Tehran WWCh Rd2 G1: Even distribution on Valentine's Day

by Elshan Moradiabadi
2/15/2017 – Nothing would please men more, at least the romantic at heart, than to be able to mold the world into the stuff of dreams for their sweethearts on Valentine’s Day. Sadly, chess can be a heartless cad, even on Valentine’s Day. It was a perfectly balanced day with half the matches starting in draws and the other half in decisive games, but the actual battles over the board were hardly so equanimous. Enjoy this illustrated report with GM analysis.

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All photos by David Llada

After a nerve-wrecking tiebreak chock full of dramas and upsets, the second round saw the results split between peaceful and decisive for eight games apiece. Of those eight games four were won by black and the other four by white. There was a lot of ado and action as usual in this round, with plenty of intriguing instances.

After a breathtaking marathon that she took on tiebreak, Anastasia Bodnaruk went down with white at the hands of...

... Olga Girya who won her first game in her debut.

Guramishvili definitely had Caissa on her side since her young opponent Nataliya Buksa blundered back-to-back after a near to perfect demonstration which had paralyzed Guramishvili’s position of the white side. 

Sopiko Guramishvili should have had a dream-like Valentine. This is her first Valentine as a mother so what could be sweeter than love from everywhere? In this case that mean a gift that fell from the sky that transformed a lost position into a win!

Guramishvili vs Buksa

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.13"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Guramishvili, S."] [Black "Buksa, N."] [Result "1-0"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3r2k1/1b3ppp/1n1P1q2/p1p1r3/P1p1P2P/1pN1b1P1/1P4BN/RQ1R2K1 w - - 0 30"] [PlyCount "37"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] {After a neat performance, the 2015 World Junior champion, Natalia Buksa, starts to go VERY wrong from this moment. [#]} 30. Kh1 Qf2 $2 {This throws away a lot of advantage but it does not through away the winnning chances entirely.} (30... h5 {was my initial blitz reaction.}) 31. Rf1 Qxg3 $2 (31... Qc2 32. Ng4 Qxb1 33. Raxb1 Bd4 34. Nxe5 Bxe5 35. Rf5 Bxc3 36. bxc3 Nxa4 { was still an elementary win.}) 32. Rf3 Qxh4 33. Rxe3 Rxd6 34. Qe1 {White has a piece for four pawns but what happens next is a heart-breaking blunder.} Qh6 35. Rh3 $2 Qd2 $4 {This loses another exchange and gives White a winning position.} (35... Qg6 {and Black is still clearly better.}) 36. Qxd2 Rxd2 37. Nf3 Rxg2 38. Kxg2 Bxe4 39. Kf2 Bxf3 40. Rxf3 Rh5 41. Rd1 g6 42. Rd6 Rh2+ 43. Kg3 Rxb2 44. Rxb6 Rc2 45. Rb8+ Kg7 46. Rb7 h5 47. Rfxf7+ Kg8 48. Ne4 {A heart-breaking loss for Buksa. I hope she manages to have a good fight tomorrow. I also hope to see Sopiko playing good chess like her match against Sara.} 1-0

Another interesting moment was the ex-world champion’s blunder. Zhu Chen, who won comfortably against Irene Sukandar, faced the difficult task of playing the top seed Ju Wenjun. In what I expected to be a close encounter, it was anything but the Third Kind. Zhu Chen blundered as early as move nine! As a result of her blunder, Ju Wenjun’s pieces were all over White’s king and soon after the overwhelming pressure had Zhu Chen signing the scoresheets.

Zhu Chen gave a real gift to Ju Wenjun after blundering early in the opening. However, playing an immensely experienced player like Zhu Chen, Wenjun is not going to think that things are over yet!

Zhu Chen vs Ju Wenjun

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.13"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Zhu, Chen"] [Black "Wenjun, Ju"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E27"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "52"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 O-O 7. cxd5 exd5 8. e3 Nh5 9. g4 $4 {an unbelievable blunder by Zhu Chen!} (9. Qc2 Re8 10. g4 { and only now g4 because the queen on c2 would parry the attack along e1-h4.} Nf4 11. h4 c5 12. Kf2 {with a complex fight!}) 9... Qh4+ 10. Kd2 Ng3 11. Qe1 Nxf1+ {I think this is the move she missed. Now white's king is stuck in the center with a lot of "holes" in light squares around it.} 12. Qxf1 f5 $1 13. gxf5 {sad necessity.} Bxf5 14. c4 c5 $1 {This obviously tears apart White's meager shelter for her king.} 15. Bb2 cxd4 16. Bxd4 Nc6 {The game is over.} 17. Ne2 dxc4 18. Qg2 Bg6 19. Rac1 b5 20. f4 Nxd4 21. Nxd4 Rad8 22. Rhf1 Qf6 23. Qg1 Qa6 24. Rc3 b4 25. axb4 Qa2+ 26. Kd1 Qb1+ 0-1

