship game played in 1973 between Rashkovsky and Korchnoi, White played the more conservative 14. B-Q3 at this point. The text move, on the other hand, is highly imaginative, although speculative.
D. If Black is to refute White's idea, then 14. . . . NPXP (not 14. . . .BxBP; 15. BxP ch, when White obtains a virulent initiative at no material cost) must be tried.
E. This brilliant queen offer is the raison d'^etre for White's preceding moves. Since White wins after 16. . . . BxQ; 17. NxKP, Q-K2 (17. . . .RxB; 18. NxQ, R-Q2; 19. NxR wins for White, as the knight cannot be trapped); 18. NxR ch, K-R1; 19. N-B7 ch, K-N1; 20. B-N5, Q-B2; 21. QRxB, P-KR3; 22. B-Q8, Q-N1; 23. N-N5 ch, K-R1; 24. N-K6, followed by 25. R-B7.Black chooses to decline the sacrifice. But this way she is left with a thankless position with no material compensation.
F. No more promising would have been 17. . . . PxKP; 18. N-K6, Q-Q2; 19. QxKP.
G. If Black wished to continue the game, she had to play 22. . . . N-N3 at this point.
H. Had black attempted to continue in this position, she would likely have been mated as follows: 23. . . . PxN; 24. R-B8 ch, K-N2 (24. . . . RxR; 25. QxQ; we can now see why 22. . . . N-N3 would have prevented White's combination); 25. Q-B6 ch, K-R3; 26. Q-R4 ch; K-N2; 27.Q-R8 mate.
International Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier is a former US champion and has won or shared the US Open title five times.