Links

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    1948 World Chess Championship 1959 Candidates 1962 Candidates 2.c3 Sicilian 2.f4 Sicilian 2011 European Team Championship 2011 Russian Championship 2012 Capablanca Memorial 2012 Chess Olympiad 2012 European Women's Championship 2012 London Chess Classic 2012 U.S. Junior Championship 2012 U.S. Women's Championship 2012 US Championship 2012 Women's World Chess Championship 2012 World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2013 Alekhine Memorial 2013 Beijing Grand Prix 2013 European Club Cup 2013 European Team Championship 2013 FIDE World Cup 2013 Kings Tournament 2013 London Chess Classic 2013 Russian Championship 2013 Tal Memorial 2013 U.S. Championship 2013 Women's World Championship 2013 World Blitz Championship 2013 World Championship 2013 World Rapid Championship 2013 World Team Championship 2014 Capablanca Memorial 2014 Chess Olympiad 2014 London Chess Classic 2014 Petrosian Memorial 2014 Rapid & Blitz World Championship 2014 Russian Team Championship 2014 Sinquefield Cup 2014 Tigran Petrosian Memorial 2014 U.S. Championship 2014 U.S. Open 2014 Women's World Championship 2014 World Championship 2014 World Junior Championships 2014 World Rapid Championship 2015 Capablanca Memorial 2015 Chinese Championship 2015 European Club Cup 2015 European Team Championship 2015 London Chess Classic 2015 Millionaire Open 2015 Poikovsky 2015 Russian Team Championship 2015 Sinquefield Cup 2015 U.S. Championship 2015 Women's World Championship KO 2015 World Blitz Championship 2015 World Cup 2015 World Junior Championship 2015 World Open 2015 World Rapid & Blitz Championship 2015 World Team Championships 2016 2016 Candidates 2016 Capablanca Memorial 2016 Champions Showdown 2016 Chess Olympiad 2016 Chinese Championship 2016 European Club Cup 2016 Isle of Man 2016 London Chess Classic 2016 Russian Championship 2016 Sinquefield Cup 2016 Tal Memorial 2016 U.S. Championship 2016 U.S. Junior Championship 2016 U.S. Women's Championship 2016 Women's World Championship 2016 World Blitz Championship 2016 World Championship 2016 World Junior Championship 2016 World Open 2016 World Rapid Championship 2017 British Championship 2017 Champions Showdown 2017 Chinese Championship 2017 European Team Championship 2017 Geneva Grand Prix 2017 Grand Prix 2017 Isle of Man 2017 PRO Chess League 2017 Sharjah Masters 2017 Sinquefield Cup 2017 Speed Chess Championship 2017 U..S. Championshp 2017 U.S. Junior Championship 2017 Women's World Championship 2017 World Cup 2017 World Team Championship 2018 Candidates 2018 Chess Olympiad 22014 Sinquefield Cup 22014 U.S. Championship 22016 Chess Olympiad 2Mind Games 2016 2Wijk aan Zee 2017 60 Minutes A. Muzychuk A. Sokolov aattacking chess Abby Marshall Accelerated Dragon ACP Golden Classic Adams Aeroflot 2010 Aeroflot 2011 Aeroflot 2012 Aeroflot 2013 Aeroflot 2015 Aeroflot 2016 Aeroflot 2017 AGON Agrest Akiba Rubinstein Akiva Rubinstein Akobian Akshat Chandra Alejandro Ramirez Alekhine Alekhine Defense Aleksander Lenderman Alekseev Alena Kats Alex Markgraf Alexander Alekhine Alexander Grischuk Alexander Ipatov Alexander