Tehran WWCh Rd3 G1: Play by the Book!

by Elshan Moradiabadi
2/18/2017 – The third round of Women's World Championship in Tehran saw a rather peaceful day in which ladies at the office tried to play cautiously. With five out of eight games drawn, and some of them being dull and uneventful, three players scored to go to the next round with high hopes. The pervasive theme of these three games was the fact that the winners played the whole game by the book and did not try to do anything eccentric but to execute the known plans of their respective positions, step by step. Here is the illustrated report with GM analysis.

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All photos by David Llada

It seems that whenever I criticize Nana Dzagnidze, the Georgian GM gets angry and decides to go back to her elements, this time by beating the in-shape Chinese Shen Yang from the white side of an Exchange Slav. The Georgian got almost nothing out of her opening but the position after opening remained comfortable and simple for white.

Where did I go wrong? Must be what Shen Yang was wondering. Tomorrow she needs to go all in against

Dazgnidze’s moves were effective and in accordance to what the position demanded. On the other hand, Shen Yang started to make moves without following a concrete plan and gradually started to run out of resources, and eventually, she went down at the hands of a cute pseudo-rook sacrifice by Nana.

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.16"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Dzagnidze"] [Black "Shen, Yang"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D10"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] 1. c4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. cxd5 cxd5 {And unexpected choice by Nana. Does it mean that she just wants to make a draw? I believe that this is more of a good psychological idea against Shen Yang.} 4. Bf4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. e3 a6 7. Bd3 { The most accurate move order.} Bg4 8. Nge2 e6 9. O-O Be7 10. Rc1 Rc8 (10... O-O 11. Na4 Nd7 12. a3 e5 13. dxe5 Ndxe5 14. h3 Bh5 15. Bb1 Bf6 16. Qc2 Bg6 17. Qb3 $14 {1-0 (46) Sargissian,G (2686)-Laznicka,V (2679) Dubai 2014}) 11. Bg3 (11. a3 {is the most common.} O-O 12. Na4 Nd7 13. b4 e5 14. dxe5 Ndxe5 15. h3 $14 Nxd3 16. Qxd3 Bxe2 17. Qxe2 d4 18. Rfd1 $14 {1/2-1/2 (72) Sargissian,G (2671) -Artemiev,V (2524) Khanty-Mansiysk 2013}) 11... Bh5 12. f3 Bg6 13. Nf4 Bxd3 14. Nxd3 Nd7 15. Na4 O-O 16. Rf2 $146 (16. Qd2 Qa5 17. Qxa5 Nxa5 18. Kf2 f6 19. Ke2 b5 20. Nac5 Nxc5 21. dxc5 Nc6 22. Rfd1 Rfd8 23. Bf2 Kf7 24. g4 e5 25. a3 a5 26. h3 Ke6 27. f4 g6 28. Bg3 Ra8 29. Rf1 b4 30. a4 e4 31. f5+ gxf5 32. Nf4+ Kf7 33. gxf5 d4 34. Ne6 Rg8 35. Rg1 d3+ 36. Kd2 Ra7 37. Bd6 Raa8 38. Rg4 Rxg4 {1/2-1/2 (38) Adla,D (2492)-Dreev,A (2680) ICC INT 2000}) 16... Qa5 $6 {Shen Yang mixing up plans.} (16... Bg5 17. f4 Be7 18. Rfc2 Na7 19. b4 (19. Rxc8 Nxc8 20. Qb3 b6 21. Ne5 $14) 19... Rxc2 20. Rxc2 a5 21. a3 axb4 22. axb4 Nb5 23. Nac5 b6 24. Nxd7 Qxd7 25. Qc1 h6 26. h3 Ra8 27. Ne5 Qb7 28. Be1 Bd6 29. Qd1 Bxe5 30. fxe5 Na3 31. Rf2 Nc4 32. Rf3 Ra3 33. Bf2 Qa6 $19 {1-0 (48) Stefanova,A (2486) -Ushenina,A (2501) Beijing 2013}) 17. a3 Bg5 $6 {This move is just a waste of time in this position.} 18. f4 Be7 19. b4 Qb5 $6 {Third inaccuracy which gives white huge advantage. Shen Yang is playing with fire. Her queen is misplaced and white's advantage is increasing every other move.} (19... Qd8 {was necessary so black can stay still and hope to hold.}) 20. f5 $1 {this move is justified both tactically and stratigically.} a5 $6 {this was black's last moment to stay in the game and Shen Yang lets it go with this over-optimistic move.} (20... exf5 {loses to} 21. Nc3 Qb6 22. Nxd5 Qd8 23. Rxf5) (20... Na7 { was necessary.}) 21. Nac5 $1 {Strong and effective. From here onward, Nana does not give black any second chance for come back.} Bxc5 22. Nxc5 Nf6 23. fxe6 fxe6 24. Nxe6 Rf7 25. Nxg7 $1 {Human way of delivering the full point.} Kxg7 26. Rxf6 Rxf6 27. Qg4+ Kf7 28. Qxc8 axb4 29. Qd7+ Kg8 30. Qe8+ Rf8 31. Qe6+ Rf7 32. axb4 Nd8 33. Qg4+ Kf8 34. h3 Ke8 35. Bh4 {Dzagnidze's best game so far.} 1-0

A difficult day for Pham but tomorrow never dies!

