Nalchik Final: Kosteniuk leads 2:1, needs just a draw

by ChessBase
9/16/2008 – The third game of the Women's World Championship Final was a tough, 72-move draw. That left the Russian GM Alexandra Kosteniuk in the lead with 2:1 points. On Wednesday the 14-year-old Chinese has to win with black in the last game to force a tiebreak. Kosteniuk can pick up the title with a draw. The game starts at 15:00h local time (GMT +3). You can watch it on the Playchess server.

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The Women's World Championship 2008 is taking place from August 28th to September 18th in Nalchik, in the Kabardino-Balkaria region of Russia. 64 players were eligible to play in the knock-out event, which has a prize fund of US $450,000. Due to the tensions in the region the Georgian players and a few others decided not to participate.

Round six report

Results of round six

Nat. Name Rtng
RUS Kosteniuk, Alexsandra 2510
CHN Hou, Yifan 2557

Alexandra Kosteniuk before the start of game three of the Final

Yifan checks her silver pot, which contains "preserved Chinese dates", not nuts and raisins, as we previously claimed. The Chinese girl is never without a her pot and a supply of dates.

The media interest has grown as this event progressed

Alexandra ponders her twelfth move

All photos by Ilya Akhobekov for FIDE

Hou Yifan (2557) - Kosteniuk,A (2510) [C88]
WCh-Women Nalchik RUS (6.3), 16.09.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxe5 Nd4 12.Nd2 Re8 13.c3 Nxb3 14.Nxb3 c5 15.Qh5 g6 16.Qf3 f6 17.Nxg6 hxg6 18.c4 Qd7 19.cxd5 Bxd5 20.Qg3 g5 21.Be3 Rac8 22.Qg4 Qxg4 23.hxg4 Bd6 24.Rec1 Kf7 25.Nd2 Be5 26.Rc2 Be6 27.Ne4

27...Bxg4 is tempting, but Alexandra Kosteniuk goes for an aggressive push that gives her the intitative: 27...c4 28.dxc4 Rxc4 29.Rxc4 bxc4 30.Rd1 Rb8 31.b3 cxb3 32.axb3 Rxb3. The material is now equal, but Black has a well located bishop pair and a distant passed pawn. 33.Bd4 Bxg4 34.f3 Bxd4+ 35.Rxd4 Be6. And now Kosteniuk is a pawn up to boot. 36.Rd6 a5 37.Nc5 Rb1+ 38.Kf2 Bf5 39.Ra6 Rb5 40.Ne4 Bxe4 41.fxe4

The first chapter of the marathon rook ending can begin. 41...Rb2+ 42.Kf3 Ra2 43.Kg3 a4 44.Kf3 a3 45.Kg3 Ra1 46.Kh2 a2 47.Kg3 Ke7 48.Kh2 Kd7 49.Kg3 Kc7 50.Kh2 Kb7 51.Ra3 Kb6 52.Ra8 Kb5 53.Rb8+ Kc4 54.Ra8 Kd4 55.Ra4+ Kd3 56.Kg3 Ke3 57.Kh2 Kf4

White is in big trouble. Rook moves on the a-file give up the e-pawn; the white king cannot move (58.Kh3 Rh1#); and the move 58.g3+ loses, e.g. 58...Ke3 59.Kg2 Rd1 60.Rxa2 Rd2+ 61.Rxd2 Kxd2 62.Kf2 g4 63.Kg2 Ke3–+. Hou Yifan acts cleverly: 58.e5+ Kxe5 59.g4 Kd5 60.Kg2 Kc5 61.Ra8 Kb4 62.Ra6 Kc4 63.Ra3 Kd4 64.Ra6 Ke5 65.Ra4 Ke6 66.Ra8 Ke5 67.Ra4

Black is making no progress, Alexandra Kosteniuk decides to try something else: 67...Re1 68.Rxa2 Kf4 69.Rf2+ Kxg4 70.Rxf6 Re2+ 71.Kg1 Kg3 72.Rf1. But this position cannot be won, Draw. Well played by Kosteniuk, well defended by Hou.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is a fateful day in Nalchik. 14-year-old Hou Yifan has black and must win her game to force a tiebreak. Alexandra Kosteniuk only needs to draw with the white pieces. In her current form this should be a given, but one never knows. Hou is an aggressive, imaginative player who has pulled off surprise victories before. You can watch the key game on Playchess (instructions at the bottom of the page). It starts at 15:00h local time, which is GMT +3, which translates to 13:00h CEST (Paris, Berlin); 12:00h London; 7 a.m. New York. Don't miss it – see you on the server!

Edible chess from «Zhako»: the confectionary is producing hand-made chess pieces of chocolate, containing fondant cream or liqueur – you do not know in advance which – and which are the right size and weight for a game of chess. They are coverend with a special confectionary lacquer to prevent them from melting in hands of especially nervous chess players. Several of the chocolate sets will be given to the participants of the women's World Championship. One more thing: the board supplied with the set is also a confectionary and edible.

Video reports by FIDE


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