Tehran WWCh Rd4 G1: A Man's got to know 'her' limitations!

by Elshan Moradiabadi
2/22/2017 – The exciting quarterfinals clash between most of the best female players in the world yielded two results and two draws. While Ju Wenjun huffed and huffed to safety against Tan Zhongyi, Kosteniuk held Ni Shiqun with black, with hopes of pressing in the next round with white. Stefanova looked to be in trouble against Muzychuk until she was let off the hook. Not content with drawing with black, the Bulgarian played adventurously and lost. Harika won as well, thanks to some help. Illustrated report.

All photos by David Llada

The fourth round of saw pretty exciting games with one dramatic and interesting strategic battle.

Tan Zhongyi pressed Ju Wenjun the entire game but it is hard to see a clear cut win for her.

Ju Wenjun proved resourceful and got the draw out of a pawn down bishop endgame.

Kosteniuk played well against...

...Ni Shiqun and earned a rather easy draw with the black pieces.

For years, Harika's grandmother has stood firmly behind her as a rock of support in her quest for glory. She had an onerous task ahead in the quarters, trying to make something of her white pieces against Nana Dzagnidze.

Dzagnidze managed to equalize out of the opening but a strategic mistake handed Harika a pair of bishops and in that, a powerful light-squared bishop. Harika Dronavalli kept pressing and she had great winning chances until close to the move forty, when she missed 37…Nf5 which was an equalizer. However, that was not the end of the story.

One move before the time control, Nana forgot (or missed) the intermediate Bxb2 which would have yielded a probably drawn endgame. Harika proved opportunistic enough to find 40. Qe8! After which white’s attack against the black king was overwhelming. Nana gave up her queen for the rook, bishop, and a pawn but her pieces were not coordinated which Harika exploited in few moves after time control.

[Event "FIDE Women's World Championship"] [Site "chess24.com"] [Date "2017.02.20"] [Round "28.4"] [White "Harika, Dronavalli"] [Black "Dzagnidze, Nana"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C07"] [WhiteElo "2539"] [BlackElo "2525"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r5/bp2n1kp/p2q1pp1/3p4/1P1P3P/P2Q1BP1/1B3PK1/4R3 b - - 0 36"] [PlyCount "22"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] [WhiteTeam "India"] [BlackTeam "Georgia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "IND"] [BlackTeamCountry "GEO"] [WhiteClock "0:26:38"] [BlackClock "0:20:07"] {[#]} 36... Rc4 37. Qe2 $2 {This throws away most of white's advantage.} (37. h5 Nf5 38. Bg4 Nxd4 39. Re8 Bb6 40. Bh3 Nc6 41. hxg6 hxg6 42. Rg8+ Kxg8 43. Qxg6+ Kf8 44. Bxf6 {and mate follows}) 37... Nf5 38. Bg4 $1 {white's last resource to play for a win.} Bxd4 39. Bxf5 $2 (39. Bxd4 {was a necessaey inbetween nuance.}) 39... gxf5 $4 {This loses instantly.} (39... Bxb2 40. Bd3 Rc1 41. Qe7+ Qxe7 42. Rxe7+ Kh6 43. Rxb7 Bxa3 44. Rb6 Kg7 45. Bxa6 Rb1 { would have led to a draw.}) 40. Qe8 $1 {due to the awkward position of black's rook and bishop the check on e7 cannot be parried.} Bxb2 41. Re7+ Qxe7 (41... Kh6 42. Qf8+ Kh5 43. Rxh7+ Kg4 44. f3#) 42. Qxe7+ Kg6 43. Qe8+ Kg7 44. Qd7+ Kg6 45. h5+ Kh6 46. Qxd5 Rc2 47. Qb3 (47. Qb3 Rd2 48. Qe3+ {loses the rook.}) 1-0

The “Queen of Tiebreaks” scored her first victory in this tournament! ChessBase India was quick to support their hero.

But we all know this is not the end for Nana. She has proven to be resourceful when needed!

Stefanova played a good game until she forgot about her position's limitations. And this is what I referred to in my headline.

Stefanova and Muzychuk played an off-beat line of the very popular Breyer defense in Spanish. It seemed that Muzychuk had the upper hand but a couple of inaccuracies and over-optimistic moves gave Stefanova a comfortable position and more time on the clock. She only needed to parry a couple of threat to leave Muzychuk with difficult decisions to make. However, Stefanova forgot her limits and ended up going for an unsound tactical adventure with 32. …. Nxh3?!, after spending most of her remaining time. Muzychuk kept her cool and found the difficult 33.Kf1! and gradually out-calculated Stefanova to win an important game. She now sits on 6.5/7—a fantastic run!

[Event "FIDE Women's World Championship"] [Site "chess24.com"] [Date "2017.02.20"] [Round "28.2"] [White "Muzychuk, Anna"] [Black "Stefanova, Antoaneta"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C95"] [WhiteElo "2558"] [BlackElo "2512"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] [WhiteTeam "Ukraine"] [BlackTeam "Bulgaria"] [WhiteTeamCountry "UKR"] [BlackTeamCountry "BUL"] [WhiteClock "0:01:42"] [BlackClock "0:00:40"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 Re8 13. Nf1 Bf8 14. Bg5 h6 15. Bh4 Qc8 16. dxe5 dxe5 17. N3d2 Nh7 18. Ne3 Nc5 19. Nd5 a5 20. a4 bxa4 21. Bxa4 Nxa4 22. Qxa4 Re6 23. Nc4 Bc6 24. Qd1 a4 25. Bg3 f6 26. b4 axb3 27. Rxa8 Bxa8 28. Qxb3 Ng5 29. Ra1 Bxd5 30. exd5 Re8 31. Ra7 Bc5 32. Rb7 Nxh3+ $2 {A bad practical decision. Instead of simplifying matters for herself and leaving complications to Anna, Stefanova starts a series of complex combinations that only takes down herself.} (32... Kh8 $1 {was a strong prophylatic move that would have caused a lot of headache to Anna.} 33. Qb5 Rg8 $1 (33... Ne4 34. Rxc7 Qxc7 35. Qxe8+ Kh7 36. Kh2 Bxf2 37. Bxf2 Qxc4 38. Qc6 $1 Qe2 39. Bb6 Qd2 40. Qe6 $1 Qf4+ (40... Nxc3 41. Qf5+) 41. Kg1 Nxc3 42. d6 Ne2+ 43. Kh1 Qf1+ 44. Kh2 Qxg2+ 45. Kxg2 Nf4+ 46. Kf3 Nxe6 47. d7 Kg6 48. d8=Q Nxd8 49. Bxd8 f5 50. h4 Kh5 51. Be7 f4 52. Bd8 g5 53. hxg5 hxg5 54. Bc7 g4+ 55. Ke4 $11)) 33. Kf1 Nf4 $2 (33... Kh8 {Was still necessary}) 34. d6 $1 {The attack along a2-g8 diagonal is devastating. Anna kept her composure and delivered the victory comfortably.} Qe6 35. dxc7 Nd5 36. Qb5 Bf8 37. Nb6 Nxb6 38. Rxb6 Qg4 39. f3 1-0

Watch and Download to your ChessBase, all the games from Round 04:

Results for Round 4.1:

Don't miss the ChessBase India report with master analysis by IM Tania Sachdev!


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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