Khalifman Alexander Moiseenko Alexander Morozevich Alexander Onischuk Alexander Panchenko Alexander Stripunsky Alexander Tolush Alexandra Kosteniuk Alexei Dreev Alexei Shirov Alexey Bezgodov Almasi Alvin Plantinga Amber 2010 Amber 2011 American Chess Magazine Amos Burn Anand Anand-Carlsen 2013 Anand-Gelfand 2012 Anand-Gelfand World Championship Match Anand-Topalov 2010 Anastasia Bodnaruk Anatoly Karpov Anders Ericsson Andrei Volokitin Andrew Martin Andrew Paulson Android apps Anish Giri Anna Muzychuk Anna Ushenina Anna Zatonskih Anti-Marshall Lines Anti-Moscow Gambit Anti-Sicilians Antoaneta Stefanova Anton Korobov Anton Kovalyov apps April Fool's Jokes Archangelsk Variation Arkadij Naiditsch Arne Moll Aron Nimzowitsch Aronian Aronian-Kramnik 2012 Arthur Bisguier Arthur van de Oudeweetering Artur Yusupov Arturo Pomar Astrakhan Grand Prix 2010 attack attacking chess Austrian Attack Averbakh Awonder Liang Baadur Jobava Bacrot Baku Grand Prix 2014 Baltic Defense Bangkok Chess Club Open Baskaran Adhiban Bazna 2011 Becerra beginner's books Beliavsky Ben Feingold Benko Gambit Bent Larsen Berlin Defense Biel 2012 Biel 2014 Biel 2015 Biel 2017 Bilbao 2010 Bilbao 2012 Bilbao 2013 Bilbao 2015 Bilbao 2016 Bilbao Chess 2014 bishop endings Bishop vs. Knight Blackburne Blaise Pascal blindfold chess blitz blitz chess Blumenfeld Gambit blunders Bob Hope Bobby Fischer Bogo-Indian Bologan Book Reviews books Boris Gelfand Boris Spassky Borislav Ivanov Borki Predojevic Boruchovsky Botvinnik Botvinnik Memorial Branimiir Maksimovic Breyer Variation brilliancy British Championship British Chess Magazine Bronstein Bronznik Brooklyn Castle Browne Brunello Bu Xiangzhi Budapest Bundesliga California Chess Reporter Camilla Baginskaite Campomanes Candidates 2011 Candidates 2011 Candidates 2012 Candidates 2013 Candidates 2014 Capablanca Carlsen Caro-Kann cartoons Caruana Catalan Cebalo Charlie Rose cheating Cheparinov chess and drugs chess and education chess and marketing chess books chess cartoons chess documentaries chess engines chess history chess in fiction chess in film chess in schools Chess Informant chess lessons chess politics chess psychology chess ratings chess strategy chess variants Chess24 Chess960 ChessBase DVDs ChessBase Shows ChessLecture Presentations ChessLecture.com ChessUSA ChessUSA blog ChessVibes ChessVideos Presentations Chigorin Variation Chinese Chess Championship Chithambaram Aravindh Christian faith Christiansen Christmas Colin Crouch Colle combinations Commentary computer chess computers correspondence chess Corsica Cristobal Henriquez Villagra Cyrus Lakdawala Danailov Daniel Parmet Daniil Dubov Danny Kopec Danzhou Danzhou 2016 Danzhou 2017 Dave MacEnulty Dave Vigorito David Bronstein David Howell David MacEnulty David Navara Davies Deep Blue Deeper Blue defense Dejan Antic Delchev Denis Khismatullin Ding Liren Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam Dmitry Andreikin Dmitry Gurevich Dmitry Jakovenko Dominic Lawson Dortmund 2010 Dortmund 2011 Dortmund 2012 Dortmund 2012 Dortmund 2013 Dortmund 2014 Dortmund 2015 Dortmund 2016 Dortmund 2017 Doug Hyatt Dragoljub Velimirovic