Women’s Candidates: Goryachkina safely keeps the balance

by André Schulz
12/7/2022 – The second game of the Women’s Candidates semifinal in Khiva between Aleksandra Goryachkina and Tan Zhongyi ended in a draw. As in game one, the Queen’s Gambit Declined appeared on the board, this time with Tan Zhongyi marshalling the white pieces. The Chinese player did not gain any advantage and the game ended in a draw on move 40. | Photo: Timur Sattarov/ FIDE

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Chess history in the making

The Ruy Lopez and the Queen’s Gambit are considered the openings of the world champions, since almost all world champions often employed these classical systems. Tan Zhongyi and Aleksandra Goryachkina followed in the footsteps of the best players in chess history and played the Queen’s Gambit twice in the first two games. 

In the first game, Tan gained an advantage with Black, but it was not enough for her to get ahead on the scoreboard. In the second game, with the colours reversed, another Queen’s Gambit Declined appeared on the board.

Goryachkina opted for the Slav as a defence, but after the exchange on d5, the typical Carlsbad structure arose through a different move order.

With 11...Bd6, combined with a pawn sacrifice played once before in the game Steiner vs. Denker from 1946, Goryachkina deviated from the usual paths. Tan rejected the pawn sacrifice, but did not gain any advantage afterwards.

Tan Zhongyi

Tan Zhongyi | Photo: Timur Sattarov/ FIDE


Thursday is a rest day. The match continues on Friday and Saturday with games three and four. In the event of a tie, there will be a playoff on Sunday.

All games - Pool B


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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.