Women's WCh. G4: Short but sweet

by Albert Silver
3/7/2016 – Game four saw a repeat of the Open Spanish in game two with a slight difference. This time both players came armed to the teeth, in both preparation and disposition, and if the game ended in a draw in just 21 moves, there was nothing dull about it. Very sharp tactics dominated the final stages with a sacrificial attack that led to a forced draw. Illustrated report with GM analysis.

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2016 Women's World Chess Championship

The Women’s World Chess Championship Match 2016 between the current World Champion Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine and Challenger Hou Yifan of China (former World Champion 2010-2012, 2013-2015) takes place in Lviv, Ukraine, on March 1-18, 2016. The first game is scheduled to start at 3 pm local time on 2nd of March 2016. You can watch the games live in our broadcast window at the bottom of this page.

Game four

Photos by Vitaliy Hrabar for the official site

Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar

Hou Yifan arrives in good spirits

Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar

Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, the lead vokalist of ‘Okean Elzy’, the most successful rock band in Ukraine
poses with Mariya Muzychuk. He was also present for the symbolic first move with his father, a
famous intellectual and former Minister.

Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar

The start of game four

The fourth game of the Women’s World Championship Match finished in a draw after 22 moves. Maria Muzychuk didn’t avoid repeating the Open Spanish, despite her loss in the second game. As Hou Yifan mentioned at the press conference, there were many different lines in this sharp variation and she had to know them quite well as the position of her king was weak after she played g4. Maria Muzychuk spent 30 minutes in the opening, remembering all the complications, and chose the right way to reach a forced draw.

Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar

The English commentators of the day: GM Oleksiyanko and WGM Natalia Buksa. In
between them is Ivan Vakarchuk,  a professor of physics at Lviv University and the
former Minister of Education and Science in Ukraine.