draws dreams Dreev Dunning-Kruger Effect Dutch Defense DVD Reviews DVDs Dvoirys Dvoretsky Easter Edouard Efimenko Efstratios Grivas Eltaj Safarli Emanuel Lasker Emory Tate en passant endgame studies endgames Endgames English Opening Ernesto Inarkiev Erwin L'Ami Esserman Etienne Bacrot European Championship 2015 European Club Cup 2012 European Club Cup 2014 European Individual Championship 2012 Evgeni Vasiukov Evgeny Bareev Evgeny Najer Evgeny Sveshnikov Evgeny Tomashevsky Exchange Ruy expertise Fabiano Caruana Falko Bindrich farce FIDE FIDE Grand Prix FIDE Presidential Election FIDE ratings Fier fighting for the initiative Finegold Fischer Fischer-Spassky 1972 football Francisco Vallejo Pons Fred Reinfeld French Defense Fritz 15 Ftacnik Gadir Guseinov Gajewski Gaprindashvili Garry Kasparov Gashimov Gashimov Memorial 2017 Gata Kamsky Gawain Jones Gelfand Gelfand-Svidler Rapid Match Geller Geneva Masters Georg Meier Georgios Makropolous GGarry Kasparov Gibraltar 2011 Gibraltar 2012 Gibraltar 2013 Gibraltar 2014 Gibraltar 2015 Gibraltar 2016 Gibraltar 2017 Giri Go Grand Chess Tour Grand Chess Tour 2017 Grand Chess Tour Paris 2017 Grand Prix 2014-2015 Grand Prix Attack Greek Gift sacrifice Grenke Chess Classic 2013 Grenke Chess Classic 2015 Grenke Chess Classic 2017 Grinfeld Grischuk Grob Gruenfeld Defense Grünfeld Defense Gulko Gunina Guseinov Gustafsson Gyula Sax Hannes Langrock Hans Berliner Hans Ree Harika Dronavalli Hastings Hawaii International Festival Haworth Hedgehog helpmates Hennig-Schara Gambit Henrique Mecking HHou Yifan highway robbery Hikaru Nakamura Hilton Hjorvar Gretarsson Hort Horwitz Bishops Hou Yifan Houdini Houdini 1.5a Howard Staunton humor Humpy Koneru Ian Nepomniachtchi Icelandic Gambit Ignatius Leong Igor Kovalenko Igor Kurnosov Igor Lysyj Iljumzhinov Ilya Makoveev Ilya Nyzhnyk Imre Hera Informant Informant 113 Informant 114 Informant 115 Informant 116 Informant 117 Informant 118 Informant 119 Informant 120 Informant 121 Informant 122 Informant 124 Informant 125 Informant 126 Informant 127 Informant 128 Informant 129 Informant 130 Informant 131 Informant 132 Informant 133 insanity Inside Chess Magazine Ippolito IQP Irina Krush Irving Chernev Ivan Bukavshin Ivan Sokolov Ivanchuk J. Polgar Jacek Oskulski Jacob Aagaard Jaenisch Jaideep Unudurti Jakovenko James Tarjan Jan Gustafsson Jan Timman Jan-Krzysztof Duda Jay Whitehead Jeffery Xiong Jeremy Silman Jim Slater Jimmy Quon Joe Benjamin Joel Benjamin John Burke John Grefe John Watson Jon Lenchner Jon Ludwig Hammer Jonathan Hawkins Jonathan Speelman Joop van Oosterom Jose Diaz Jose Raul Capablanca Ju Wenjun Judit Polgar Julio Granda Zuniga junk openings Kaidanov Kalashnikov Sicilian Kamsky Karen Sumbatyan Karjakin Karpov Karsten Mueller Kasimdzhanov Kasparov Kavalek Keanu Reeves Ken Regan Keres KGB Khalifman Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix Kim Commons king and pawn endings King's Gambit King's Indian King's Tournament 2010 Kings Tournament 2012 Kirsan Ilyumzhinov KKing's Gambit KKing's Indian Klovans Komodo Komodo 11 Korchnoi Kramnik Kunin Lajos Portisch Larry Evans Larry Kaufman Larry Parr Lasker