The weather in Khanty-Mansiysk got colder, the temperature went down to -17, but the heat on the boards only rises.

The second games of the 1/8 final of the Women’s World chess championships brought even more decisive outcomes than the first.

Antoaneta Stefanova got a personal reporter

Antoaneta Stefanova took an upper hand on Monika Socko on the first board when she chose the sharp line with White, sacrificed a pawn and converted her attack into a full point. Stefanova advances to the next stage of the competition, she has won all the matches in the main games so far with the great score 5,5 out of 6.

Before the game the players noticed that the numbering of the moves at their score sheets starts from 61. The score sheets were immediately replaced by the arbiters, but the accident brought a couple of smiles

Marie Sebag manages everything even without her usual warm red jacket

In the fourth lap ex-world champion Antoaneta Stefanova from Bulgaria will face Marie Sebag. The French managed to win against Alisa Galliamova in both games. The Russian, who had to win back in the second game in order to proceed to tie-breaks, offered a complex play and even gained a pawn, but her king was unsecured. In her tries to avoid the perpetual check, Galliamova fell under the attack and missed the mating ideas that decided the game in the favor of her opponent.

Alisa Galliamova goes home

Another Russian returns to her hometown after the elimination. Russian champion Natalia Pogonina needed only to win against Anna Ushenina after she lost in the first game. But Black conducted the game cold-blooded and created problems for White. Pogonina managed to make a draw, however, the match score was not in her favor. In the last tournaments – Ukrainian championship, Olympiad and here in Khanty-Mansiysk Anna Ushenina hasn’t lost any game.

This should be considered during the preparation by her opponent in the next round – one of the Kosintseva sisters. Who exactly will it be, the tie-break will decide, because the second game between the sisters ended in a draw too.

Zhao Xue is one more quarterfinalist, who rapidly won against Mariya Muzychuk. The Ukrainian was careless for her own king when she made slow moves on the queenside while the smashing attach was approaching. As a result White managed a quick assault and won the game and the match.

Mariya Muzychuk did not manage to show anything against the pressure of the Chinese

In the fourth lap the rating-favorite will meet Harika Dronavalli from India, who was stronger than Lela Javakhishvili.

Harika Dronavalli: “ Today I think my opponent was really tensed; I could see it from her face. I just started putting a little bit more pressure, tried to create some small threats and at some point she just collapsed. I feel like she did not play her best today, and so I could go to the quarterfinals”.


H. Dronavalli – L. Javakhishvili 


This position after 19.Kf1 perhaps became the key moment in the game.

Black replied by giving a pawn 19…Be6

It was necessary to seek chances in the complex play after 19…f5, with such a variation as an example:  20.Nef6 Bb4 21.Nxb4 (21.Nxg4 Bxe1 22.Nxe5 Ba5) 21…Kxf6 22.Bxb7 Rab8 23.Nc6 Nxc6 24.Rxc6+ Ke7 25.Rc7+ Rd7 26.Rxd7+ Kxd7 27.Bd5 Rxb2 28.Bxf7 – White has an extras pawn, but it is not that easy to convert it.

20.Nexf6 Rac8 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 22.e3 Nf5 23.Rd1

After Black traded her bishop for the knight:

23…Bxd5 24.Nxd5 Rd8

Her position became hopeless.

25.Nc3 b6 26.g4 Nh6 27.h3 a5 28.Ke2 f5 29.gxf5 Nxf5 30.Be4 Nh6 31.a3 Nf7 32.Bd5 Nh8 33.h4 Be7 34.h5 Kh6 35.Rg1 b5 36.Bf3 b4 37.Nd5 Bh4 38.axb4 axb4 39.Rg4 Kxh5 40.Rxb4+ Kg5 41.Rg4+ Kh5 42.Re4+ Kg5 43.Rxe5+ Kg6 44.Nf4+ Kf7 45.Rh5 Bf6 46.Rxh7+ Kg8 47.Rb7



“At the spare day I am just going to take rest and prepare to my next match against Zhao Xue. I will also go to the supermarket to get some supplies and so will have a short walk”, – said Harika after the game. The player from India confessed that she is not often outside, so she is not bothered by the frost that attacked Khanty-Mansiysk these days.


Besides Kosintseva sisters, the additional match will be played between Irina Krush and Huang Qian. The Chinese managed to come back after her loss in the first game despite the black color.

Irina Krush was convincingly looking in the future, but her plans were ruined by Huang Qian


The third match which outcome will be decided on a tie-break is Natalia Zhukova – Ju Wenjun. Zhukova proved her strong character once again as she won the second game after the loss in the first one. She needed no more no less but 93 moves for it!

