FIDE Women's World Championship 2017 (Day 1)
Let's get a little bit more chess enthusiasm before the first round of the event! Soon we will review two important games from previous championships. Will you recognize them and know how to continue?
The opening ceremony was officially launched at the Hotel Espinas Palace by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Other important attending officials included FIDE CEO Geoffrey Borg, President of Iranian Chess Federation Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh, President of Moldova Igor Dodon and Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports of Iran Masoud Soltanifar. All female chess athletes received various nice Iranian gifts.
The top seed of the event, Ju Wenjun from China, drew white color for her first game of the first round. Therefore, the pairing in my previous blog is fully correct.
I think it is important to also touch this topic - the venue. Why was Iran given the right to host this championship? Let's try to briefly answer it. First of all, it seems like finding sponsorship is a constant problem when it comes to the Women's World Chess Championship. Originally, the event had been scheduled for October 2016. However, FIDE had to postpone it for this year since they had not found an organizer for the event. During the 2016 Chess Olympiad in September, Iran was the only federation that offered
Last year, after FIDE announced that the city of Tehran in Iran was chosen as the venue for the Women's World Championship 2017, controversy promptly sparked. Several players were concerned with Iran's dress code and behavior policies for women as well as security travel warnings from some countries. Particularly, the mandatory use of headscarf for women. This year's tournament has been marked by this controversy and the absence of some of the most recognized absent players
And the positive reasons to give the event to Iran? The Iran Chess Federation is one of the most active chess federation in the world and their players are getting more notices. Especially within the female field where they have two young IMs and other young WGMs. Their chess culture is also vast, there are over 100 chess tournaments a day, and chess is rapidly growing. The Islamic State of Iran is interested in supporting female athletes throughout many sports.
Let's get back to chess:
The following game Hou Yifan vs Monika Socko happened during the 2012 FIDE Knock-out World Women’s Championship. It was the second round and the score was 2-1 in favor of Socko. Hou Yifan needed to win the game to keep fighting for the match. Playing for a forced result might change the decisions a player takes. For example, a player might make a worse move to avoid a forced draw, or they may be more biased against exchanging major pieces even when it is a good move. In this situation, it is also common for players to change their opening repertoire to avoid a line that leads to a draw. Let’s take a look:
Yifan Hou - Monika (Bobrowska) Socko 0-1
FIDE Knock-Out Women's World
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3
2... Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.Nf3 Nge7 5.O-O a6 6.Bxc6 Nxc6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Qc7 ( Nxd4?!
is not a good idea, after 9.Qxd4 Qc7 10.Be3 Black has problems to develop its black-squared bishop)
White is waiting for Black to take in d4.
9... Nxd4 (9... Bd6 it's a stronger option, not giving up to the pressure of capturing on d4.
Black wants to develop her bishop so she wants to get rid of the pressure on g7. Since Black is happy with a draw, she doesn't have any problem trading queens.
White doesn't want to trade
11... Qc7 12.Bg5 f6 ( Bd6 is possible, but it gets complicated after ( Bc5?
13.Nd5 exd5 14.exd5+ Kf8 15.Qe4 +- ) 13.Nd5 exd5 14.exd5+ Kf8 15.Qe2 Bxh2+ 16.Kf1 Be5 17.d6 Qxd6 18.Bd2 b6 19.Bc3 Bb7 ( f6 20.f4 +/- ) 20.Bxe5 Qc6 21.f3 Black has no need to get into these complications.)
13.Bh4 Bd6 14.Bg3
The bishop on h4 is not useful anymore so it's a good idea to exchange it.
14... Bxg3 15.hxg3 O-O 16.Rad1 b5 17.a4 b4 18.Nd5 Qc5 ( exd5??
19.Qxd5+ Kh8 20.Qxa8 +- )
19.Ne3 a5 20.Rd2?!
White is delaying the queen exchange,
( 20.Qd6 Qxd6 21.Rxd6 Ra6 22.Red1 Rd8 23.f3 +/= White holds a small advantage. It might not be what Yifan was hoping for, but at least White can try to play for a win here.)
20... Rd8 21.Red1 Bb7 22.Qd4
White realizes that the queen exchange needs to be done, but it is too late to get anything good out of it since Black has had enough time to organize her pieces.
22... Rac8 23.Qxc5 Rxc5 24.f3 = 24... Bc6 25.b3 Kf7 26.Rd4 Ke7 27.Rc4 Rxc4 28.Nxc4 d5 29.Nxa5 Ba8 30.exd5 ( 29. Nxa5 was a suspicious move considering that the night is trapped after capturing the pawn.
32.Kf1 +/= ) 32.gxf3 Rd2 33.Nc4 ( 33.Rc4 Bxf3 34.b4 = )) 32.Kf2 We need the king to stop the pawn ( 32.Kh2??
32... e3)32... Rd2+ 33.Ke3 Rxc2 34.fxe4 = In both cases the position is equal, but at least White can keep playing and wait for some opportunities.)
30... Rxd5 31.Rxd5 exd5 32.c3?
This move loses the game. It's common for players to blunder after their winning chances have been exterminated.
( 32.Kf2 Kd6 =/+ )
32... bxc3 33.b4 d4 34.Kf2 Bd5 35.Ke2 c2 36.Kd2 d3 37.b5 Kd6 38.b6 h5 39.Kc1 g5 40.Kd2 h4 41.g4 Kd7 42.Kc1 Bxf3 43.Nb3 Bxg2 44.a5 Kc6 45.Nd4+ Kc5 46.Nb3+ Kb5 47.Kd2 h3
The next game is from the previous Knock-out FIDE Women’s World Championship in 2015 which was won by Mariya Muzychuk.
Mariya Muzychuk - Koneru Humpy 1-0
FIDE Women's World Chess Championship 2015.03.26
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 Qf6 6.c3 Nge7 7.g3 d5 8.Bg2 dxe4 9.O-O O-O 10.Nd2 Bb6 11.Re1 Nxd4 12.Nxe4 Qf5 13.Bxd4 Nc6 14.Bxb6 axb6
Up to this
15.f4 Be6 16.b3 h6 17.h3 Ra3 18.Qd2 Qa5 19.b4 Qa4 20.g4
White needs to find some activity on the kingside before it's too late.
20... Rd8 21.Qf2 Rxa2 22.Rxa2 Bxa2 23.b5 Na7?!
( Much better was Ne7 24.g5 hxg5 25.Nxg5 Rd1 -/+ )
24.g5 hxg5 25.Nxg5 f6??
An unexpected combination that wins the game.
26... Rf8 27.Bd5+ Bxd5 28.Qxd5+ Kh8 29.Qf7
Overall there is a great history behind the Women’s World Chess Championship.
I hope you will follow the event closely! :)