Lasker-Pelikan Latvian Gambit Laurent Fressinet Laznicka Le Quang Liem Leinier Dominguez Leko Leon 2017 Leonid Kritz lessons Leuven Rapid & Blitz Leuven Rapid & Blitz 2017 Lev Psakhis Levon Aronian Lilienthal Linares 2010 Linder Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu Loek van Wely Lombardy London 2009 London 2010 London 2011 London Grand Prix London System Lothar Schmid Luke McShane Macieja Magnus Carlsen Main Line Ruy Malakhov Malcolm Pein Mamedyarov Marc Arnold Marc Lang Marin Mariya Muzychuk Mark Crowther Mark Dvoretsky Mark Taimanov Markus Ragger Marshall Marshall Gambit Masters of the Chessboard Mateusz Bartel Matthew Sadler Maurice Ashley Max Euwe Maxim Rodshtein Maxime Vachier-Lagrave McShane Mega 2012 mental malfunction Mesgen Amanov Michael Adams Miguel Najdorf Mikhail Antipov Mikhail Botvinnik Mikhail Golubev Mikhail Osipov Mikhail Tal Mikhalchishin Miles Mind Games 2016 Minev miniatures Miso Cebalo MModern Benoni Modern Modern Benoni Moiseenko Morozevich Morphy Movsesian Müller music Nadareishvili Naiditsch Najdorf Sicilian Nakamura Nanjing 2010 Natalia Pogonina Navara Negi Neo-Archangelsk Nepomniachtchi New In Chess Yearbook 104 New York Times NH Tournament 2010 Nigel Short Nihal Sarin Nikita Vitiugov Nimzo-Indian Nino Khurtsidze NNotre Dame football Nodirbek Abdusattarov Nona Gaprindashvili Norway Chess 2013 Norway Chess 2014 Norway Chess 2015 Norway Chess 2016 Norway Chess 2017 Notre Dame basketball Notre Dame football Notre Dame Football Nov. 2009 News Nyback Nyzhnyk Oleg Pervakov Oleg Skvortsov Olympics 2010 Open Ruy opening advice opening novelties Openings openings Or Cohen P.H. Nielsen Pal Benko Palma Grand Prix 2017 Parimarjan Negi Paris Grand Prix Paris Rapid & Blitz passed pawns Paul Keres Paul Morphy Paul Rudd Pavel Eljanov pawn endings pawn play Pawn Sacrifice pawn structures Pentala Harikrishna Pesotskyi Peter Heine Nielsen Peter Leko Peter Svidler Petroff Philadelphia Open Philidor's Defense philosophy Phiona Mutesi Pirc Piterenka Rapid/Blitz Polgar Polgar sisters Polugaevsky Ponomariov Ponziani Potkin poultry Powerbook 2011 Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu Prague Chess Train problems progressive chess prophylaxis Qatar Masters 2015 QGD Tartakower QQueen's Gambit Accepted queen sacrifices Queen's Gambit Accepted Queen's Gambit Declined Queen's Indian Defense Rabat blitz 2015 Radjabov Radoslaw Wojtaszek Ragger rapid chess Rapport Rashid Nezhmetdinov rating inflation ratings Ray Robson Raymond Smullyan Regan Reggio Emilia 2010 Reggio Emilia 2011 Reshevsky Reti Reuben Fine Rex Sinquefield Reykjavik Open 2012 Reykjavik Open 2017 Richard Rapport Richard Reti Robert Byrne robot chess Robson Roman Ovetchkin rook endings RReggio Emilia 2011 rrook endings RRuy Lopez RRuy Lopez sidelines Rubinstein Rubinstein French Rudolf Spielmann rules Ruslan Ponomariov Russian Team Championship Rustam Kasimdzhanov Ruy Lopez Ruy Lopez sidelines Rybka Rybka 4 S. Kasparov sacrifices Sadler Saemisch Sakaev Sam Collins Sam Sevian Samuel Reshevsky Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2011 Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2012 satire