Taizhou 01: Hou Yifan strikes first

by ChessBase
9/11/2013 – Despite the strong opening that Anna Ushenina used in this game she was unable to convert it into victory. After some inaccuracies the Ukrainian found herself giving away the advantage, but more importantly soon afterwards she underestimated Black's threats on the kingside and was in the receiving end of a swift mating attack. Pictorial report with analysis by WGM Abrahamyan.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.



Women’s World Chess Championship Match 2013 between the current World Champion Anna Ushenina of Ukraine and her challenger, Hou Yifan of China (former World Champion 2010-2012), is being played from September 11th to 27 in the Taizhou Hotel (Taizhou, China). The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one. The games start at 3 p.m. local time. That translates to 09:00 a.m. CEST, 03:00 a.m. New York, 10:00 a.m. Kiev. You can find your local time here.

Round one report

Anna Ushenina managed to get a pleasant advantage with white pieces in the first game of the Women’s World Championship match but spent too much time in the opening and didn’t find a precise way to really squeeze her opponent with the typical Nimzo-Indian bind she was able to obtain. The position turned drastically when Ushenina underestimated the threats that Hou Yifan was piling on the kingside. An interesting rook sortie coupled with the quick advance of the f-pawn suddenly exposed just how few pieces were defending the white king. The game started to turn sour for the Ukrainian after she didn't take advantage of the tactical positioning of her pieces, especially with the strong knight on f5. Instead of 26.Nxe7?! exchanging a strong knight for a somewhat awkward bishop, it seemed that 26.Nxb5 might have put the Chinese contender in trouble.

The stage is set: the World Champion starts with the white pieces, the contender will defend with black

Carol Jarecki, Deputy Arbiter of the event, checks absolutely everyone for electronic devices

The Ukrainian team has their own reserved seats in the spectator area. Here GM Anton Korobov enjoys his space while the rest of the team arrives.

The organizers of the World championship match assume numerous security measures. Hou Yifan and Anna Ushenina play on the stage which is separated from the spectator’s area. The photographers and cameramen have an opportunity to take pictures and record videos next to the stage only for the first 5 minutes of the game. After that the spectator’s area plunges into darkness. 

The opening move for Anna Ushenina was executed by FIDE president Kirsan Ilyuzhimov

With a swift reply by the director of Taizhou sports bureau, Ge Zhizhui

Anna Ushenina was as well prepared as expected. With two strong seconds on site, it seems that the opening battles might be in favor of the Ukrainian player. However this proved to not be enough today. She will have the black pieces tomorrow and it will be interesting to see if she chooses something solid to hold down the fort with black and then attempt to win with White, or if she will try to immediately equalize the score by taking some risks.

Ushenina showed that the lines involving dxc5 in the Nimzo-Indian are still positionally scary for Black

With Black's knight on b7, it seemed unlikely that Yifan's position would be particularly good. However it was this very knight that maneouvered to f3 and checkmated White!

At the press conference after the game Hou Yifan said she was happy to play in Taizhou: ”I have been living in Beijing for the last ten years but it’s always nice to come back to your native city. My friends and relatives came to support me here”. According to Anna Ushenina, the organization is good, but in any case it’s not comfortable to play on the territory of your opponent.

Guest commentator WGM Tatev Abrahamyan gives us her impressions of the game:

