Mikhalchishin: how to beat a World Champion

6/15/2012 – He has a daunting task: GM Adrian Mikhalchishin coaches WGM Betul Cemre Yildiz, bottom seed at the Women's Grand Prix in Kazan. In round two she faced the reigning women's world champion Hou Yifan, rated almost three hundred points above her, with the black pieces. But Betül managed to trick her Chinese opponent and pull off her first win against her. Mikhalchishin tells us how.

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From June 9 to 23, 2012 Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, will play host to the FIDE Women's Grand Prix, part of a series of elite events organised by FIDE and Global Chess. There will be six tournaments over two years in various countries around the world. The winner of each tournament takes home 6,500 Euros, the total prize fund is 40,000 Euros. The overall winner will get a further 15,000 Euros at the end of the series. Starting time of the games is 15:00h (check your local time here).

Looking back: Hou Yifan vs Betül Yildiz in round two

Analysis by Betül Yildiz trainer GM Adrian Mikhalchishin

How to challenge the world champion? We looked at this problem eight month ago, as during the Shenzen Grand Prix my pupil, Turkish WGM Betül Yildiz, managed to draw against World Champion Hou Yifan. Despite having 300 rating points less, she twice had excellent chances to win this game. Now in Kazan came the next game against the Women's World Champion, and once more Betül had black.

So what to do? We evaluated that in Shenzen Hou had prepared to play match against Koneru and had tried to hide her preparation, avoiding the Ruy Lopez. Here in Kazan there was no reasons to skip Spanish, so the question was what what to play. We decided that she will try to prepare main line of the Arkhangelsk, which they played two years ago. Betül got a good position at the time, but lost later in the game.

In such a situation it is important to prepare something new. We decided on the Malaniuk-Onishchuk version of Arkhangelsk. But the most important part was the psychological preparation: the motto was don't go into slightly worse positions, the World Champion has a fantastic technique. Try to challenge her from the start. If there is sharp play, it will be your chance! Better to die like a hero, and not like a mouse in a slightly inferior endgame. We have nothing to lose! Russians and Turks never run away from the battlefield!