Savchenko Savielly Tartakower Schliemann Scotch Four Knights Searching for Bobby Fischer Seirawan self-destruction Sergei Tiiviakov Sergey Erenburg Sergey Fedorchuk Sergey Karjakin Sergey Kasparov Sergey Shipov Sevan Muradian Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Shamkir 2015 Shamkir 2016 Shamkir 2017 Shankland Sharjah Grand Prix 2017 Shenzhen 2017 Shipov Shirov Short Sicilian Sinquefield Cup sitzfleisch Slav Smith-Morra Gambit Smyslov So-Navara Spassky spectacular moves Speelman sportsmanship Spraggett St. Louis Chess Club St. Louis Invitational St. Louis Rapid and Blitz 2017 stalemate Staunton Stephen Hawking Stockfish Stockfish 4 Stonewall Dutch Suat Atalik Super Bowl XLIV Susan Polgar Sutovsky Sveshnikov Sveshnikov Sicilian Svetozar Gligoric Svidler sweeper sealer twist Swiercz tactics Tactics Taimanov Tal Tal Memorial 2009 Tal Memorial 2010 Tal Memorial 2011 Tal Memorial 2012 Tal Memorial 2012 Tarjan Tarrasch Tarrasch Defense Tashkent Tashkent Grand Prix Tbilisi Grand Prix 2015 TCEC TCEC Season 10 TCEC Season 8 TCEC Season 9 TED talks Teimour Radjabov Terekhin The Chess Players (book) The Simpsons The Week in Chess Thessaloniki Grand Prix Three knights Tibor Karolyi Tigran Petrosian Tim Krabbé time controls time trouble Timman Timur Gareev Tomashevsky Tony Miles Topalov traps Tromso Olympics 2014 TWIC types of chess players Ufuk Tuncer Ultimate Blitz Challenge underpromotion Unive 2012 University of Notre Dame upsets US Championship 2010 US Championship 2011 US Chess League USCF ratings USCL V. Onischuk Vachier-Lagrave Valentina Gunina Vallejo value of chess van der Heijden Van Perlo van Wely Varuzhan Akobian Vasik Rajlich Vasily Smyslov Vassily Ivanchuk Vassily Smyslov Velimirovic Attack Vera Menchik Veresov Veselin Topalov video videos Vienna 1922 Viktor Bologan Viktor Korchnoi Viktor Moskalenko Vincent Keymer Viswanathan Anand Vitaly Tseshkovsky Vitiugov Vladimir Fedoseev Vladimir Kramnik Vladimir Tukmakov Vladislav Artemiev Vladislav Tkachiev Vlastimil Hort Vlastimil Jansa Vugar Gashimov Vugar Gashimov Memorial Walter Browne Wang Hao Wang Yue Watson Wei Yi Welcome Wesley Brandhorst Wesley So Wijk aan Zee 1999 Wijk aan Zee 2010 Wijk aan Zee 2011 Wijk aan Zee 2012 Wijk aan Zee 2013 Wijk aan Zee 2014 Wijk aan Zee 2015 Wijk aan Zee 2016 Wijk aan Zee 2017 Wil E. Coyote Wilhelm Steinitz William Golding William Lombardy William Vallicella Willy Hendriks Winawer French Wojtkiewicz Wolfgang Uhlmann Women's Grand Prix Women's World Championship World Champion DVDs World Championship World Cup World Cup 2009 World Cup 2011 World Cup 2011 World Junior Championship World Senior Championship WWesley So WWijk aan Zee 2012 Yasser Seirawan Yates Yermolinsky Yevseev Yoshiharu Habu Yu Yangyi Yuri Averbakh Yuri Razuvaev Yuri Vovk Yuri Yeliseyev Yuriy Kuzubov Zaitsev Variation Zaven Andriasyan Zhao Xue Zhongyi Tan Zug 2013 Zukertort System Zurab Azmaiparashvili Zurich 1953 Zurich 2013 Zurich 2014 Zurich 2015 Zurich 2016 Zurich 2017
    « Tashkent Grand Prix Underway | Main | Women's World Championship, Round 3 Tiebreaks: Two Chinese and One Kosintseva Advance »
    Thursday
    Nov222012

