Tehran WWCh Rd1 TB: Draws are not enough!

by Elshan Moradiabadi
2/14/2017 – With eleven mini-matches reaching tie-breaks, players started the first tie-break in a hair-raising fashion. The most notable characteristic of these tie-break games was the uncompromising approach of the players in every match. The most dramatic incident was the host’s disappointment when they saw both of their local players lose their respective matches. Here is the report on the tiebreaks with a detailed look at the matches and games.

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All photos by David Llada

While Sopiko Guramishvili was simply better than Sara Khadem today, Mitra Hejazipour lost a dramatic Armageddon game to Anastasia Bodnaruk when she got flagged in a winning position. Nana Dzagnidze had her back against the wall again when Mona Khaled won the first rapid match but she managed to come back and won the next three games to proceed to the second round.

Several interesting match ups await us in the second round: Seed one Jun Wenjun meets Chinese-Qatari ex-world champion Zhu Chen. The only two western European players: GM Cramling and IM Elisabeth Paehtz will cross swords tomorrow at 3 pm local time. Nino Batsiashvili got her second Georgian Derby against another Nino: Khurtsidze! If Batsiashvili wins and Melia Salome manages to stun the higher-rated ex-world champion Antonaenta Stefanova, then Batsiashvili could conceivably even see a third consecutive match against a fellow Georgian! Hopefully Nino will not protest if this happens!

Hejazipour vs Bodnaruk

Mitra Hejazipour came to this match in great spirits despite her somewhat one-sided loss in the second game of her match against Anastasia Bodnaruk. In the first game, she kept her composure and outplayed her much higher-higher rated opponent in a nice positional game.

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.13"] [Round "1.3"] [White "Hejazipour, Mitra"] [Black "Bodnaruk, Anastasia"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A46"] [WhiteElo "2325"] [BlackElo "2463"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "IRI"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] {A fine positional display by the host's hero.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 b5 $5 {This move indicates that Bodnaruk is playing for a win with black!} 4. Bg5 (4. Bg2 Bb7 5. O-O c5 6. c3 {would have been my choice.}) 4... Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. O-O d6 (7... d5 8. c3 Nbd7 9. Qc2 c5 {0-1 (66) Teske,H (2475) -Lenic,L (2639) Berlin 2015 Was probably a better choice since Black would gain more space in this continuation.}) 8. c3 Nbd7 9. a4 a6 10. axb5 axb5 11. Qb3 c6 12. e4 e5 $6 {This is like a bad version of the Philidor defense when White has the upper hand in development.} (12... h6 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 {would have led to a harmless solid position for Black.}) 13. h3 Qc7 14. Nh4 g6 15. Nhf3 { I am not sure if it is a good provocative move or simply a loss of two tempi. I am inclined to believe the latter.} Kg7 $6 {Odd square for the king.} (15... Rfe8 {[#] would have been my choice with the idea of ...Bf8.}) 16. Rfe1 Nb6 $6 {A decidedly odd square for the knight!} 17. Be3 Nfd7 18. Ng5 (18. h4 h5 19. Ng5 {looks more convincing to me.}) 18... Bxg5 19. Bxg5 Ba6 20. Be3 Nc4 21. Nxc4 bxc4 22. Qc2 Bb5 23. Qd2 Rfd8 24. f4 {White is much better. Hejazipour converted her advantage with ease.} f6 25. Red1 Ba4 26. Rf1 exd4 27. cxd4 Qa5 28. Qf2 Qb5 29. e5 f5 30. g4 Re8 31. gxf5 gxf5 32. d5 c5 33. Bd2 Qxb2 34. Qg3+ Kf8 35. Bc3 Qb7 36. e6 Nb6 37. Qg5 Qe7 38. Bf6 Qb7 39. Qh6+ Kg8 40. Rf3 Bd1 41. Rxd1 1-0

Inches away from making history for the hosts. Mitra Hejazipour has a lot to study after this tournament

However, Bodnaruk proved to be a tough nut to crack. After every setback she rebounded with even more energy and kept the match balanced. The ping-pong between these two warriors led to the final word: the Armageddon game, in which Bodnaruk better understood the essence of the game she had to play. With the white pieces, she started to play extremely fast even at the cost of getting a worse position. Her practical approach paid off as Mitra got flagged in a nearly winning position.