Radiant smiles

Game four annotated by GM Adrian Mikhalchishin

[Event "Women's World Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.03.06"] [Round "4"] [White "Hou , Yifan"] [Black "Muzychuk, Mariya"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C83"] [WhiteElo "2667"] [BlackElo "2563"] [Annotator "Adrian Mikhalchishin"] [PlyCount "44"] [EventDate "2016.03.06"] {This very important game had to answer the question - can Mariya resist Hou Yifan with black?And will she choose the Open Spanish once more?} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. c3 { Aa clever decision by Hou Yifan to not follow the previous game.} (9. Be3 { was Yifan's choice in game two.}) 9... Be7 10. Bc2 Bg4 {Marichka decided not to follow a line known to Hou Yifan} (10... Nc5 11. h3 (11. Nbd2 d4 {has been seen in several from the Hou Yifan -Koneru match in Tirana.}) 11... O-O 12. Re1 Qd7 13. Nd4 Nxd4 14. cxd4 Nb7 15. Nd2 c5 16. dxc5 Nxc5 17. Nf3 Bf5 18. Be3 Rac8 {with a solid position, Karpov, A (2725)-Kortschnoj, V (2665)/Baguio City 1978}) 11. h3 Bh5 ({White will get a clear advantage after the exchange} 11... Bxf3 12. gxf3 Nc5 13. f4 Qd7 (13... O-O 14. b4 Na4 15. Re1 $16 {Euwe-Cortlever, Amsterdam 1945}) 14. Qf3 Rd8 15. Rd1 f5 16. Be3 Qe6 17. Nd2 O-O 18. Nb3 { Polgar,J-Huebner,R/Munich 1991 -}) 12. g4 Bg6 {[#]} 13. Nd4 (13. Bb3 {was tried before.} Na5 (13... d4 14. cxd4 h5 15. d5 hxg4 16. hxg4 Na5 17. Bc2 Bc5 18. Kg2 Qd7 19. e6 Qd6 20. Qe1 $4 ({This imprudent move is severely punished by Black. Essential was} 20. exf7+ Kxf7 21. Nc3 {, with counterchances.}) 20... Bxf2 $1 {0-1 Kazakov,M (2457)-Dumpor,A (2364)/Varazdin 2003/CBM 099/[Atlas,V]} ({A nice game conclusion! White resigned in view of huge material losses:} 20... Bxf2 21. Rxf2 Qg3+ 22. Kf1 Rh1+)) 14. Bxd5 c6 15. Bxe4 Bxe4 16. Qxd8+ Rxd8 17. Nbd2 Bd5 18. Re1 h5 19. Ne4 hxg4 20. hxg4 Nc4 {with complicated endgame, Fischer,R-Olafsson,F/Havana 1966}) 13... Nxd4 (13... Qd7 {is a very interesting option here.} 14. f4 Nxd4 ({Better seems to be} 14... Ng3 15. f5 Nxf1 16. fxg6 hxg6 17. e6 Qd6 18. exf7+ Kd7 19. Qxf1 Nxd4 20. cxd4 Qg3+ 21. Qg2 Qe1+ 22. Qf1 Qg3+ 23. Qg2) 15. cxd4 f5 16. Be3 O-O (16... h5) 17. Nc3 c6 18. Bxe4 dxe4 19. d5 {with advantage, Caruana,F (2787)-Wei,Y (2706) / Wijk aan Zee 2016}) 14. cxd4 {White plans to follow a typical strategy recommended by the great Capablanca: to open the c-file and attack the c7 pawn.} h5 $1 ({White will get a comfortable blockading position after the typical central counterstrike} 14... c5 15. f4 f5 16. Bxe4 fxe4 17. Be3 cxd4 18. Bxd4 O-O 19. Nc3) 15. f3 ({White had to calculate also} 15. f4 hxg4 16. f5 Bxf5 17. Rxf5 Rxh3 18. Nc3 Rg3+ 19. Kh2 (19. Kf1 Qd7 20. Rh5 Qc6 {with a strong initiative,}) 19... Rh3+ 20. Kg2 Rg3+ {with a perpetual}) 15... Ng3 16. Rf2 {[#]} ({Both players were playing very quickly up to now, meaning both had prepared this line. White would only have problems after} 16. Bxg6 Nxf1 17. Bxf7+ Kxf7 18. Qxf1 c5) 16... hxg4 $1 (16... Bxc2 {was a serious option.} 17. Qxc2 c5 18. Bf4 h4 19. dxc5 d4) 17. Bxg6 Rxh3 $1 {[#]There were interesting rumors here in the press room.They said that Muzychuk's team had prepared with Houdini and it showed equality here, but the Chinese team used Stockfish, which promised White an advantage! (Ed: if true, then the Chinese were a bit impatient as Stockfish on a quad core laptop gives dead equality after 30 seconds. Komodo 9. 1 shows equality after about 10 seconds)} 18. Qc2 Bc5 $1 {Only move for a draw. Here Hou Yifan went into deep think and it was obvious from her body language that she was very disappointed here. She started to think that her opponent's team had done their homework better today!} 19. Qxc5 ({Now} 19. Bxf7+ {would be very dangerous.} Kxf7 20. fxg4+ Kg8 21. Qxc5 Qh4 22. Qxd5+ Kh7 23. Qxa8 Rh1+ 24. Kg2 Qh3+ 25. Kf3 Re1 $1 {with decisive attack.}) 19... Rh1+ 20. Kg2 Rh2+ $1 21. Kg1 ({Of course not} 21. Kxh2 $4 Qh4+ 22. Kg2 Qh3+ 23. Kg1 Qh1#) 21... Rh1+ 22. Kg2 Rh2+ 1/2-1/2

The winner's trophy?

Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar

On the first free day at the Women’s World Chess Championship Match, a giant chess board with
pieces was installed right opposite Ratusha – City Council building.

Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar

A dozen of children, who are the members of chess in school clubs, performed a master class at a giant board.

Current standings

Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 G10 Pts
Mariya Muzychuk
Hou Yifan


March 6 Sunday 15:00 Game 4
March 7 Monday Day Off  
March 8 Tuesday 15:00 Game 5
March 9 Wednesday 15:00 Game 6
March 10 Thursday Day Off  
March 11 Friday 15:00 Game 7
March 12 Saturday 15:00 Game 8
March 13 Sunday Day Off  
March 14 Monday 15:00 Game 9
March 15 Tuesday Day Off  
March 16 Wednesday 15:00 Game 10
March 17 Thursday Day Off  
March 18 Friday 15:00 Tie-break games
March 18 Friday 18:00 Closing Ceremony

All games start at 3 p.m. local time, which is an hour ahead of European time, two ahead of Britain, and seven ahead of New York. You can find the starting time at your location here.

Women's World Chess Championship 2016 live broadcast

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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