Nalchik Final: Kosteniuk leads, miracle save by Hou

by ChessBase
9/15/2008 – In the first of the four-game final of the Women's World Championship Russian GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, playing with the black pieces, scored a very convincing victory over her Chinese opponent. In the second game Kosteniuk had four pawns against Hou's one in a rook ending, but the 14-year-old was able to pull off a miracle save. The score is now 1.5:0.5 for Kosteniuk. Report from Nalchik.

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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

Waiting for the opponent: Alexandra Kosteniuk in a good mood

The handshake before the beginning of game one

Media interest for the Women's World Championship in Nalchik

A disappointing start for the Chinese wonder-girl

Hou Yifan (2557) - Kosteniuk,A (2510) [C90]
WCh-Women Nalchik RUS (6.1), 14.09.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a3 d6 9.c3 Bg4 10.d3 Na5 11.Bc2 c5 12.h3 Bd7 13.d4 Qc7 14.d5 c4 15.Nbd2 Nb7 16.Nf1 Nc5 17.g4 h5 18.N3h2 hxg4 19.hxg4 Qc8 20.f3 Nh7 21.Ng3 Bg5 22.Nf5 Qd8 23.Kg2 g6 24.Ng3 Kg7 25.Rh1 Rh8 26.Nhf1 Qf6 27.Be3 Bxe3 28.Nxe3 Ng5 29.Qe2 Rag8 30.Raf1 Qf4 31.Rxh8 Rxh8 32.Rh1 Rxh1 33.Nxh1 Nd3 34.Bxd3 cxd3 35.Qf2 d2 36.Ng3 Nxf3 37.Qxf3 Bxg4 38.Qf2 d1Q 39.Nxd1 Bxd1 40.Qe1 Bf3+ 41.Kg1 f5 42.exf5 gxf5 43.Qf2 Kg6 44.b3 e4 45.c4 bxc4 46.bxc4 Qg5 47.c5 f4 48.cxd6 fxg3 0-1.

Game two

The start of game two, with unabated media interest

The Russian GM was close to a second, decisive win

14-year-old Hou Yifan with her trademark barrettes

Kosteniuk,A (2510) - Hou Yifan (2557) [C07]
WCh-Women Nalchik RUS (6.2), 15.09.2008
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 cxd4 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.Qe2 Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Bg5 Qb4+ 10.Bd2 Qb6 11.0-0-0 Bd7 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bh4 Bc5 14.Kb1 0-0-0 15.Bg3 Nh5 16.Be5 f6 17.Nxc5 Qxc5 18.Bxd4 Nxd4 19.Rxd4 e5 20.Rd5 Qc7 21.g3 g5 22.Rhd1 Ng7 23.Nd2 Bc6 24.Rd3 Rxd3 25.Bxd3 f5 26.f3 Re8 27.Re1 h5 28.Qe3 g4 29.fxg4 e4 30.Be2 hxg4 31.Qxa7 b6 32.Qa3 Rd8 33.Qb4 Ne6 34.Nc4 b5 35.Ne3 Nd4 36.c4

36...Qd6?! A pawn down and under tremendous pressure the Chinese girl decides to exchange queens. 37.Qxd6 Rxd6 38.cxb5

Now she exchanges a pair of pieces: 38...Nxe2 39.bxc6? Surely 39.Nxf5 was stronger. 39...Nd4 40.Rf1 Kc7 41.Nxf5 Nxf5 42.Rxf5 Kxc6

Now it is a rook ending in which Black has one asset: a dangerous passed pawn on the fourth rank. 43.Re5 Rd4 44.Kc1 Kd6 45.Re8 Kd7 46.Rf8 Ke6 47.Rf4 Ke5 48.Rxg4

Now White is three pawns up, but the black pawn has become more dangerous. Actually according to our chess engines the position is already a draw. Hou Yifan plays it perfectly: 48...Rd8 49.Rg5+ Kf6 50.Rc5 e3 51.Rc2 Kf5 52.a4 Ke4 53.Rc4+ Kd3

It is over – draw secured. White has to repeat or risk actually losing the game. 54.Rc3+ Ke4 55.Rc4+ Kd3 56.Rc3+ Ke4 57.Rc4+ Kd3 draw.

It's got to be those barrettes bringing her luck: Hou Yifan during a remarkable game

All photos by Eugene Atarov for FIDE

Video reports by FIDE


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