Pham Thanh Nguyen from Vietnam has had a stellar performance so far. She has managed to eliminate two much higher-rated opponents in the competition and her resilience and hard work over the board has given her a fantastic run. Unfortunately for her, today’s opponent was no one but GM Anna Muzychuk, whose consistent results in recent months make her a perfect candidate for the title.

On the black side of Alapin Sicilian (2.c3)  Anna Chose the rather risky 2…g6 set-up and managed to comfortably equalize. Pham played too passively and lost too many tempi with her knight on f3 which gave Anna a huge developmental advantage, Muzychuk did not disappoint her fans and seized the initiative to get the better of her opponent and took step toward quarter-finals.

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.16"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Pham, Le Thao Nguyen"] [Black "Muzychuk, A."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B22"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "102"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] 1. e4 c5 2. c3 g6 3. d4 cxd4 4. cxd4 d5 5. e5 Bg7 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. h3 f6 8. exf6 exf6 9. Nf3 Nge7 10. Be2 O-O 11. O-O g5 $5 {In a very interesting and rich position, Pham takes a weird path with her knight.} 12. Ne1 $6 (12. Re1 Bf5 13. Be3 Bg6 14. Rc1 $14 {1-0 (49) Adams,M (2640)-Dzindzichashvili,R (2545) New York 1994}) 12... h6 13. Be3 Be6 14. Nc2 Qd6 15. Qd2 Rae8 16. Nb5 $6 {It is hard for me to imagine this can lead to anything for white but waste of time.} Qd7 17. Nb4 $2 {But this is terrible.} Nxb4 18. Qxb4 a6 19. Nc3 (19. Nd6 Nc6 $19) 19... f5 20. f4 Nc6 21. Qb6 Bf7 22. Bf2 Re6 $1 {White's queen is very uncomfortable and black is going to win some material now, especifically d4 pawn.} 23. Bd1 Nxd4 24. Qc5 b6 25. Qa3 b5 26. Kh1 Qe7 27. Qxe7 Rxe7 28. Bxd4 Bxd4 29. Bb3 Bxc3 30. bxc3 g4 31. hxg4 fxg4 32. Rad1 Re3 33. f5 Rxc3 34. Kh2 $4 {white HAD to take on d5.} Rd8 35. Rd4 h5 36. Rfd1 Kg7 37. Bxd5 Rxd5 38. Rxd5 Bxd5 39. Rxd5 Ra3 {The game is over.} 40. Rd6 b4 41. Rg6+ Kf7 42. Rh6 a5 43. Rb6 h4 44. Rg6 Rxa2 45. Rxg4 Kf6 46. Rxh4 b3 47. Rh6+ Kxf5 48. Rb6 a4 49. Kh3 b2 50. g4+ Ke5 51. g5 Ra3+ 0-1

The other victorious face was the ex-world champion Antoaneta Stefanova who got the better of the resilient and resourceful Nino Khurtsideze.

Stefanova played it all till the end until….

Nino Khurtsidze ran out of steam and made several consecutive blunders.

Padmini Rout defended tenaciously under pressure and held Tan Zhongyi to a draw.

While Sopiko held Harika Dronavalli. Check out the ChessBase India report with master analysis by Asian Champ. Bhakti Kulkarni and Sagar Shah. (Don't miss the 'move of the maestro' pointed out by Bhakti in her analysis.

Another ex-world champion, Kosteniuk, did not have a good day at the office...

...but despite her hard work and press, Pia did not manage to break her.


Pairings for Round 3.2

Results of the Round 3.1


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 14 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Elshan Moradiabadi is a GM born and raised in Tehran, Iran. He moved to the US in 2012. Ever since, he has been active in US college chess scenes and in US chess. is a veteran instructor and teaches chess to every level, with students ranging from beginners to IM. He can be contacted for projects or teaching.
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Aighearach Aighearach 2/19/2017 08:59
Oh, ladies at the office, I see chessbase is getting on the cosplay with these life-sized dolls~!
Bright Knight Bright Knight 2/19/2017 12:56
Pia Cramling is surely no spring chicken, but that last picture made her look much older than her age. The headscarf and the haggard pose added 20 years.
Augusta2022 Augusta2022 2/18/2017 04:44
Since when is this about which person who matches the veil with her outfit? It's a WCh event where performance matters.
It's outragious to see all these reports where the islamic suppression symbol, i.e the veil is being rationalized as something acceptable.
JiraiyaSama JiraiyaSama 2/18/2017 03:04
@diegoami: Would you pass a judgment that a person has to be chained to the wall of the cell, but the prisoner must buy the chain at his/her cost? I think they must've provided them the hijab in the beginning of the tournament. Maybe a closet full of, just hijabs? :p
diegoami diegoami 2/18/2017 02:53
Note, Kosteniuk has perfectly matched hijab, necklace and earrings. Should be given a prize for hijab style.
I wonder how many hijabs the ladies bought for this tournament - it seems to me that they never wear the same one. If it was me, I would buy one and stick with it, but women will be women.
JiraiyaSama JiraiyaSama 2/18/2017 02:24
@fmeca: Of course. This article is using the western style of placing the surname after the name. In the native Indian version, you can call her Dronavalli Harika.
Augusta2022 Augusta2022 2/18/2017 02:19
fmeca fmeca 2/18/2017 02:14
When will Fide/Chessbase/a tons of other people realize that "Dronavalli" is the surname of the Indian GM ?