Women's World Ch. 5.1: Epic Accidents

by Priyadarshan Banjan
2/24/2017 – Harika's woes with the black pieces continued. In the first game of the semi-final clash, she failed to defend reasonably and had to suffer a terrible crash. One can only hope that she makes a comeback in the next game with the white pieces. Meanwhile, a huge accident of epic proportions took place in the game between Kosteniuk and Muzychuk. Report.

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India vs China. Ukraine vs Russia. Need we say more?

Harika Dronavalli  was fighting against China's Tan Zhongyi. One Indian, one Chinese, and at stake is a spot in the finals to become the queen of the chess world.

What can be more interesting than a China vs India duel? 

 China's Tan Zhongyi has been in devastating form—in the previous round she eliminated the top seed Ju Wenjun rather easily.

She built up her attack on the kingside patiently. In the first game of this crucial semi-final match, she had the white pieces.


WGM Swati Ghate is a former Indian Champion and has always been one of the dark horses in women's chess in India. Enjoy her breathtakingly deep analysis, chock full of complex, yet beautiful variations.

[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"] [Site "Tehran"] [Date "2017.02.23"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Tan, Zhongyi"] [Black "Harika, Dronavalli"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E54"] [WhiteElo "2502"] [BlackElo "2539"] [Annotator "Swati Ghate"] [PlyCount "87"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] {First game of Semi Final Match between players from two Asian power houses in chess. Only one player from India or China will go into the finals which I think will be a history in the World championship. Tan Zhongyi looks in good form as she crushed comfortably talented and second highest rated player Ju Wenjun in Quarter final. Harika also won convincingly with white in classical game but had to go to rapid games to cruise into the semi-finals.} 1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 {Harika shows good preparation going into various new set ups. Normally she employs this mostly against Nf3 set ups.} 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O (4... b6 { is also played here.}) 5. Bd3 c5 6. Nf3 d5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b6 {Both the players are going for main lines without fearing home preparation. Black tries to play on white squares and three pawn islands whereas white gets double bishops, center, and activity.} 10. Bg5 Bb7 11. Qe2 Bxc3 12. bxc3 Nbd7 13. Bd3 Qc7 14. Rac1 Ng4 15. Be4 Rfe8 {Very few games with this move order.} 16. h3 Bxe4 17. Qxe4 Ngf6 18. Qe2 Rac8 (18... h6 {this looks interesting immediately asking question to the bishop and making room for the knight.}) ( 18... e5 $5 {would have been a very interesting break with the following lines} 19. dxe5 (19. Bxf6 exd4 20. Be7 d3 21. Qe3 Nf6 22. Rfe1 Nd5 23. Qxd3 Nxe7 $11) 19... Nxe5 20. Bxf6 Ng4 $1 $11) 19. c4 Qb7 {Typical idea putting pressure on white squares n doubling on c file targetting c4.} (19... h6 {During the game I really thought this was necessary and it proved fatal afterwards.}) 20. Rfe1 Qa6 (20... h6) 21. Ne5 Nxe5 22. dxe5 Nd7 23. Qg4 Kh8 {I would prefer Nf8 first. Still the position is dynamically equal. White has attack but same time has to cover pawn weakness.} (23... Nf8 24. h4 h5 $1 25. Qe4 (25. Qxh5 Rxc4 26. Qe2 Rxc1 27. Bxc1 Qxe2 28. Rxe2 Rc8 $15) 25... Ng6 26. Qe2 Rc5 $15) 24. Qh5 Kg8 25. Qg4 Kh8 {A repetition?} 26. Re4 Qa3 $2 {Gives free hand for White to build pressure.} (26... Rc5 27. Qh5 Kg8 28. Qe2 Qa5 29. Re1 f5 $15) 27. Rd1 Nf8 28. h4 Qc3 (28... h6 $5 {I think was the last chance to save.} 29. Qh5 (29. Bxh6 $2 gxh6 30. Rf4 Qe7 31. Rf6 Nh7 32. Rxh6 Rg8 33. Qe4 Rg7 $17 {and Black saves the day.}) 29... Nh7 30. Be3 Rc7 31. Red4 Qxa2 32. Rd8 (32. Rd7 Rxd7 33. Rxd7 Rf8 34. Rxf7 Rxf7 35. Qxf7 Qa1+ 36. Kh2 Qxe5+ 37. g3 Nf6 $17) 32... Qa4 $11) 29. h5 h6 30. Bh4 Rc7 31. Red4 Qc2 32. R1d3 Rc5 (32... Rec8 33. Kh2 $1 {Prophylactic move.} (33. Bf6 $2 gxf6 34. Rg3 (34. exf6 Qc1+ 35. Kh2 Qg5 $19) 34... Qb1+ 35. Kh2 Qh7 $17) 33... Rxc4 34. Bf6 $1 gxf6 (34... Ng6 35. Rd8+ Rxd8 36. Rxd8+ Kh7 37. hxg6+ fxg6 38. Qxe6 $18) 35. exf6 $18) 33. Rg3 Qh7 {[#]} 34. Rf4 $6 (34. Qf4 $1 {White missed chance for tactical finish Qf4. For me this looks clearly winning.} Qb1+ (34... Rc7 35. Bf6 (35. Bd8 Rb7 36. Bf6 $18)) (34... Qf5 35. Bf6 $16) 35. Kh2 Qf5 36. Bf6 Qxh5+ (36... Qxf4 37. Bxg7+ Kh7 38. Rxf4 Rc7 (38... f5 39. Rd4 Rc7 40. Bxf8 Rxf8 41. Rg6 Re7 42. Rd6 Rfe8 43. g3 $18) 39. Rf6 $18) 37. Rh3 Ng6 38. Qg3 Qf5 39. Rxh6+ Kg8 40. Rdh4 $3 gxh6 41. Rxh6 Qxf6 42. exf6 $18 { A beautiful variation.}) 34... Rc7 35. Qf3 Nd7 36. Qe2 Rf8 (36... Rec8 37. Rxf7 Rxc4 38. Rxd7 Rxh4 39. Qd1 Rhc4 40. Rgxg7 Qxg7 41. Rxg7 Rc1 42. Rd7 Kg8 43. g3 b5 44. Rd8+ Kf7 45. Rxc8 Rxd1+ 46. Kg2 {Is the best chance for Black. A pretty difficult choice to make on the board during knock out games!}) (36... Nf8 37. Rfg4 $16) 37. Be7 Rg8 38. Bd6 Rcc8 39. Rxf7 Qb1+ 40. Kh2 Nc5 41. Qe3 Qh7 42. Rg6 a5 43. Be7 Rc7 44. Rxh6 {White played really well and deserved to win in this game but as we all know, Harika is well known for her fighting spirit and will power. Let us keep fingers crossed and wish to see her in the tie-break games. All the best Harika!!} 1-0

Harika feeling the heat.

Ex-world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia preparing for the game with her husband cum coach Pavel Tregubov with her. If India vs China was not enough, we had an epic Russia vs Ukraine match here!

 Ukraine's Anna Muzychuk was just completely lost against Kosteniuk...

But as we all know, it is most difficult to win a won position. Kosteniuk was a pawn up but kept committing inaccuracies. And then, when it looked like it could end in a fighting draw, despite being a pawn up, Kosteniuk went horribly wrong and lost! 


This report was originally published in ChessBase India.

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Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.


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