Pressure and tiredness start to obviously influence the play of the participants of the 1/8 final of the World Women’s chess championship. Five out of eight starting games of the third lap were decisive, and most of them because of the blunders.  

Here are some examples.


Socko M. – Stefanova A. 


White gave away her opening advantage, but after 20.exd5 exd5 the position is balanced and a lot of game is in front.


After the simple 20…e5 the piece cannot be saved, as after 21.dxe5 Black advances the pawn 21. … d4.

The Polish player continued the game but had to admit that she lost in some dozen of moves.

Alisa Galliamova waiting for her opponent


Galliamova A. – Sebag M. 


White pieces are placed not in the most active way. Nevertheless after, for instance, 23.Bc3 the position is full of play, it is not easy for Black to prove something. If she tries to attack the same way as in the game 23. … Nh5 24.f4 g5, then simple 25.Bf3 solves all the problems.



Loses the pawn, and the position after it does not promise any counterplay.

23…Nh5 24.Be1 24. Nd3 25.f4 Nxe1

Immediate 25…g5 was also possible.

26.Rexe1 g5 27.Bf3 Nxg3 28.Kxg3 gxf4+ 29.Kh4 fxe3 30.Rxe3 Rd4

And White had to resign in some five moves.


Marie Sebag is glad about such an outcome



Ju Wenjun – Zhukova N.  


The whole game Natalia found herself at the defending side. But it seems, she managed to get what she fought for so hard – she just needed to exchange the mighty rooks and enter the drawn pawn endgame!

After 35…Rxd4 36.exd4 Kd5 37.Kd3 b5 White can’t make any progress and have to accept a draw.

It is not difficult to notice that after 37.Ke3 Kc4 the pawns promote at the same time: 38.Kf4 Kxd4  (38…Kxb4 is impossible due to 39.d5) 39.Kxf5 Kc4 40.Ke6 b5 41.f4 Kxb4 42.f5 Kc4 43.Kf7 b4 44.Kxg7 b3 45.f6 b2 46.f7 b1Q 47.f8Q, and the game should end in a draw.

But in the time trouble Zhukova missed this opportunity and played 35. b5, after what she let her opponent an active play connected to g4 move, and the game could not be saved any longer…




Huang Qian gave Irina Krush a pawn in the opening for not clear reasons. There was no real compensation for the material, and the representative of the USA gradually converted her advantage.


Perhaps, the experienced Yury Dokhoian, who has been the coach of the Russian national women’s team and leaded it to Olympic gold and the whole bunch of other awards, was absolutely right in his comment given to “Р-Спорт” agency. The expert of women chess suggested the following: “Certainly, the championship will be won not by the player who’ll come up with something extraordinary, but with the player who will show the normal, strong enough level of the average move”. The first games of the third round generally proved this thesis.



Natalia Pogonina with Black pieces recklessly rejected the repetition on the 36th move against Anna Ushenina. Probably she overestimated the activity of her pieces. Ushenina noted at the press-conference that she’d accept the draw in case her opponent would repeat the position. But this did not happen, and Ushenina converted her advantage.


Lela Javakhishvili 


After giving away a big advantage against Harika Dronavalli, Lela Javakhishvili, who had White, preferred to avoid any risks and be on the safe side with the time trouble approaching, so she agreed a draw.


The game between Mariya Muzychuk and Zhao Xue went quite smoothly. Zhao Xue managed to solve the problems of the Black color rather convincingly, the massive exchanges followed, securing the peaceful result.

Zhai Xue is the highest rated player left

Perhaps, the biggest intrigue of the round – Kosintseva sisters match – also started from a draw. The last decided game between them is dated of the far 1997 year when the sisters fought in the Russian championship under 12. Nadezhda took an upper hand back then, and since that time players from Arkhangelsk met each other 23 times, ending the games in short bloodless draws (except one more encounter at the Russian under 20 championship in 2000 when they actually played but it still finished in a draw).

Today’s draw differs. The fate made sisters seriously fight against each other, and they accepted this challenge. The traditional serve of Tatiana 1. e4 was met with Nadezhda’s backhand – 1. … с6! She never played Caro-Kann defence before and puzzled her younger sister for quite a while. Tatiana spent a lot of time in the opening but did not manage to get any advantage, more than that, the most of the game she was on the defending side. Nevertheless, she managed to solve her problems, balance the position and lead it to the usual result.

Normally the game between each other means another free day for the sisters. This time their game finished the last!


Natalia Zhukova and Antoaneta Stefanova

Stefanova’s second grandmaster Vladimir Georgiev is happy with her play. His mood transmits to Roman Ovechkin

The elder Muzychuk and the coach Emil Sutovsky are supporting Mariya Muzychuk 

The arbiters