Bodnaruk vs Hejazipour

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.13"] [Round "1"] [White "Bodnaruk, Anastasia"] [Black "Hejazipour, Mitra"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C24"] [WhiteElo "2463"] [BlackElo "2325"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "117"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "IRI"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. O-O d6 6. c3 O-O 7. Bb3 Bg4 8. h3 Bh5 9. Nbd2 Nbd7 10. Re1 Re8 11. Nf1 Bf8 12. Ng3 Bg6 13. Be3 (13. Nh4 {would have given White a solid and long-term edge. However, when one talks about Armageddon, who cares about 'long term'?}) 13... d5 14. Bc2 Bd6 15. Qe2 Qc7 16. Rad1 a5 17. Nh4 Nf8 18. Nhf5 Ne6 19. Nxd6 Qxd6 20. Nf5 Qc7 (20... Bxf5 21. exf5 Nd4 $15) 21. Qf3 Rad8 22. Bb3 Bh5 23. g4 Bg6 24. Bc2 c5 25. Ba4 Rf8 26. Bc1 d4 27. c4 (27. Bb5 $1 $14 {intending to bring the bishop to c4.}) 27... Ne8 28. h4 f6 29. Qg3 Nd6 30. Kh1 Be8 31. Bxe8 Rdxe8 32. Rf1 Nf7 33. Rg1 Nf4 34. Qf3 Nd6 $2 35. Ng3 $2 {Both players are exhausted and nervous.} (35. Bxf4 $16) 35... Nf7 36. Nf5 g6 37. Ng3 Nd8 38. Nf1 Nde6 39. Rg3 Kf7 $1 {A deep concept but this move is horrible from practical stand point. It will take a long time for Black to secure her king and that will cost Black valuable seconds on the clock! Tick-tock!} 40. Nh2 Ke7 41. Nf1 Kd8 42. Re1 Rh8 {Maybe Black should have kept moving her king toward the corner as it is faster to move the pieces near the clock! These are serious considerations in such circumstances!} 43. Kg1 Kc8 44. Qd1 Kb8 45. a3 h5 {Black is winning but in an armageddon game, time is a much more factor than what is actually going on on the board.} 46. g5 fxg5 47. hxg5 h4 48. Rg4 h3 49. Kh2 Qe7 50. Ng3 Ref8 51. Rf1 Nxg5 52. f3 Nfe6 53. b4 axb4 54. axb4 cxb4 55. Bd2 Qf6 56. Qe2 Nxf3+ 57. Kh1 h2 58. Rf2 g5 59. Rf1 {And Bodnaruk flags Mitra, advances to the next round. A bitter loss for Mitra Hejazipour since she was the last Iranian in the cycle, nevertheless, she should be proud of her performance and take this experience as an opportunity for future successes. On the other hand, one must praise Bodnaruk's resourcefulness and fighting spirit as she kept bouncing back after each failure. It will be interesting to see how a somewhat worn out Bodnaruk fares against a fresh Olga Girya.} 1-0

Anastasia Bodnaruk's resilience paid off and she advanced to the next round

Mona Khaled vs Nana Dzagnidze

The out of form Nana Dzagnidze had another bad start today, as after she outplayed Mona Khaled out of opening, the players started to exercise a Persian norm known as Taarof by offering each other a full piece, however, at the end it was Mona who took the piece and went on to win the game.

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.13"] [Round "1.3"] [White "Mona, Khaled"] [Black "Dzagnidze, Nana"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2150"] [BlackElo "2525"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "IRI"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Bf4 c5 4. e3 Nc6 5. c3 Qb6 6. Qb3 c4 7. Qc2 Bf5 8. Qc1 e6 9. h3 Be7 10. Nbd2 Ne4 11. Nxe4 Bxe4 12. Nd2 Bg6 13. Be2 O-O 14. h4 f6 15. h5 Bd3 16. Bxd3 cxd3 17. Nf3 Rfe8 18. O-O Rac8 19. Qd2 Qa6 20. Rfe1 Bf8 21. e4 dxe4 22. Rxe4 Na5 23. Ree1 Nc4 24. Qc1 Qb5 (24... e5 $1 $17) 25. b3 Na3 26. Rd1 Nc2 27. c4 Qxh5 28. Rb1 Qf5 29. Qd2 e5 30. dxe5 fxe5 $2 (30... Rcd8 $1 31. exf6 Re2 $19) 31. Bxe5 Rxe5 32. Nxe5 Qxe5 33. Qxd3 Nb4 34. Qh3 Rc7 35. Rd8 Rf7 36. Rbd1 Qf4 37. R1d2 Nc6 38. R8d7 Rf6 39. Qd3 Kh8 40. Qd5 h6 41. g3 Qb8 {The position is balanced, however, what happens next is a tragicomedy.} 42. Rf7 $4 {This loses a piece by force.} Rd6 $4 {No, the piece} (42... Ne7 {wins a piece for black.}) 43. Rxf8+ Qxf8 44. Qxd6 {Game over!} Qf5 45. Qd3 Qf6 46. Re2 Qf7 47. Qe4 Qf6 48. Qd5 Qg6 49. Re6 Qb1+ 50. Kg2 Kh7 51. Re8 Qc2 52. Qg8+ 1-0

However, when Dzagnidze levelled the match for the second time, she did not give Mona Khaled any chances and won the next two rapid games quite comfortably. If I fail to share a one of Dzagnidze's it is because I have nothing to say considering how one-sided the battles were.

Iranian fans were very happy after Sara Khadem, Iran’s No.1 by far and the host’s greatest hope for a remarkable result, managed to pull out a ‘Karpovian’ style win against Sopiko Guramishvili to equalize the match. However, on tie-break day, it was all about Sopiko as she dominated both games and Sara never got the chance to show a thing. My guess is that the pressure of playing at home and expectations exceeded Sara’s ability to cope with the distractions and she was simply not at her best.