[Event "FIDE Women GP Kazan 2012"] [Site "Kazan, RUS"] [Date "2012.06.11"] [Round "2"] [White "Yifan, Hou"] [Black "Yildiz, Betul Cemre"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C78"] [WhiteElo "2623"] [BlackElo "2333"] [Annotator "Mikhalchishin"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Bc5 {This is Malaniuk's move order!} 6. c3 ({When Hou was less experienced she played simply and successfully} 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 h6 9. h3 O-O 10. Be3 Bxe3 11. fxe3 d5 12. exd5 Nxd5 13. Qe2 Be6 14. Nbd2 Re8 15. Rae1 Nb6 16. Bxe6 Rxe6 17. Ne4 Qd5 18. Nh4 Ne7 19. Qg4 Nd7 20. Rf3 Rf8 21. Ref1 g6 22. R3f2 Qc6 23. Kh1 Qb6 24. Ng3 Nf6 25. Qf3 Nh7 26. d4 Rf6 27. Qe4 Rxf2 28. Rxf2 Qe6 29. dxe5 Ng5 30. Qf4 Rd8 31. Nf3 Nxf3 32. Rxf3 g5 33. Qe4 Ng6 34. Rf6 Qd5 35. Rxg6+ fxg6 36. Qxg6+ Kh8 37. Qxh6+ Kg8 38. Qg6+ Kh8 39. Qf6+ Kh7 40. Nf5 {1-0 Hou,Y (2488)-Kosintseva,T (2479)/Ergun 2006/}) ({Black has to be ready for the classical line, which has not appeared in tournament practice for some years.} 6. Nxe5 Nxe5 7. d4 Nxe4 8. Qe2 Be7 9. Qxe4 Ng6 10. f4 O-O 11. f5 d5 12. Qd3 Nh4 13. g3 c5 14. gxh4 b5) 6... b5 7. Bc2 ({Memories of the other move are not rosy here:} 7. Bb3 d6 8. d4 Bb6 9. a4 Bg4 10. h3 Bh5 11. Bg5 Rb8 (11... Ne7 12. Nbd2 exd4 13. cxd4 c6 14. axb5 axb5 15. Rxa8 Qxa8 16. Qc2 Bg6 17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. Qb1 O-O 19. Bc2 Qa7 {1-0 Hou,Y (2578)-Tania,S (2425)/ Beijing 2008/CBM 126 Extra}) 12. axb5 axb5 13. Nbd2 exd4 14. Bd5 Ne5 15. cxd4 Nxf3+ 16. Nxf3 Bxf3 17. Bc6+ Kf8 18. gxf3 h6 19. Be3 Nh5 20. f4 g6 21. Qf3 b4 22. Kh1 Kg7 23. Rg1 Kh7 24. f5 Qf6 25. Bd5 Rhf8 26. Qg4 Ng7 27. fxg6+ fxg6 28. f4 Rbe8 29. Qg2 Ne6 30. e5 dxe5 31. dxe5 Qf7 32. Be4 Rg8 33. Bxb6 Nxf4 34. Qg4 Rxe5 35. Bc2 cxb6 36. Rad1 Qb7+ 37. Kh2 Re2+ 38. Kg3 Nh5+ 39. Qxh5 Rxc2 40. Qb5 Qc7+ 41. Kg4 Rc4+ 42. Kf3 Qf4+ 43. Ke2 Qe4+ 44. Kf2 Rf8+ 45. Kg3 Qf3+ 46. Kh2 Rc2+ {0-1 Hou,Y (2578)-Stefanova,A (2548)/Beijing 2008/CBM 126 Extra}) 7... d5 8. exd5 ({The main moves tried by Hou Yifan here were the following:} 8. d4 dxe4 9. dxc5 (9. Nxe5 Nxe5 10. dxe5 Qxd1 11. Rxd1 Ng4 12. Bxe4 Nxf2 13. Bc6+ Ke7 14. Rd5 Bb6 15. Bxa8 Nd3+ 16. Kf1 Nxc1 17. Na3 Be6 18. Rxc1 Rxa8 19. Rd3 Bf5 {This position with forced exchange sacrifice guarantees Black a very comfortable endgame.} 20. Rdd1 Be3 $5 $146 (20... Bg4) 21. Ra1 Bf4 22. g3 Bxe5 23. Rd2 Rd8 24. Ke1 h5 25. Nc2 Bxc2 26. Rxc2 h4 $44 {Zhang,Z (2636)-Onischuk,A (2627)/Beijing 79/(314) 2000}) (9. dxe5 exf3 10. Qxd8+ Nxd8 11. exf6 gxf6 12. Re1+ Be7 13. g3 Bb7 14. Nd2 Ne6 15. Bd1 O-O-O 16. Bxf3 Bxf3 17. Nxf3 Rd5 18. Be3 Rhd8 19. Kf1 Kb7 20. Rac1 Bc5 21. Bxc5 Nxc5 22. Rc2 Ne6 23. Rce2 a5 24. Rc2 {1/2 Hracek,Z (2593)-Onischuk,A (2650)/Turin ITA 2006/The Week in Chess 604}) 9... Qxd1 10. Bxd1 exf3 11. Bxf3 e4 12. Be2 Bg4 {We have to say,that endgames here are very comfortable for Black.