Second China Women's Master won by GM Zhao Xue

4/21/2012 – China has long invested in women's chess like few countries, and the Second Women's Master tournament is but a continuation of this legacy. Though it lacked Hou Yifan, China's best female players all competed to shine. In a continuation of her superb form these last twelve months, GM Zhao Xue took clear first in spite of a loss, with Georgian Bela Khotenashvili in second. Final report.

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Second China Women Chess Masters Tournament

The Second China Women Chess Masters Tournament takes place from 9th April to 19th April 2012 in Wuxi, Jiangsu, China. This is a nine-round event. The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and 30 minutes for rest, with an addition of 30 seconds per move starting from move one. 15th April 2012 is a free day. The total prizefund is: 215,000 Yuan (US$ 34 thousand), winner: 60,000 Yuan (US$ 9500); 2nd 40,000 Yuan (US$ 6350); 3rd 20,000 Yuan (US$ 3150); etc.

GM Zhao Xue continuing to show her great form

GM Zhao Xue added yet another feather to her cap by finally taking the Second Women Masters tournament. Both she and Ju Wenjun have been fighting for China's second best (after Hou Yifan) and have been alternating this honor for the last year or so. Either way, it means China will have at least two players in the 2550 range come the Olympiads ensuring a tough fight.

In second came WGM Bela Khotenashvili, who executed an very long line to perfection in the following game.

[Event "2nd Women Masters"] [Site "Jiangsu Wuxi CHN"] [Date "2012.04.16"] [Round "6"] [White "Khotenashvili, Bela"] [Black "Tan, Zhongyi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A14"] [WhiteElo "2490"] [BlackElo "2438"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2012.04.10"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. b3 O-O 6. Bb2 c5 7. O-O Nc6 8. e3 b6 9. Nc3 Bb7 10. cxd5 Nxd5 11. Nxd5 Qxd5 12. d4 Rad8 13. Ne5 Qd6 14. dxc5 {This is going to set the stage for an extremely long combination.} Qxc5 15. Nd7 { This might seem simple enough, but once the queen gets out of the way, that knight is under an intimidating pin. Has White bitten off to much to chew?} Qf5 (15... Qb5 {loses the exchange after} 16. Qg4) ({The line after} 15... Qg5 16. h4 Qh6 {might seem to avoid the Bc1 in the game, but has other problems.} 17. Rc1 Na5 18. Rc7 {Not only is the knight safe now, but the rook penetration is deadly.}) 16. e4 Qg5 17. h4 Qh6 18. Bc1 g5 (18... Qg6 $4 19. h5 {and the queen has nowhere to go.}) 19. hxg5 Qg7 {The Georgian player had to have seen up to here to not be stuck in a dead end street.} 20. e5 $1 {Black's position is actually getting uncomfortable.} Nb8 (20... Nxe5 $6 21. Bb2 Bxg5 22. Bxe5 f6 23. Nxf8 Rxd1 24. Rfxd1 Qxf8 25. Bxb7 Qe7 26. Bc6 fxe5 $16 {and this position favors White's rooks and light bishop due to the open lines, Black's weakened pawns, and above all exposed king.}) 21. Nf6+ Bxf6 22. exf6 Rxd1 {Another crossroad and decision. Should White take the queen on g7 or take the rook and bishop on b7?} 23. Rxd1 $3 {Bela says rook and bishop and it is hard to dispute.} Qg6 24. Bxb7 {Consider the situation. Black's rook and knight are having trouble leaving home, while White's rooks and bishops are cutting through the position every which way, not to mention the very unpleasant pawns on f6 and g5. White is probably winning here.} Qf5 {White has a deadly bind, and Black's knight and rook are hampered. The Georgian player found a perfect way to tie up Black for good and make it easy.} 25. Ba3 $1 Re8 26. Be7 { Black's knight and rook are now stuck where they are and the f6 pawn ensures deadly attacking possibilities.} Qxg5 27. Rd3 h5 28. Rad1 Qe5 29. Rd8 $2 {A mistake as there was no need to unlock the cage. White could have continued to use her rooks and attack or force a zugzwang.} ({After} 29. Rd4 $1 {Black will run out of means to protect the king without dropping material elsewhere.} a5 30. Kg2 {followed by Rh4 and Rdh1.}) 29... Rxd8 30. Rxd8+ Kh7 31. Bd6 Qd4 32. Kg2 h4 33. gxh4 Qxf6 34. Be4+ Kh6 35. Rxb8 e5 36. Bf8+ Kh5 37. Bb4 Kxh4 38. Rg8 Qf4 39. Be7+ f6 40. Bf3 Qf5 41. Rh8+ 1-0

In third was Elo-favorite Ju Wenjun.

Final standings

Photos by Zhang Xiaolu, Fan Lulu, and Nie Feng


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