After getting behind twice, against much lower-rated opponent Mona Khaled, Nana Dzagnidze seemed anything but ready for this championship. However, today she played a very interesting complex idea and manage to confuse her opponent, Olga Zimina from Italy, and scored an important win with black pieces.

The strong Georgian GM Dzagnidze showed determination to get back to her "elements" by beating...

...Olga Zimina who lost thread in the complications and lost her advantage and the game.

Olga Zimina vs Nana Dzagnidze

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.13"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Zimina, O."] [Black "Dzagnidze, Nnana"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A07"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "112"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] {Nana Dzagnidze was back in her element today and managed to outplay Olga Zimina in a complicated game.} 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Bg4 3. Bg2 c6 4. c4 e6 5. O-O Nd7 6. d4 Bd6 7. Qb3 Qb6 8. Nc3 Ngf6 9. c5 Qxb3 10. axb3 Bc7 11. b4 Ne4 12. Re1 Bxf3 $6 (12... Nxc3 13. bxc3 O-O 14. Bf4 Bxf4 15. gxf4 Bxf3 16. Bxf3 a6 { with a bit of advantage for White.}) 13. Bxf3 (13. exf3 $5 Nxc3 (13... Nef6 14. b5 $16) 14. bxc3 O-O 15. Bf1 a6 16. Bd3 Rfe8 17. f4 g6 18. Bd2 {with some advantage for White. This one is better and more lasting.}) 13... f5 14. Bxe4 fxe4 15. b5 a6 16. b4 Kf7 17. bxc6 bxc6 18. Ra4 e5 19. Be3 $6 (19. e3 $1 {[#]}) 19... Nf8 20. b5 Ne6 21. b6 {this is over-optimistic.} (21. bxc6 exd4 22. Bxd4 {was necessary.}) 21... exd4 22. Bxd4 Nxd4 23. Rxd4 Be5 {From here till end of the game, Dzagnidze proved that White's pawn on b6 is not enough compensation for the exchange.} 24. Red1 a5 25. e3 Bxd4 26. exd4 a4 27. Ra1 a3 28. Ra2 Ke6 29. f3 exf3 30. Kf2 Rhf8 31. Nb1 Kd7 32. Nd2 g5 33. h3 h5 34. g4 hxg4 35. hxg4 Ra4 36. Nxf3 Rxd4 37. Rxa3 Rxg4 38. Ke2 Rg2+ 39. Ke1 Re8+ 40. Kf1 Rg4 41. Ra7+ Ke6 42. Rc7 Kf5 43. b7 Rb8 44. Kf2 Rb4 45. Rf7+ Ke4 46. Re7+ Kd3 47. Ne5+ Kc3 48. Nxc6 Rb2+ 49. Kf3 R8xb7 50. Re3+ Kc4 51. Na5+ Kd4 52. Nc6+ Kxc5 53. Ne5 R2b3 54. Nd7+ Kd6 55. Nf6 Rxe3+ 56. Kxe3 Rb4 0-1

Anna Muzychuk , on the other hand, has proven ready and prepared for this championship. Let us have a look at how she dismantled a strong player like Alina Kashilinskaya in only twenty-four moves.

With or without Hijab, I do it. GM Anna Muzychuk in great shape. She definitely had a fun Valentine!