} 13. Bxg4 Nxg4 14. a4 O-O 15. axb5 axb5 16. Rxa8 Rxa8 17. Na3 b4 18. Nb5 Ra5 19. c4 Nge5 20. b3 Nd3 21. Be3 f5 22. g3 Ra2 23. Rb1 Nce5 24. Nxc7 Nf3+ 25. Kg2 Nd2 26. Bxd2 Rxd2 27. Nd5 Rxf2+ 28. Kg1 Rd2 29. c6 Ne5 30. c7 Nf3+ 31. Kf1 Nxh2+ 32. Ke1 Nf3+ {1/2 Hou,Y (2298)-Shen,Y (2411)/Wuxi 2006}) 8... Qxd5 9. d4 ({Flank activity now looks a bit odd:} 9. a4 b4 10. d4 exd4 11. Bb3 Qh5 $1 $146 (11... Qd8) 12. cxd4 Be7 (12... Bd6 $5) 13. Ne5 Qxd1 (13... Nxe5 14. Qxh5 Nxh5 15. dxe5 f6 16. Bd5 (16. Bd1 g6 17. Re1) 16... Rb8 17. Bf3 g6 18. Bxh5 gxh5 19. Bf4 $13) 14. Rxd1 Nxe5 15. dxe5 Ng4 $13 {Dominguez,L (2661)-Onischuk,A (2652)/Poikovsky 2005} (15... Ng4 16. Bd5 Rb8 17. Bf4 g5 18. Bg3 h5 19. h3 h4 $13)) 9... exd4 10. Bg5 $6 {Not a good novelty, but normal moves don't offer coconuts here} (10. Re1+ Be7 11. cxd4 ({Better was } 11. Bb3 Qd8 12. Nxd4 (12. cxd4 Bg4 13. Be3 O-O 14. h3 Bh5 15. g4 Bg6 16. Ne5 Na5 17. Bg5 c5 18. dxc5 Bxc5 19. Nc3 Qb6 20. Qf3 Nxb3 21. axb3 Bd4 22. Bxf6 Qxf6 23. Qxf6 gxf6 24. Nc6 Bxc3 25. bxc3 Kg7 {1/2 Nisipeanu,L (2675)-Saric,I (2566)/Budva 2009}) 12... Nxd4 13. Qxd4 O-O 14. Qxd8 Bxd8 15. Bf4 Bb7 16. Nd2 Nd5 {with equal play, Zelcic,R (2545)-Saric,I (2575)/Zadar 2009}) 11... Bg4 12. Nc3 Qh5 13. d5 Bxf3 14. Qxf3 Qxf3 15. gxf3 Nd4 16. Bd1 b4 17. Be3 Nf5 18. Ba4+ Kf8 19. Bc6 Rd8 {with better play, Fernandez,D (2299)-Malaniuk,V (2582)/ Parramatta 2010}) 10... Bg4 $6 ({The following promised a clear advantage here: } 10... Be6 11. a4 b4 12. Qe2 dxc3 13. Bxf6 gxf6 14. bxc3 Rd8 15. Be4 Qd6 16. Qxa6 Nd4) 11. Bxf6 $6 ({This provides some advantage:} 11. Re1+ Kf8 12. Bxf6 gxf6 13. Be4 Qd6 14. Qc1 f5 15. cxd4 fxe4 16. dxc5 Qg6 17. Nh4 Qf6) 11... Bxf3 12. Re1+ Kf8 $2 ({I was correct was to stay in the centre, despite the fact that it will be necessary to start long jorney} 12... Kd7 $1 13. Qxf3 Qxf3 14. gxf3 gxf6 15. Bf5+ Kd6 16. Nd2 dxc3 17. Ne4+ Ke5 18. Ng3+ Kf4 19. Re4+ Kg5 20. Rg4+ Kh6 21. Be4 Ne7 22. Bxa8 cxb2) 13. Bb3 Qe4 $3 ({Very bad was} 13... Qd6 14. Qxf3 gxf6 15. Qh5) 14. Bxg7+ $2 ({The World Champion was so shocked by Betül's last move that she did not worry about slightly better endgame} 14. Rxe4 Bxd1 15. Bxd4 Nxd4 16. Bxd1 Ne6 17. Nd2) 14... Kxg7 15. gxf3 $2 ({Now the better choice was a slightly worse endgame} 15. Rxe4 Bxd1 16. Bxd1 Rhe8 17. Nd2 f5 18. Rxe8 Rxe8) 15... Qf5 16. Nd2 ({Better was} 16. Bc2 Qh3 17. Be4 Rad8) 16... dxc3 17. bxc3 Rad8 ({It was better to create safe haven on h8 for her own king} 17... Rhd8) 18. Kh1 Qf4 {There were two other winning lines here} ( 18... Bxf2 19. Re2 Bb6) (18... Bd6 19. Qe2 Bxh2 20. Kxh2 Qf4+ 21. Kg2 Rxd2) 19. Re4 {White's chance is just to try to bluff here} Qxd2 20. Qg1+ Kf8 21. Qg4 Qd6 $2 {It worked! Here two moves were winning} (21... Qxc3 22. Rg1 