Sopiko Guramishvili, kept her cool and outplayed her opponent. One could not expect such a great performance after a heart-breaking result in Tata Steel. Way to go Sopiko!

Here is one of Sopiko’s fine wins:

Guramishvili vs Khademalsharieh

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.13"] [Round "1"] [White "Guramishvili, Sopiko"] [Black "Khademalsharieh, Sarasadat"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E20"] [WhiteElo "2357"] [BlackElo "2452"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "IRI"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 {This strategy seems to work perfectly ok for Sopiko. She goes after a clear plan for White while Black needs to know her plan well and be prepared for White's direct play.} Nc6 {Keres Idea. Do not miss Kotov-Keres in Budapest Candidate final in 1950.} 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 e5 7. e4 d6 8. Be3 O-O 9. Bd3 b6 10. Ne2 Na5 {White has a great center and pair of bishops while Black plans to take quick advantage of White's queenside weaknesses. One thing is obvious: if Black does not manage to pressure White's weaknesses, White's extra space and kingside attack will prevail.} 11. Ng3 Ne8 $2 {I think Sara mixed up two different ideas here. This move does not make any sense as Black's knight is not going to have any future on e8.} 12. O-O Ba6 13. Qe2 Qd7 14. f4 c5 (14... Qa4 {whether she liked it or not, Sara had to play this move.}) 15. Nf5 exd4 16. cxd4 Nb3 17. Rab1 cxd4 18. Rxb3 dxe3 19. Qxe3 Qc7 20. Kh1 Qc5 21. Qh3 g6 22. Be2 (22. Qh6 {wins on the spot.}) 22... Qc7 23. Nh6+ Kg7 24. f5 Qe7 25. Ng4 Qg5 26. Rg3 Qd2 27. Bd3 Rc8 28. Qh4 Bxc4 29. Bxc4 Rxc4 30. fxg6 h6 31. Ne3 {And White's attack prevailed!} 1-0

World under-20 champion Nataliya Buska beat experienced Hoang Thrang from Hungary to advance to the second round

Things did not go Ekaterina Atalik's way today and she exits Tehran sooner than hoped

Atalik went down at the hand of Melia Salome who will face ex-world champion Antoaneta Stefanova in the next round.

Complete tiebreak results

  Game 1 25'10
SNo. Name Result SNo. Name
4 Harika Dronavalli 1-0 61 Shamima Akter Liza
60 Mona Khaled 1-0 5 Dzagnidze Nana
8 Zhao Xue 1-0 57 Martinez Ayelen
12 Shen Yang 1-0 53 Arribas Robaina Maritza
52 Hoang Thanh Trang 1/2-1/2 13 Buksa Nataliya
49 Hejazipour Mitra 1-0 16 Bodnaruk Anastasia
20 Guramishvili Sopiko 1-0 45 Khademalsharieh Sarasadat
44 Socko Monika 1/2-1/2 21 Savina Anastasia
22 Charochkina Daria 0-1 43 Huang Qian
26 Atalik Ekaterina 0-1 39 Melia Salome
28 Khotenashvili Bela 0-1 37 Zimina Olga
  Game 2 25'10
SNo. Name Result SNo. Name
61 Shamima Akter Liza 1/2-1/2 4 Harika Dronavalli
5 Dzagnidze Nana 1-0 60 Mona Khaled
57 Martinez Ayelen 0-1 8 Zhao Xue
53 Arribas Robaina Maritza 0-1 12 Shen Yang
13 Buksa Nataliya 1-0 52 Hoang Thanh Trang
16 Bodnaruk Anastasia 1-0 49 Hejazipour Mitra
45 Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 0-1 20 Guramishvili Sopiko
21 Savina Anastasia 1-0 44 Socko Monika
43 Huang Qian 1-0 22 Charochkina Daria
39 Melia Salome 1/2-1/2 26 Atalik Ekaterina
37 Zimina Olga 1-0 28 Khotenashvili Bela
  Game 3 10'10
SNo. Name Result SNo. Name
5 Dzagnidze Nana 1-0 60 Mona Khaled
16 Bodnaruk Anastasia 0-1 49 Hejazipour Mitra
  Game 4 10'10
SNo. Name Result SNo. Name
60 Mona Khaled 0-1 5 Dzagnidze Nana
49 Hejazipour Mitra 0-1 16 Bodnaruk Anastasia
  Game 5 5'3
SNo. Name Result SNo. Name
16 Bodnaruk Anastasia 0-1 49 Hejazipour Mitra
  Game 6 5'3
SNo. Name Result SNo. Name
49 Hejazipour Mitra 0-1 16 Bodnaruk Anastasia
  Game 7 5'3
SNo. Name Result SNo. Name
16 Bodnaruk Anastasia 1-0 49 Hejazipour Mitra

Find more master analysis by Nihal Sarin here.


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Elshan Moradiabadi is a GM born and raised in Tehran, Iran. He moved to the US in 2012. Ever since, he has been active in US college chess scenes and in US chess. is a veteran instructor and teaches chess to every level, with students ranging from beginners to IM. He can be contacted for projects or teaching.


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