Tehran WWCh Rd2 TB: When the experience matters!

by Elshan Moradiabadi
2/17/2017 – The common theme in the tie-break games of the second round was as follows: the experienced players managed to keep calm, play the board, and with consistent play, they took their chances and scored in the most crucial moments. After all, in such a win-or-die format, one has to have the stomach and gut for such a nerve-wracking job in order to win. In addition, two thrilling Armageddons would tell us enough. decided in overtime. Here is the report with photos and GM analysis.

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All photos by David Llada

With nine out of sixteen matches going into the tie-break zone, it was no wonder that we had a day full of drama! The common theme today was as follows: the experienced players managed to keep calm, play the board, and with consistent play, they took their chances and scored in the most crucial moments. However, on the other hand, many who did not manage to handle their nerves and keep their composure capitulated to the stress. After all, in such a win-or-die format, one has to have the stomach and gut for such a nerve-wracking job in order to win. Speaking of getting the job done, two thrilling Armageddons would tell us enough about the high tension in this tournament.

Is it mate or stalemate?

The most topsy-turvy event of the day was once again among the two lower-rated players, who had managed to upset their opponents in the first round’s tie-breaks. Sopiko Guramishvili and Natalia Buksa had their share of luck in each of their classical games to end up with a point apiece in their encounter. However, when a draw is not going to be enough, things got highly tenacious and dramatic for these ladies. After two draws, Buksa drew first blood with black but Sopiko leveled the match in the most dramatic fashion with the help of her opponent:


After this painful loss, Natalia still managed to draw the next game but succumbed to Sopiko’s attack in the game after that, Thus, her story in Tehran ended here.

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.16"] [Round "2.6"] [White "Buksa, Nataliya"] [Black "Guramishvili, Sopiko"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B09"] [WhiteElo "2302"] [BlackElo "2357"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/5kp1/1R2n2p/8/5B2/5KPr/8 b - - 0 78"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventCountry "IRI"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "600+10"] {[#] Guramishvili had several winning chances in this game and even at some points could finish off Buksa but the nervousness took its toll. This position should be a draw but in time pressure and such a high money at stake, anything can happen. In this case, anything had great consequences for Buksa} 78... Rh1 79. Rb6+ Kg7 80. Re6 Nd3+ 81. Kg3 g5 82. Be4 Nf4 83. Re5 Kh6 $4 {[#] desparately seeking winning chances Guramishvili forgot about her king safety.} 84. Ra5 $4 {returns the favor!} (84. Re7 {would have cost Guramishvili her knight} Ne2+ (84... Ng6 85. Re6) (84... h4+ 85. Kg4 {and mate follows soon}) 85. Kf2 g4 86. Kxe2 $18) 84... Re1 85. Bf3 Re6 86. Rb5 Rf6 87. Rc5 Nd3 88. Ra5 h4+ 89. Kh3 Nf2+ 90. Kh2 g4 91. Bxg4 (91. Kg1 {was easier but this move is good enough too}) 91... Nxg4+ 92. Kh3 Ne3 93. Kxh4 Nxg2+ 94. Kg3 Ne3 95. Rb5 Nf5+ 96. Kg4 Kg6 97. Ra5 Nd6 98. Rd5 Ne4 99. Re5 Nf2+ 100. Kg3 Nd3 101. Ra5 Rf1 102. Kg4 Kf6 103. Kg3 Ne5 104. Ra8 Kg5 105. Ra5 Kf5 106. Rb5 Rf3+ 107. Kg2 Rc3 108. Rb4 {Buksa is already defending in a non-systematic fashion. The easiest path to make a draw is to keep the knight pinned and avoid opposition.} Ng4 109. Ra4 Kg5 110. Ra8 Ne3+ 111. Kf3 Nd5+ 112. Ke4 Nf6+ 113. Kd4 Rc1 114. Ra2 Rd1+ 115. Ke5 Ng4+ 116. Ke4 Re1+ 117. Kf3 Re3+ 118. Kg2 Kh4 119. Ra4 Rc3 120. Ra2 Rb3 121. Ra4 Rd3 122. Ra2 Rg3+ 123. Kf1 Ne3+ 124. Ke1 Rg1+ 125. Kf2 Rg2+ $4 {[#] With her clock ticking Buksa forgets about 'Stalemate'.} 126. Kxe3 $4 ( 126. Ke1 Rxa2 {is a stalemate.}) 126... Rxa2 0-1

The theory does not matter. Immense experience and a great fighting experience — sounds like a recipe for success!

Veteran and living legend Pia Cramling is a true fighter and a role model for chess players. One should not forget that she made it to the semi-final in the last cycle and in this cycle and she is now in top 16 eliminating IM Elizabeth Paehtz. Cramling’s unconventional approach in this match was quite interesting: she chose to play 4…g6?! on the black side of the Catalan and despite having a worse position managed to win the game and the match.

Indians are good at rapids!

Indian champion Padmini Rout is definitely ‘en route’!