[Event "Taizhou WWCCh"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.09.11"] [Round "1"] [White "Ushenina, Anna"] [Black "Hou Yifan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E39"] [WhiteElo "2500"] [BlackElo "2609"] [Annotator "Abrahamyan, Tatev"] [PlyCount "82"] [EventDate "2013.09.11"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 {Anna plays a lot of moves in this position, but e3 seems to be her favorite one as she has the most games in it} O-O 5. Nf3 {the second most common move, but surprisingly Hou Yifan has no games against in the database. Perhaps that's the reason Anna went for this line} c5 6. dxc5 Na6 7. g3 Nxc5 8. Bg2 b6 ({I prefer the more common} 8... Nce4 9. O-O Nxc3 10. bxc3 Be7 11. e4 d6 {giving white double pawns on the open c file}) 9. O-O Bb7 10. Nb5 Be4 11. Qd1 Nb7 {stopping Nd6} (11... a6 {this has been tried twice by Tatiana Kosintseva} 12. Nd6 Bc6 13. Bf4 Nce4 14. Nxe4 Bxe4 15. Bd6 Bxd6 16. Qxd6 Qb8 17. Rfd1 Qb7 {and black should be fine}) 12. a3 Be7 13. Bf4 d6 {a new move in an already rare line. It seems that black doesn't like committing the pawn to d6 early since it's probably easier to defend on d7 with a move like Bc6 and it gives the b7 knight more flexibility to move} 14. Rc1 h6 15. b4 a6 16. Nc3 Bc6 17. Qb3 {White's position is easier to play: she has more space, black's weaknesses on b6 and d6 can become targets and it's not very clear where the b7 knight is going} Rc8 18. Rfd1 Qe8 19. Qb1 (19. Be3 {looks annoying for black}) 19... e5 {permanently weakening d5} 20. Bd2 b5 21. cxb5 axb5 22. e4 Ra8 23. Nh4 {ignoring the pawn on a3 and trying to launch a king side attack. Of course, f5 is a good post for the knight making any sacrifice on h6 deadly, but White will need to rearrange her pieces to transport the queen to the kingside, which will allow black to transfer her pieces as well} ({a simple move like} 23. Qb3 {is just nice for White} Nxe4 $6 24. Nxe4 Bxe4 25. Re1 d5 26. Nxe5 {looks great for her}) 23... Rxa3 24. Nf5 Bd7 25. Be3 (25. Nxb5 $6 Bxb5 26. Rc7 Bd8 27. Rxb7 Bd3 28. Qc1 Qa4 29. Nxd6 Ra2 { gives black a lot of piece activity and initiate for the pawn}) 25... Be6 26. Nxe7+ (26. Nxb5 Qxb5 27. Nxe7+ Kh8 28. Bf1 {followed by Nc6 and pushing the pawn would have now secured White's advantage.}) 26... Qxe7 27. Nd5 Nxd5 28. exd5 {I don't really understand White's last few moves. Not only did she exchange her much better knight for the e7 bishop, but she also got rid of both the d5 and d6 weaknesses with Nd5, justifying the exchange on e7 for Black even more. The knight on b7 is still terrible and White has more space, but I would have prefered keeping things more fluid in the center. Let's not forget that Black is also up a healthy pawn.} Bg4 29. Rd2 f5 30. Rdc2 f4 31. Rc7 Qf6 32. Bb6 Nd8 (32... Nc5 $1 {a liberating move, solving the main problem in black's position. Impossibe is} 33. bxc5 fxg3 34. cxd6 gxf2+ {with a crushing attack}) 33. Qb2 Rd3 34. Qc2 Bf5 35. Qa2 {White self-destructed and doesn't know what to do anymore, which is quite understandable because Black's Nf7-g5-h3 plan seems unstoppable.} Nf7 36. Bf1 Ng5 37. Ra7 (37. Bxd3 Bxd3 { grabbing the exchange loses since after the simple recapture White's king is too vulnerable}) 37... fxg3 38. hxg3 Nf3+ {now it's just over} 39. Kh1 Qg6 40. Bxd3 Qh5+ 41. Kg2 Bh3+ 0-1

Tatev Abrahamyan

Born in 1988 in Yerevan, Armenia, the Women's Grandmaster now lives in Glendale, California and is one of the strongest players in the American women's olympic team.

After graduating in 2011 from California State University, Long Beach with a double major in psychology and political science, Tatev focused on becoming a full time chess professional. She recently scored her second IM norm and is already qualified for the next Women's World Championship

Information and pictures by Anastasiya Karlovich, FIDE Press Officer


Players Rtng
Anna Ushenina 2500
Hou Yifan 2609


10th September Opening Ceremony
11th September Game 1
12th September Game 2
13th September Rest day
14th September Game 3
15th September Game 4
16th September Rest day
17th September Game 5
18th September Game 6
19th September Rest day
20th September Game7
21st September Game 8
22nd September Rest day
23rd September Game 9
24th September Rest day
25th September Game 10
26th September Rest day
27th September Tiebreak Games
28th September Closing Ceremony


The games will be 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 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register