Tehran WWCh Rd3 TB: The magnificent eight

by Elshan Moradiabadi
2/20/2017 – With half of the matches going into the tie-break, the world championship saw another exciting, although slightly less dramatic, match-ups. however, the trend clearly favoured the higher rated players, who dominated their respective strong opponents. There were moments of great play and lapses worthy of mentioning. Joining Muzychuk, Stefanova, Dzagnidze, and Shiqun are four others. Here is the illustrated report with GM analysis.

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All photos by David Llada

The quarter-final will begin tomorrow where we can note that seven of the eight players are actually among the top nine rated players of the event. The only exception is the phenomenon of the tournament — a 19 years old Chinese girl, Ni Shiqun. The most interesting thing about today’s tiebreaks was the intensity of the matches. All four mini-matches, with a 25-minute time control, were drawn after the first two rapid games and they were followed by two 10-minute mini-matches. All the results were decided here.

Olga Girya and Tan Zhongyi were on the verge of being eliminated at the hand of Ju Wenjun and Padmini Rout but they leveled the matter, both in spectacular fashion.

Olga Girya lost the first rapid mini-match but roared back to contention in the next game.

[Event "FIDE Women's World Championship"] [Site "chess24.com"] [Date "2017.02.19"] [Round "22.1"] [White "Girya, Olga"] [Black "Ju, Wenjun"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D38"] [WhiteElo "2458"] [BlackElo "2583"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "105"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] [WhiteTeam "Russia"] [BlackTeam "China"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "CHN"] [WhiteClock "0:00:55"] [BlackClock "0:00:37"] {In a must win situation against seed No.1, Girya demonstrated a very good understanding of the position by combining tactical and positional ideas on the white side of Ragozin.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 {Odd choice by Ju Wenjun when she only needs a draw.} 5. Qa4+ Nc6 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 O-O (7... Ne4 {is a better choice in my opinion. I really prefer to parry the pin on g5 and that is why I prefer this intermediate move to castle.} 8. e3 Nxc3 9. Qc2 Ne4 10. Bd3 Nd6 11. c5 Nf5 12. O-O h6 13. Rb1 O-O 14. Qc3 Nfe7 15. Bd2 b6 16. Rfc1 Na5 17. Qc2 Nc4 18. Bxc4 dxc4 19. Qxc4 Bb7 20. Ne1 Be4 21. Rb2 Ng6 22. f3 Bd5 23. Qc3 f5 24. Nd3 Rf7 25. Be1 Qg5 26. Kf1 Re8 27. Re2 Bb7 28. Qc4 Qd8 29. Bg3 Qc8 30. Kf2 Ba6 31. Qc3 f4 32. exf4 Bxd3 33. Qxd3 {1/2-1/2 (33) Topalov,V (2760)-Anand,V (2779) Saint Louis 2016}) 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 g5 (9... Bd7 {appeals more to me.} 10. cxd5 exd5 11. e3 g5 12. Bg3 Ne4 {and the other knigth is en root to c4 unless white takes some drastic measures.} 13. Bd3 Ne5 14. Qc2 Nxd3+ 15. Qxd3 Bf5 16. Qb5 Qd7 17. Qxb7 Rab8 18. Qa6 Rb6 19. Qa5 c5 20. O-O Rb5 21. Qa6 Rb6 22. Qa5 Rb5 23. Qa6 Rb6 24. Qa5 {1/2-1/2 (24) Topalov,V (2754)-Aronian,L (2784) Stavanger 2016}) 10. Bg3 Ne4 11. e3 $1 {a typical pawn sacrifice.} Nxc3 12. Qc2 Ne4 13. Bd3 f5 14. O-O Rb8 15. Rab1 Bd7 16. Rfc1 Nxg3 17. hxg3 Qe7 {despite material deficiency, it is white who is better} 18. cxd5 exd5 19. Qa2 $6 (19. Rb5 Be6 20. Rc5 {is more concrete.}) 19... Be6 20. Rc5 Nd8 21. Ne5 Kg7 22. g4 $1 {now white has a very dangerous initiative.} c6 23. Qc2 Qf6 (23... fxg4 24. Ng6 Qf6 25. Nxf8 Qxf8 {would have given black more chances to create complications.}) 24. gxf5 Bxf5 25. Bxf5 Qxf5 26. e4 (26. Qxf5 Rxf5 27. g4 {does work as well. Surprisingly due to awkward geometry between black's pieces.} Rf8 28. Nd7) 26... Qe6 27. exd5 cxd5 28. Rc7+ Nf7 29. Nd7 { White is winning. From here onward, Girya converted her advantage gradually but assuredly!} b6 30. Nxb8 Rxb8 31. Rxa7 Rc8 32. Rc7 Rxc7 33. Qxc7 b5 34. Qb7 Qe4 35. Qxb5 h5 36. Qb4 h4 37. Re1 Qd3 38. Re3 Qd1+ 39. Qe1 Qg4 40. Rf3 Qd7 41. Qe3 g4 42. Rf4 Kg6 43. Qd3+ Kg5 44. Qe3 Kg6 45. f3 gxf3 46. Qxf3 Ng5 47. Qg4 Qe7 48. Qf5+ Kh5 49. Rg4 Qe3+ 50. Kh2 h3 51. Qxg5+ Qxg5 52. Rxg5+ Kxg5 53. a4 1-0