A. Muzychuk vs Kashlinskaya

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.13"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Muzychuk, A."] [Black "Kashlinskaya, A."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C54"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "47"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 {The Giuoco "calm" Piano. I am not sure but it may have come as a surprise to Kashilinskaya since this is not Muzychuk's first choice against 1...e5, as far as I remember.} Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. c3 Ba7 7. Nbd2 O-O 8. h3 {accurate play in my opinion.} (8. Re1 {would have given Black the famous Ng4 idea.} d6 9. Bb3 Ng4 {1/2-1/2 (67) Socko,B (2600)-Banusz, T (2621) Katowice 2016}) 8... d6 9. Bb3 Nh5 {not the most common but this move has proven itself in this opening's theory.} 10. Re1 Nf4 (10... Qf6 11. Nf1 h6 {is more common and well-reputed.} (11... Nf4 {transposes.})) 11. Nf1 Qf6 12. Ng3 {A rare and playable move.} h5 $2 {not the right pawn!} (12... g5 13. d4 exd4 14. h4 gxh4 (14... dxc3 $5) 15. Nf5 Bxf5 16. exf5 Qxf5 17. Nxh4 Qh5 18. Bxf4 Qxh4 19. g3 Qh3 20. Qf3 dxc3 21. bxc3 Qf5 22. Bd5 Ne5 23. Bxe5 Qxf3 24. Bxf3 dxe5 25. Rxe5 Rae8 26. Rg5+ Kh8 27. Bxb7 Rg8 28. Rxg8+ Rxg8 29. Kg2 Rb8 30. Bxa6 Rb2 31. Rf1 Rxa2 32. Bc4 Rc2 33. Bxf7 Rxc3 34. Ra1 Bb6 35. Be6 Rc2 36. Ra2 Rxa2 37. Bxa2 Kg7 38. Bb3 Kf6 39. f4 h6 40. g4 Ba5 41. Ba4 Bb6 42. Bb3 Ba5 43. Ba4 Bb6 {1/2-1/2 (43) Wei,Y (2634)-Naiditsch,A (2705) Danzhou 2014}) (12... Bxh3 $2 13. gxh3 Nxh3+ 14. Kg2 Nxf2 15. Qe2 {and black won't get anywhere.}) 13. d4 h4 {but this is too much. After this move, Muzychuk did not give Black a second chance.} (13... g6 {was necessary.}) 14. Nf5 $1 g6 15. Bxf4 gxf5 16. dxe5 dxe5 17. Bg5 Qg6 18. exf5 Bxf5 19. Qc1 $1 Bd3 20. Nxh4 Qh5 21. Bf6 Kh7 22. Bc2 Bg6 23. Re4 Rae8 24. Nf3 {Flawless performance by current world women rapid and blitz champion.} 1-0

We cannot finish this report without mentioning the most important upset of the round, when Valentina Gunina went down at the hand of one the new Chinese stars, Ni Shiquin.

The hero of the day, Ni Shiqun probably won the most important game of her life!

Gunina vs Ni Shiqun

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.13"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Gunina, V."] [Black "Ni, Shiqun"] [Result "0-1"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1q2r1k1/3n1pp1/2p2n1p/1pP5/1B1PP3/3Q4/6PP/N3R1K1 b - - 0 24"] [PlyCount "38"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] {[#]} 24... Qf4 {Gunina's play was too optimistic and risky up to this point which had caused her this 'headache' before you.} 25. Bd2 Qg4 26. h3 $2 { This loses a pawn and the game is strategically over.} (26. e5 Nd5 27. Nb3 { was necessary. White has to put her knight on a5 to block the file and stay tight. Black's advantage is clear and even may lead to a win but it was the only way to put up a long-term resistance.}) 26... Qg6 27. d5 Nxd5 $1 {Now both c5 and e4 will be falling. The game is over and Shiqun converts her advantage without much of a fuss.} 28. Nb3 N5f6 29. Qd6 Rxe4 30. Rf1 Re6 31. Qc7 Qc2 32. Rf3 Nxc5 33. Nd4 Qxd2 34. Nxe6 Qe1+ 35. Kh2 Qxe6 36. Rc3 Nfe4 37. Rc1 Kh7 38. Rd1 b4 39. Rd8 b3 40. Qb8 Nd7 41. Qb7 Qe5+ 42. Kg1 b2 43. Rg8 0-1
Round 2 Game 1
Zhu, Chen
Ju Wenjun
Muzychuk Anna
Kashlinskaya Alina
Gaponenko Inna
Kosteniuk Alexandra
Harika Dronavalli
Saduakassova, Dinara
Zimina Olga
Dzagnidze, Nana
Gunina Valentina
Ni Shiqun
Melia Salome
Stefanova Antoaneta
Zhao Xue
Padmini, Rout
Ushenina, Anna
Tan Zhongyi
Batsiashvili Nino
Khurtsidze Nino
Huang Qian
Pogonina Natalija
Shen Yang
Savina Anastasia
Guramishvili Sopiko
Buksa Nataliya
Paehtz Elisabeth
Cramling Pia
Pham, Le Thao Nguyen
Goryachkina Aleksandra
Bodnaruk Anastasia
Girya Olga

Read the ChessBase India report.


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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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