WWch Rd2 G1: Inspired play

by Albert Silver
3/21/2015 – For some it was another day of battle after a grueling day of tiebreaks, while others came came refreshed and strong and it showed. Top-seed Koneru sweated to overcome Tingjie in their game, but overcome her she did through skill and tenaciousness. Kosteniuk dominated her Chinese opponent Shen Yang, and finished her in style, while Gunina beat Girya in a game reminiscent of Tal.

ChessBase 15 - Mega package ChessBase 15 - Mega package

Find the right combination! ChessBase 15 program + new Mega Database 2019 with 7.6 million games and more than 70,000 master analyses. Plus ChessBase Magazine (DVD + magazine) and CB Premium membership for 1 year!


Tournament conditions

The Women's World Chess Championship takes place from March 17 – April 7 in Sochi, Russia . The knock-out tournament is attended by 64 players, including the former World Champions Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), Anna Ushenina (Ukraine), and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria), the three-time Russian champion Valentina Gunina, the World Vice-Champion Humpy Koneru (India), and other leading grandmasters. Unfortunately, the reigning champion Hou Yifan was unable to come due to personal reasons, but she will still have an opportunity to challenge the new champion in a match, as the winner of the FIDE Grand Prix.

The first five rounds consist of mini-matches of two games with 90 moves per 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with bonus 30 seconds per each move. The final match consists of four games.

If the match score is tied, its winner is determined on tiebreak: two rapid games of 25 minutes + 10 seconds per move. If the score remains equal, the players proceed to another two games with a slightly faster time control – 10 minutes + 10 seconds per move. If these games do not determine the winner as well, then there are two blitz games: 5 minutes + 3 seconds per move. Finally, if the score is still even, there is an Armageddon game: White has five minutes, Black has four minutes, and a three-second increment per move after the move 61.

Round two - game one

32 participants of the Women's World Chess Championship returned today to the SCC Galactica (Sochi, Krasnaya Polyana) to play the first games of the second round.

Round two, and another nerve-wracking day

In the Russian clash between Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya a quiet opening turned into wild complications after White initiated a risky kingside expansion. Soon Gunina sacrificed a piece, playing in the style of Mikhail Tal – her sacrifice might have been unsound, but was very enterprising and led to a very sharp game. Girya did not find the correct response, and Gunina developed a winning attack.

All smiles and well-wishing on the surface between Olga Girya (left) and Valentina Gunina (right)

Olga Girya strolls between the tables, though her tranquility would soon be shattered

Valentina Gunina vs Olgar Girya

[Event "WCh Women 2015"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2015.03.20"] [Round "2.6"] [White "Gunina, Valentina"] [Black "Girya, Olga"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E06"] [WhiteElo "2528"] [BlackElo "2459"] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2015.03.17"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. Qxc4 b5 9. Qc2 Bb7 10. Bg5 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Rc8 12. Bxf6 Nxf6 13. Nb3 c5 14. dxc5 Be4 15. Qc3 Bd5 16. Rac1 Bxb3 17. Qxb3 Bxc5 18. e3 Qb6 19. Rc2 Rc7 20. Ne5 Rfc8 21. Rd1 g6 22. Rcd2 Be7 23. g4 $1 {Not the most positional move, but White gets points for her fighting spirit.} Rc5 24. Nd3 Rg5 25. h3 h5 26. gxh5 Rxh5 27. Nf4 Rhc5 {[#]} 28. Nxg6 $1 {Black is a bit better, and White decides to take the fight to her rather than suffer while she tries to equalize.} fxg6 {[#] Another diagram? Absolutely, since this is the key of the sacrifice.} 29. Rd6 $1 Bxd6 $2 {Possibly a knee-jerk reaction, since this is exactly what White wanted.} (29... Qc7 {was best and now after} 30. Qxe6+ Kf8 31. Rxa6 Re5 {and White's best continuation is now} 32. Qc6 {and the game is unclear with Black up a piece but down three pawns.} (32. Qb3 {to avoid exchanging queens is of little help after} Rg5 {with the threat Rxg2 Kxg2 Qb7+})) 30. Qxe6+ {White's audacity has paid off and she is now clearly in the driver's seat.} Kh7 31. Rxd6 Rc1+ $2 {A serious blunder but Black was clearly reeling from the turnaround.} (31... Qc7 {or Qa7 with the same idea.} 32. Qxf6 Qg7 33. Qe6 Rc1+ 34. Kh2 R1c7 {to thwart White's threat of Rd7.} 35. Rxa6 {and the weak b5 pawn as well as seriously exposed king give White a significant edge.}) 32. Kh2 Qc7 33. Qxf6 Rc2 34. Qxg6+ Kh8 35. Qh5+ Kg8 36. Bd5+ Kg7 37. Qh6# 1-0

White also won in the second Russian derby – Alisa Galliamova vs. Tatiana Kosintseva. Galliamova got a small but lasting advantage in the opening, creating pressure against Black's weak pawns. Kosintseva replied with a pawn sacrifice, aiming at a rook ending with good drawing chances. However, Galliamova countered her plan, kept an extra pawn and carefully converted this advantage into a win.

Eteri Kublashvili working the shot

The ex-World Champion Alexandra Kosteinuk (Russia) defeated Shen
Yang (China) with Black pieces. In the middlegame Kosteniuk found a
great knight move deserving of the beauty prize!

Shen Yang vs Alexandra Kosteniuk

In this position, Alexandra Kostyeniuk had already built a solid advantage as
black, but after White's last imprecision, she pounces. Black to play and win.

Aleksandra Goryachkina drew against Anna Muzychuk

Victoria Cmilyte (Lithuania), playing with Ekaterina Kovalevskaya (Russia), capitalized on her middlegame mistakes in the sharp Botvinnik variation.