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.16"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Zhao, Xue"] [Black "Padmini, Rout"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2505"] [BlackElo "2387"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r4nk1/1p4p1/2pQp1qp/1r2N3/p2P3R/P3R1P1/1P2PPK1/8 b - - 0 35"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventCountry "IRI"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "1500+10"] {Zhao Xue has shown her class so far and got upper hand on the white side of an unconventional Catalan. However, in a rapid game, it is tactical alertness which has the last call! [#]} 35... Qe8 36. Nc4 $4 {This loses an exchange.} ( 36. Rf4 Rd8 37. Rxf8+ Qxf8 38. Qxe6+ Kh7 39. Qg6+ Kg8 40. Rf3 Qd6 41. Qf7+ Kh8 {and black will sacrifice on e5 to keep herself in the game.}) 36... Rd8 $1 { suddenly white's queen does not have anywhere good to go!} 37. Qc7 (37. Qf4 Ng6 ) 37... Rd7 38. Nd6 $2 Qe7 {The game is over.} 39. Qxd7 Qxd7 40. Nxb5 cxb5 41. Rhe4 Qd5 42. Kg1 Qa2 43. d5 Qxd5 44. Rb4 Nd7 45. Rd3 Qc6 46. Rc3 Qd5 47. Rd3 Qc6 48. Rc3 Qb6 49. Rc8+ Kh7 50. Rf4 Nf6 51. e3 e5 52. Rb4 Nd5 53. Rh4 Qe6 54. Rb8 Qc6 55. Rd8 Nf6 56. Rb4 e4 57. Kg2 Qc5 58. Rbd4 Qh5 59. Rd1 Ng4 60. Rh1 Qf5 61. Rd2 Qf3+ 62. Kg1 Ne5 63. Rd5 Nd3 64. Rh2 Qd1+ 65. Kg2 Ne1+ 0-1

Both representatives of India, GM Harika Dronavalli and Padmini Rout won their respective matches with a good show. Padmini specifically is en route to something big in this event, dismantling the much higher-rated Zhao Xue 1.5-0.5. Read more with master analysis here.

The Armageddon!

On the other tables, the experienced ones got the better of their less experienced opponents. Thus, Stefanova and Pogonina made it to the next round while, Melia Salome, Huang Qiang, have to go home.

Antoneta Stefanova

Natalia Pogonina

Kosteniuk managed to outplay Gaponnenko despite the latter’s great performance in this tournament. This leaves us with two nail-biting matches which led to the Armageddons!

Nino Batsiashvili

Khurstsidze and Batsiashvili had a very close match in which the latter had played a little bit better in the entire match. However, every time Batsiashvili went ahead, Khurtsidze managed to pull herself together and keep the match balanced. They went all the way to the Armageddon, in which, Batsiashvili got a winning position on the white side but in an Armageddon, anything can happen!

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.16"] [Round "2.9"] [White "Batsiashvili, Nino"] [Black "Khurtsidze, Nino"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2492"] [BlackElo "2383"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/1pb5/p5p1/5kPp/2NP1p1P/1PP2K2/1P6/8 w - - 0 34"] [PlyCount "40"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventCountry "IRI"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] {Nino Batsiashvili is winning and inches away from advancing to the next round. She somehow manage to improve her position and the moement when Khurtsidze should resign she commits a horrible blunder. [#]} 34. d5 b5 35. Nd2 Ke5 36. c4 Kd4 37. Ne4 bxc4 38. d6 Bd8 39. bxc4 Kxc4 40. d7 a5 41. Nd6+ Kb3 42. Kxf4 a4 43. Ke5 Kxb2 44. Nb5 {less straightforward.} (44. Nb7 Bb6 45. Kd5 a3 46. Kc6 a2 47. Kxb6 a1=Q 48. d8=Q Qg1+ 49. Nc5 {and white is a piece up.}) 44... Kb3 45. Ke6 $4 {tragic!} (45. Kd5 Kb4 46. Nd6 a3 47. Nb7 a2 48. Nxd8 a1=Q 49. Nc6+ { and white is winning.}) 45... Kb4 $1 {The game is drawn!} 46. Nd4 Kc3 $4 (46... Kc4 47. Nc6 Bb6 48. Ne5+ Kd4 49. Nc6+ Kc4 50. Ne5+ Kb5 51. Nd3 a3 52. Nc1 Kc4 53. Na2 Kb3 54. Nc1+ Kb2 55. Nd3+ Kc3 56. Nc1 {is drawn.}) 47. Nc6 $4 (47. Kd5 {wins!} a3 48. Nb5+ Kb4 49. Nxa3 Kxa3 50. Kc6 Kb4 51. Kb7 Kc5 52. Kc8 Be7 53. d8=Q Bxd8 54. Kxd8 {and the pawn ending is won!}) 47... Bc7 48. Ne7 {Now the game is drawn but for Nino draw or loss means the same so she commits the final Kamikaze!} Bd8 49. Nxg6 a3 50. Nf4 a2 51. g6 a1=Q 52. g7 Qa2+ 53. Nd5+ Kd4 {Ke5 Kxe5} 0-1

Anna Ushenina

The other Armageddon game happened between Anna Ushenina and Tan Zhongyi in a game where the tables turned around several times. It was Ushenina who made the final mistake and Let Zhongyi slip out of her hand. Thus, Tan Zhongyi made it to the third round!

Pairings for Round 03

Results of the Tie-breaks


The games are being 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 14 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


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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