Ju Wenjun did not expect such a turn of events


Immediately after the game tired Zhukova agreed to give a short comment to the encounter.


N. Zhukova  – Ju Wenjun


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0–0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Nbd7 8.Nf3 Nc5 9.Nd2 a5 10.g4 Ne8 11.h4 f5 12.g5 Rf7 13.h5 Bf8 14.hxg6 hxg6 15.Qf3 Qd7 16.exf5 Qxf5 17.Qg3 e4 18.Qh4 Bg7 19.Ndxe4 Nxe4 20.Nxe4 Re7 21.Bd3 Qf3 22.Nd2 Rxe3+

Zhukova: “I managed to get a big advantage, in my situation one can only dream about such a position. My opponent also did not see how to defend, she had to give up the material. I took it and got an absolutely won position. One cannot say that she blundered because she simple had no defense. Everything went just perfect for me”.

23.fxe3 Qxe3+ 24.Be2 Bf5 25.Nf1 Qe5 26.Ng3 Qxb2


27.Qh7+ Kf8

Zhukova: “I very much liked that I had the possibility of the castling left. I even checked by my score sheet if it is still possible, if I moved my rook or king already. The point is that I myself was not exactly sure, but counted for 0-0. But everything was ok, the castle was possible”.

28.0–0 Bd4+ 29.Kh1 Ng7 30.Qh8+

30.Qxg6 was winning on the spot: 30….Qxa1 31.Nxf5, and Black has to say goodbye to the queen by Qxf1+ 32.Bxf1

Zhukova: “I saw the move Qg6, but played Qh8-a8 for some reason. I do not like this move, what for do I need two rooks when I am threatened a mate?! In that moment I had 30 seconds left, and the circus started on the board. With every move I was returning the material”.

30…Ke7 31.Qxa8 Be5 32.Qxa5

Zhukova: “What a horrible move Qa5! But at least I took a pawn”.

Right was 32.Rab1 Qd4 (impossible is 32…Bxb1 due to the mate after 33.Qf8+ Kd7 34.Rf7#), and then, for instance, returning with the queen 33.Qh8 with a winning position.

32…Bxg3 33.Qxc7+ Ke8 34.Rxf5

The only move with which she could continue fighting for a win.



34… Nxf5?

After 34…gxf5 Black do not let the queen trade, and keeps all the threats. It is very difficult for White to come up with something except the perpetual check.

35.Qc8+ Kf7 36.Qe6+ Kf8 37.Qf6+ Qxf6 38.gxf6 Be5 39.Re1 Ng3+ 40.Kg2 Bc3 41.Rb1 Nxe2 42.Rxb7 Bxf6 43.a4



43….Nf4+ 44.Kf3 Nd3 45.a5 Nc5 46.Ra7 Bd8 47.a6 Bb6 48.Ra8+ Ke7 49.a7 Nd7 50.Kf4 Ne5



51.Re8+ Kxe8 52.a8Q+

Zhukova: “Again I promoted a queen. Every game I am doing it, maybe my daughter taught me to do so! The position with unbalanced material – a queen against two pieces – happened on the board,it should be won, but not that easy to convert”.

52 …Ke7 53.Qb7+ Nd7 54.Kg5 Bd4 55.Kxg6 Bc5 56.Kf5 Bd4 57.Qc8 Be5 58.Qg8 Nc5 59.Qa8 Nd7 60.Qa7 Ke8 61.Qg1 Ke7 62.Qg5+ Ke8 63.Qh4 Nc5 64.Kg6 Nd7 65.Qf2 Nf8+ 66.Kf5 Nd7 67.Qa7 Bh2 68.Qc7 Be5 69.Qc8+ Ke7 70.Qg8 Nc5 71.Qh7+ Ke8



Zhukova: “I don’t even know how I managed to sneak with my king. It is a miracle. I understood that I should speculate with the move с5, but I could not really think as I had just a minute on the clock”.

72.Kg6 Kd8 73.Kf7 Kc7 74.Ke8+ Kb6 75.Qb1+ Kc7 76.Qb5 Nb7 77.Qc6+ Kb8 78.Qb6 Kc8 79.Ke7 Nc5 80.Qa7 Nb7 81.Ke6 Nd8+ 82.Kf5 Nb7 83.Qb6 Bh2 84.Qc6+ Kb8 85.Qe8+ Ka7 86.Ke6 Nc5+ 87.Ke7 Kb7 88.Kd8 Be5 89.Qb5+ Ka7 90.Kc8 Bf4 91.Qb8+ Ka6 92.Kc7 Ne6+ 93.dxe6



The last formalities

Now she can breathe, tie-break is in front!