Girya proved her caliber and understanding but Ju Wenjun drained Girya’s energy and made her blunder in a drawn endgame in the 10-minute mini- to reach a Chinese Derby against Tan Zhongyi.

Sopiko played spiritedly but Harika held a draw in the first game. In the second game, Harika was CRUSHING Sopiko with white until she let her opponent off into a drawn ending. In the 10-minute rapid games, Harika won easily with white and cruised to the Quarters. She is the only player who has played all the tie-break rounds in the competition so far!

Tan Zhongyi got the better of Padmini Rout in two consecutive games in the Queen’s Gambit Declined (QGD). Both games are instructive and enriched with typical ideas. Tan Zhongyi had a close match against Padmini but her better understanding of QGD played a crucial role in her victory.

[Event "FIDE Women's World Championship"] [Site "chess24.com"] [Date "2017.02.19"] [Round "22.3"] [White "Tan, Zhongyi"] [Black "Padmini, Rout"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D58"] [WhiteElo "2502"] [BlackElo "2387"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] [WhiteTeam "China"] [BlackTeam "India"] [WhiteTeamCountry "CHN"] [BlackTeamCountry "IND"] [WhiteClock "0:06:21"] [BlackClock "0:05:34"] 1. d4 {As usual, Tan Zhongyi plays it simple and to the point in a must win situation.} d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e3 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. Nf3 b6 8. Be2 Bb7 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. cxd5 exd5 11. O-O Nd7 12. Qb3 c6 13. Rad1 {Nothing out of the book so far. This position has seen several times before.} Re8 14. Rfe1 Be7 $6 {a serious inaccuracy.} (14... g6 15. e4 Nf8 16. e5 Bg7 17. Bd3 Ne6 {½-½ (55) Korobov,A (2713)-Meier,G (2623) Antalya 2013 is one fighting way to manage this position.}) (14... Nf8 {is equally good} 15. e4 Ne6) 15. e4 dxe4 $2 {but this one is a losing blunder! It is funny that these all have been played before and this line is a known losing continuation!} 16. Bc4 Rf8 17. Ne5 Nxe5 18. dxe5 Qc7 19. e6 fxe6 {[#]} (19... Bd6 20. Nxe4 Bxh2+ 21. Kh1 fxe6 22. Rd7 Qb8 23. g3 Qe8 24. Rxb7 Qh5 25. Kg2 {1-0 (25) Kelecevic,N (2380)-Rizzo, M (2005) Mendrisio 1988}) 20. Rd7 {despite a number of inaccuracies, Tan Zhongyi converted her advantage comfortably from here.} Qf4 21. Rf1 Bc5 22. Rxb7 e3 23. Ne2 exf2+ 24. Kh1 Qe5 25. Qc3 Qxc3 26. Nxc3 Kh8 27. Ne4 Bd4 28. b3 b5 29. Be2 e5 30. g3 Rad8 31. Rd1 h5 32. Kg2 h4 33. Ng5 f1=Q+ 34. Rxf1 Rxf1 35. Bxf1 Rf8 36. Rf7 Rxf7 37. Nxf7+ Kg8 38. Nd8 hxg3 39. hxg3 1-0

The lack of knowledge costed Padmini a World Championship point, and in the second game, she defended again with a QGD, and in a fine position, panicked and blundered.

