Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Women's World Championship, Round 4

This tournament has been quietly going on without much publicity but we are now at the quarter-final stage. Only one player is through to the semis and that is Anna Ushenina of Ukraine who beat Russia's Nadezha Kosintseva convincingly with one win and one draw.

Huang Qian had an extra pawn against compatriot Ju WenJun in the first game but could not convert. In the second and with the white pieces she surprisingly offered a draw quite early. So the two Chinese goes into the tie-breaks tomorrow.

There were some surprising turn of events in the other two matches. Both Marie Sebag and Chinese Zhao Xue will be very disappointed after throwing away their chances to win their matches.

French woman Marie Sebag had beaten Antoaneta Stefanova in the first game and in the second looked set to draw and win the match. The latter had to avoid three-fold repetition which would have eliminated her. But her king was left vulnerable in the centre. Sebag made some inaccurate moves and even got into a lost ending.

Stefanova - Shebag

Black can draw with  33... Rd7  since 34. Qg3 Bd2+ 35. Kd1 Qh1 wins for black. White can try 34. Qc8+ Kh7 but the white king is totally vulnerable in the centre. After 35. fxe3 Qh4+ black gets the draw she needs to advance to the next stage.

Instead black allowed the king to escape with 33....Bd2+ 34. Kd1 Rc8 35 Qb7 Bf4 36. Kc2 and white even won.

The first game between Zhao Xue and India's Harika Dronavalli was drawn. In the second, the Chinese had a winning position but time trouble crept in.

Zhao Xue-Harika Dronavalli

White has just played 60. Bh6 in a desperate attempt to create some threats. Black can now safely play 60...Ncxe4 keeping everything under control (61. Bf8 can be answered with 61...g5). Instead nerves starts to affect her.

60... Ng8!? 61. Bg5 Qc6 62. Nf3 Qxe4 63. Qd2 Qd3 64. Qa2 Qb3 65. Qd2 e4 66. Qd8

A last desperate move. 

66....exf3 ??

I was shocked that Zhao Xue played this quite quickly even though she had around 2 minutes on the clock. She had missed the perpetual!

67. Qc7+

You could see Zhao Xue pause after this move, realizing what she had done.

67. Qc7+

Kh8 68. Qe5+ Kh7 69. Qc7+ Kh8 70. Qe5+ Kh7 1/2-1/2

So tomorrow there will be three matches in the tie-breaks.


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