    Women's World Championship: The A-B-Cs of the Quarterfinals

    The "A": Anna Ushenina, who was the only player to win her quarterfinal match after the two classical games, and Antoaneta Stefanova, who came back from a loss and multiple lost positions to win her match.

    The "B": Blunders, and goodness there were a lot of them.

    The "C": Chokes - plenty of them, too.

    This was a very ugly round. Chess is hard even when one is in good form and full of energy; when one is exhausted and under a lot of stress, away from home and "enjoying" sub-zero temperatures day after day, horrors are possible. If you like that sort of thing as a fan, then the quarterfinal round of the 2012 Women's World Chess Championship delivered!

    Let's review the action a day at a time, starting with the first classical game on Tuesday. Nadezhda Kosintseva had just overcome her sister in a tough match, and had White against Anna Ushenina. Both sides had a tough time figuring out what to do in a slightly nonstandard Najdorf with 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Qe2, but in general Ushenina had a better feel for things and had some advantage in the middlegame. As the time control neared, however, the game randomized a bit, and then on move 35 it was time for a blunder. Black was doing fine despite a pawn deficit, but after she played 35...f6?? it would have been time to resign, had White found the very simple and mundane 36.exf6+ Bxf6 37.Rxf6. (As trainers never tire of telling their charges: always look at checks and captures!) Instead, Kosintseva played 36.Ka2?, which was good for some advantage but not winning on the spot. She maintained and even grew that advantage at the end of the time control, and had she played on rather than repeating her winning chances would have been excellent. So give Kosintseva a ?? for repeating as well. Maybe this was a bit of a choke, from the stresses of this game and her match with her sister.

    A game that did finish with a decisive result was Marie Sebag - Antoaneta Stefanova. Sebag played 6.d3 against the Archangelsk, and a slow, maneuvering game ensued. Sebag handled the "Spanish Torture" better than her opponent, and was already winning when Stefanova blundered with 36...Rxa5, overlooking 37.Nxf7.

    Next up: Ju Wenjun vs. Huang Qian. Black had better prep in a 5.h3 King's Indian, and enjoyed a very strong initiative in the opening. White correctly decided to break the pressure with an exchange sac, making the position a bit messy. Still, White's compensation was inadequate for the exchange, or later for the pawn, when Huang correctly returned the exchange for a little interest. Ju defended well, and then a series of Black inaccuracies starting with 24...Rd8 (24...a5 followed by ...a4 and pushing the pawn as fast as possible probably would have led to a win) culminating in 29...Bxc3 let White off the hook. The idea of eliminating worries about opposite-colored bishops made sense, as far as it went, but it turned out that Black's extra pawn, the passed a-pawn, was too easily and conveniently blockaded. Black tried until move 62, but neither she nor the a-pawn came close to achieving their aims.

    Finally, Zhao Xue - Harika Dronavalli was a well-played, correct draw.

    On to day two. If you tried to read the tea leaves based on the results from the first day, you'd go broke. So...

    Ushenina - Kosintseva was a Rubinstein Nimzo-Indian that had a Saemisch-like quality to it, and Ushenina won by following the recipe of "Grandfather" Misha. Botvinnik - Capablanca from the A.V.R.O. tournament in 1938 was a classical model for what happened in this game: White owned the bishop pair, Black played ...c5-c4 and won the a-pawn, while White built up with f3 and e4. Ushenina won a very clear, thematic game, and bounced the second-highest rated player remaining in the tournament.