[Event "FIDE Women's World Championship"] [Site "chess24.com"] [Date "2017.02.19"] [Round "23.3"] [White "Tan, Zhongyi"] [Black "Padmini, Rout"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D58"] [WhiteElo "2502"] [BlackElo "2387"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "99"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] [WhiteTeam "China"] [BlackTeam "India"] [WhiteTeamCountry "CHN"] [BlackTeamCountry "IND"] [WhiteClock "0:02:58"] [BlackClock "0:00:24"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e3 O-O {Padmini remain faithful to her choice. We have another QGD.} 6. Nf3 h6 7. Bh4 b6 8. Be2 Bb7 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. cxd5 exd5 11. b4 $5 {Tan Zhongyi deviates and play a different continuation.} c6 12. O-O Qd6 {Adams handled this game against Giri with similar idea but different move order.} (12... Re8 13. Rc1 a5 14. b5 c5 15. Na4 c4 16. Ne5 Ra7 17. f4 Nd7 18. e4 Nxe5 19. dxe5 Be7 20. exd5 Bxd5 21. Qd4 c3 22. Qxc3 Bxa2 23. Qe3 Bb4 24. Rc2 Be6 25. f5 Bd5 26. Nxb6 Rae7 27. Nxd5 Rxe5 28. Qf3 Rxd5 29. Kh1 Rde5 30. Bc4 Re1 31. Rc1 Rxf1+ 32. Rxf1 Qc7 33. Bb3 Qe5 34. f6 Qxb5 35. fxg7 Qxf1+ 36. Qxf1 Re1 37. Bxf7+ Kxg7 38. Qxe1 Bxe1 39. Bb3 h5 40. g3 h4 {1/2-1/2 (40) Giri,A (2778)-Adams,M (2744) Reykjavik 2015}) 13. Qb3 Nd7 14. Rfd1 Rfe8 15. Rac1 g6 (15... a5 {my recollection from the past tells me that this move is a must at this moment.}) 16. Bf1 {A typical waiting move, white is preparing a4-a5} Be7 17. Rb1 Bf8 18. g3 {white plans a fianchetto but in general, he just waits for black's a5. A move black needs to play one way or other.} a5 19. bxa5 Rxa5 20. a4 Kg7 21. Bh3 f5 $2 {Too risky, black has a weakness on b6 but this moves adds to her headache by weakening the king.} 22. Ne5 $2 {This worked for Zhongyi here but I would have preferred the known maneuver of Nc3-e2-f4-d3-e5 which is hard to prevent!} (22. Ne2 Rea8 23. Nf4 Rxa4 24. Nh4 $1 $18) 22... Rxe5 $4 {Probably Padmini Rout just panicked.} ( 22... Nxe5 23. dxe5 Qc7 $1 24. Qxb6 Qxb6 25. Rxb6 Ba8 26. Bf1 (26. f4 Bc5 { with huge advantage for black.}) 26... Rxe5 27. Rdb1 Re8 {with better endgame for black.}) 23. dxe5 Qxe5 24. Bf1 Ra8 25. Ne2 Bd6 26. Nd4 Bc7 27. Rbc1 Qf6 28. Bg2 $18 {white has consolidated her advantage. It is not a clear cut win but white should be technically winning here. Tan Zhongyi managed to convert her advantage with ease.} Ra5 29. Qc2 Nc5 30. Nb3 Nxb3 31. Qxb3 Bd8 32. e4 fxe4 33. Bxe4 Ba6 34. Bd3 Bxd3 35. Rxd3 d4 36. Rf3 Rf5 37. Rxf5 gxf5 38. Re1 c5 39. Qd5 Be7 40. Re6 Qf7 41. Qe5+ Bf6 42. Qxf5 c4 43. Rd6 d3 44. Rd7 Be7 45. Qe5+ Kf8 46. Qh8+ Qg8 47. Qxh6+ Ke8 48. Qc6 Kf8 49. Qc8+ Kf7 50. Rxe7+ 1-0

Learn how to use the Queen's Gambit Declined effectively with the help of the greatest chess player in history, Garry Kasparov! He talks about the history of this opening and discusses ALL the important structures and variations and how best to use them. Three hours of first-class private tuition with 'Garry the 13th'.

Padmini Rout leaves Tehran with good memories and a lot to work on QGD! Do check the ChessBase India report.

Russia’s last hope GM Aleksandra Kosteniuk eliminated...

...the semifinalist from the previous cycle, veteran GM Pia Cramling from Sweden.


Pairings for Round 4.1

Results of the Round 3 Tiebreakers


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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