Qf6 23. Rf4 h5 24. Qg3 Bxf2 25. Rxf6 Bxg3 26. Rxf7+ Ke8 27. hxg3 Rd7) (21... Bxf2 22. Bxf7 Qxc3 23. Rg1 Qf6 24. Rf4 Ne5) 22. Qh5 $6 ({Now the correct winning attack was} 22. Qf5 Rd7 23. Re6) 22... Rd7 23. Rae1 $2 ({Still promising was} 23. Rd1 Qxd1+ 24. Bxd1 Rxd1+ 25. Kg2 Rg8+ 26. Kh3 Rd6 27. Qxc5) 23... Bxf2 24. Rd1 ({White had to fight for draw} 24. Re8+ Kg7 25. Rxh8 Qg6 26. Qxg6+ hxg6 27. Ree8 a5) 24... Qg6 {Good enough, but a bit more precise was} (24... Rg8) 25. Qxg6 Rxd1+ 26. Bxd1 hxg6 {The World Champion was in such shock that she played ten moves a piece down! In the old days when games were adjourned after 40 moves, there were a few top grandmasters who never resigned before resuming the game, even if they were a queen down! Some said that the opponent might have an accicdent and not survive the night. There is a famous case: the game Aronin -Smyslov, USR Ch 1951, was adjourned in a completely winning endgame for Aronin, who would win a medal in the Soviet Championship and qualify for Interzonal. He and his friend celebrated the victory so hard (in the famous Soviet style reastaurant Praga) that in the morning he fell into a fantastic Smyslovs trap and destroyed his entire chess career! But the main reason to not resign in a lost position was given by Yugoslav GM Milan Matulovic: he did not want to see his loss in the morning newspapers! Generally he never appeared on the next day, not even to check whether his opponent was alive.} 27. Bb3 Bc5 28. Kg2 Bd6 29. h3 Rh5 30. a4 Re5 31. Rh4 Re2+ 32. Kf1 Re3 33. axb5 axb5 34. Bd5 Ne7 0-1

So bravery always wins! But it is not easy for chessplayers to get in such a state of mind. I remember the second match Karpov-Kasparov in Moscow 1985, where I was Karpovs second. We stayed in the beatiful dacha of the famous Soviet World War Two Marshall Ivan Konev, all the seconds: the great Efim Geller, Igor Zaitsev, Valery Salov, Sergei Makarychev, Victor Zheliandinov and me. One hour before the game Tolya had a 15-minute session with his psychologist, a man from Odessa, very nice - made a fantastic fish soup! He started his preparation, and we heard him say, on the other side of the wall: Kill him! Destroy him! Force him to his knees! We almost died laughing. Geller used to say if the world heavyweight boxing champion would appear at this moment ,Tolya would cut him to pieces! But in reality psychological preparation is one of the duties of trainers and seconds, who know the weak sides of own pupils. It is a difficult task and does not work every time. But when it does work it is the Everest of the trainer's achievment! Yes, beating a World Champion is just that!

Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich and Rashit Shiriyazdanov, with kind permission of FIDE

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