    How about Sebag? Did she finish off her opponent? She came close, but didn't. With Black she was equal or a bit better through most of the middlegame, and Stefanova had to fight very hard just to avoid a forced draw. Only near the time control did things start to work out for White. 35...Bxc3 36.bxc3 Rf8 would have maintained equality; instead, 35...Bf4 was a first big step in the wrong direction, and Stefanova soon reached a winning ending with an extra pawn. As it was an outside passer, converting her advantage was pretty easy, and they were headed for tiebreaks.

    So were Huang Qian and Ju Wenjun, who drew speedily in just 17 moves, but the game between Dronavalli and Zhao Xue was a completely different story. Dronavalli prepared a very dangerous attacking idea in the Neo-Saemisch Nimzo-Indian, and belted out her first 16 moves instantly and with a rather contented, even smug expression. As often happens when one is busy preening and engaging in self-congratulations, a powerful and unpleasant dose of reality often isn't far behind. Zhao's 16...Qa5 wasn't what one of Houdini's top choices, and so while it may not have been so good it forced Dronavalli to think for herself, and at that moment she didn't rise to the challenge. The two obvious attacking tries, 17.Rg3 and 17.Bb2, were both very strong, but at least with respect to the former Dronavalli couldn't figure out what to do about 17...Nxe4 in reply and therefore eschewed it. (17...Nxe4 is indeed principled, but it's losing to 18.Rxf8+ Kxf8 19.Rg4! For instance: 19...Qe5 20.Bf3 Nc3 [20...Nf6 21.Bxc6 and if 21...Nxg4 22.Qd8+ Kf7 23.Be8+ Kf8 24.Bg6#] 21.Qf1 Kg8 22.Bh6+-.) After 18.Rd3? Ne5 19.Bd2? (19.Rg3!+=) 19...Qc5 Black was fine, and soon she was up a pawn for nothing. After 46 moves, it was two pawns for nothing, and after 60 moves it could have been three pawns for nothing: 60...Ncxe4 was fine, meeting 61.Bf8 with 61...g5, when White's swindling chances look awfully slim. The final critical moment came on move 66, when Zhao must have suspected that 66...exf3 was a mistake and spent what would normally be more than enough time for her to spot the perpetual. And yet, three pawns up, with enough time and the chance to finish the match, she played 66...exf3??, allowing perpetual with 67.Qc7+ Kh8 68.Qe5+ and so on.

    On to the tiebreaks. In the first 25' + 10" game, Stefanova played well at first against Sebag and enjoyed a nice advantage, but it took her a lot of time to achieve that good position. 19.dxc5!! Bxb1 20.Bxe5 would have been winning - e.g. 20...Nfd7 21.Bd6 Bd3 22.Rfd1 Ba6 23.cxb6 Re8 24.Ba3 and the b7 pawn will cost Black further, serious material. Instead, Stefanova lacked the time to properly calculate such variations and played 19.Ne4? Rc4 20.Rd1?(?), when she was down a piece for practically nothing. Sebag couldn't figure out how to consolidate though, joined Stefanova in time trouble, and eventually blundered and lost. One big error was 30...Bd6 (30...Nd6, 30...Nd2 and 30...Rxc5 31.dxc5 Nd2 all maintained a winning advantage), and the consistent follow-up 31...Bxc5 was just as bad. There were further errors, but rather than detail them all the point is that nerves seem to have gotten the better of the French player, and she lost again.

    In the all-Chinese battle between Ju Wenjun and Huang Qian, they more than made up for the short draw on the previous day. Both players missed wins (31.Nxf5, 37.Rd8, 38...Qg6/38...Rxh3+) and after 41 moves the game was looking very drawish, while after 50 moves it was a dead draw. Perhaps in a bit of revenge for day 1, Ju played on for another 50 moves, without any objective reason and without coming within a mile of a winning chance, never mind a win.