The longest game of the day was Lei Tingjie (China) – Humpy Koneru (India): it took six
hours for the rating favorite to finally break the resistance of the young Chinese opponent.

Solutions to position:

[Event "WCh Women 2015"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2015.03.20"] [Round "2.5"] [White "Shen, Yang"] [Black "Kosteniuk, Alexandra"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E10"] [WhiteElo "2459"] [BlackElo "2529"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2kr1r2/pp2q2p/2p1n1p1/3pB3/1b1Pp1PP/1Q2P3/PP1N1P2/2K2R1R b - - 0 23"] [PlyCount "37"] [EventDate "2015.03.17"] 23... Nc5 $3 {A beautiful shot that really sticks it at White.} 24. dxc5 (24. Qxb4 $2 Nd3+ {wins the queen.}) (24. Qc2 $2 Nd3+ 25. Kb1 Rxf2 {Black could take on e5, but this way the pawn is won and the monster knight returns to d3.} 26. Rxf2 Nxf2 27. Rg1 Rf8 28. g5 Nd3 $19) 24... Bxd2+ 25. Kxd2 Qxe5 26. Kc1 d4 $1 {and Black went on to win the game.} 27. exd4 Rxd4 28. Kb1 Rd2 29. h5 g5 30. h6 Kb8 31. Rd1 Rdxf2 32. Rhe1 Kc8 33. a3 Re8 34. Qb4 e3 35. Qd4 Qxd4 36. Rxd4 Rf4 37. Rd3 e2 38. Kc2 Rxg4 39. Kd2 Rge4 40. Rg3 Rd8+ 41. Kc2 Rd5 0-1

Round two results

Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Lei, Tingjie CHN 2444 0                 0
Koneru, Humpy IND 2581 1                 1
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Ju, Wenjun CHN 2557 ½                 0.5
Pogonina, Natalia RUS 2456 ½                 0.5
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Goryachkina, Aleksandra RUS 2456 ½                 0.5
Muzychuk, Anna UKR 2552 ½                 0.5
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Cmilyte, Vktorija LTU 2530 1                 1
Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina RUS 2438 0                 0
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Shen, Yang   CHN 2459 0                 0
Kosteniuk, Alexandra RUS 2529 1                 1
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Gunina, Valentina RUS 2528 1                 1
Girya, Olga RUS 2459 0                 0
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Melia, Salome GEO 2459 ½                 0.5
Zhao, Xue CHN 2527 ½                 0.5
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Muzychuk, Mariya UKR 2526 ½                 0.5
Socko, Monika   POL 2463 ½                 0.5
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Gaponenko, Inna UKR 2384 ½                 0.5
Stefanova, Antoaneta BUL 2552 ½                 0.5
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Khotenashvili, Bela GEO 2513 ½                 0.5
Huang, Qian   CHN 2473 ½                 0.5
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan SCO 2379 ½                 0.5
Cramling, Pia SWE 2495 ½                 0.5
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Harika, Dronavalli IND 2492 ½                 0.5
Krush, Irina USA 2477 ½                 0.5
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Arabidze, Meri GEO 2374 ½                 0.5
Marrero Lopez, Yaniet CUB 2322 ½                 0.5
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Tan, Zhongyi CHN 2487 ½                 0.5
Javakhishvili, Lela GEO 2481 ½                 0.5
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Sebag, Marie FRA 2482 ½                 0.5
Ushenina, Anna UKR 2486 ½                 0.5
Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Galliamova, Alisa RUS 2484 1                 1
Kosintseva, Tatiana RUS 2483 0                 0


Round 1 - 64 players
March 17 Game 1 3:00 p.m. local time
March 18 Game 2 3:00 p.m. local time
March 19 Tie breaks 3:00 p.m. local time
Round 2 - 32 players
March 20 Game 1 3:00 p.m. local time
March 21 Game 2 3:00 p.m. local time
March 22 Tie breaks 3:00 p.m. local time
Round 3 - 16 players
March 23 Game 1 3:00 p.m. local time
March 24 Game 2 3:00 p.m. local time
March 25 Tie breaks 3:00 p.m. local time
Round 4 - 8 players
March 26 Game 1 3:00 p.m. local time
March 27 Game 2 3:00 p.m. local time
March 28 Tie breaks 3:00 p.m. local time
Round 5 - 4 players
March 29 Game 1 3:00 p.m. local time
March 30 Game 2 3:00 p.m. local time
March 31 Tie breaks 3:00 p.m. local time
Rest day - April, 1
Round 6 - 2 players
April 2 Game 1 3:00 p.m. local time
April 3 Game 2 3:00 p.m. local time
April 4 Game 3 3:00 p.m. local time
April 5 Game 4 3:00 p.m. local time
April 6 Tie breaks 3:00 p.m. local time
April 7 Closing Ceremony*  
*Closing Ceremony can be shifted to
April 6 in the absence of tie breaks

Report by Albert Silver and Eteri Kublashvili
Photos by Eteri Kublashvili and Anastasia Karlovich


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 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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.
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register

Rama Rama 3/22/2015 06:36
Hou Yifan has decided to dethrone herself by playing in another event. This event will decide her replacement. Then Hou Yifan will be the official challenger in a two person match with the new champ since she won the qualification event. Hou Yifan prefers matches (she once lost her title in a knock-out event).
Captain Picard Captain Picard 3/21/2015 10:41
They explain it all at the very beginning of the article, lol. Learn to read? Ahahhahahahaha!
genem genem 3/21/2015 07:48
Current Women's WCChamp Yifan Hou is playing in Hawaii presently, instead of in this big knockout tournament labeled "Women's World Chess Championship".
Does this tournament determine Yifan's challenger, or will it claim to dethrone and replace Yifan?