    Finally, the last game of the first tiebreak round saw Zhao Xue get punished for her failure the previous day. She was better with White in a Classical King's Indian, but it was a very complicated position and her error on move 27 completely turned the tables. She should have played 27.Nc4, aiming to plug up the d-file with Nd6. Instead, 27.a4 was too slow, and she would have been lost after 27...Qc3 or 27...Qb2. Dronavalli played something else, which gave her a smaller advantage, but Zhao was holding on by a thread. With 32.Qe3 White could have fought on, albeit in a position where she would have many ways to go wrong. Instead, 32.Be3?? lost the game immediately to 32...Qb3! 33.Rxd2 Rxd2 and White resigned, as 34.Bxd2 Qxf3 is mating.

    Tiebreak round 2: Sebag-Stefanova was a third straight win for Stefanova, and a comfortable one for a change. The Bulgarian grandmaster and former women's world champion thus remains in the running to reclaim her title.

    Huang Qian - Ju Wenjun was another draw, so they would need to move on to a pair of 10' + 10" games. White had a big advantage early on against the Leningrad Dutch, but couldn't figure out how to convert it, and her opponent escaped.

    Finally, Harika Dronavalli only needed a draw with White against Zhao Xue, the top seed remaining in the event, to advance to the semi-finals, and she got it with ease. Zhao badly misplayed the opening and was lost almost from the start. With a lot of work, she managed to achieve a lost middlegame and then a lost ending, but in the interest of keeping things simple Dronavalli let her escape to a drawn - but, importantly, dead drawn ending that sealed the match.

    On to another pair of tiebreak games for the Ju Wenjun - Huang Qian match. In the first, Ju obtained an absolutely overwhelming endgame advantage, handling the bishop pair beautifully. Unfortunately for her, rather than play 43.c6 bxc6 44.Rxd7+ Kxd7 45.bxc6+ Ke7 46.Bb4+ and game over, she went for another forced line: 43.Bxe6(?) Kxe6 44.c6(!) bxc6 45.Rxd7(?? - 45.b6! won) 45...Kxd7 46.bxc6+ Kxc6 47.Bxe5, clearly thinking the bishop ending would be won. It's true that she would win the g-pawn, but that would be the extent of her achievement - or at least, it should have been. If Black had played 55...Bxf6 it would have been a draw (Capablanca's ending, as Jonathan Hawkins calls it in his new book From Amateur to IM, but without the crucial spare tempi), and even after that there wouldn't have been any problems had Black not chosen 56...h6?? Fortunately for her, White played 58.Kf5??, and after 58...Kf7 59.Bf4 Bxf4! 60.Kxf4 Kg6! Black held easily. Instead of 58.Kf5 White could play 58.Bc5 (or 58.Bb4 or 58.Ba3 all putting Black into zugzwang. The king can't afford to move, a bishop move along the d8-h4 diagonal allows 59.Be3, and a bishop move along the c1-h6 diagonal allows 59.Kf6.

    Finally, the second 10' + 10" game had a winner, and the quarterfinal round was put out of its misery. Huang Qian played wonderful, forceful chess in the opening and middlegame, and therefore, of course, she went on to lose the game. The banal 21.Be7 would have given White a big, probably winning advantage, but Huang thought she found a nice finesse: 21.Nb5 Qc8 and only now 22.Be7. Unfortunately, after 22...Qe8! 23.Bxf8 Bxf8 24.Nc3 c5! the situation had changed drastically. White enjoyed a small material advantage, but now Black was safe, better developed and in the process of taking over the initative. Huang Qian failed to adapt, and this time Ju Wenjun did not let her escape, but finished strongly.

    And then there were four. The pairings for the semi-finals, which start Friday (today for most of you; tomorrow for my fellow Americans as of this writing), are as follows:

    • Antoaneta Stefanova - Harika Dronavalli
    • Anna Ushenina - Ju Wenjun

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments

    There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Post:
     
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>