The second games of the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Chess Championship brought two decisive outcomes, although objectively there should have been three of them, and send three pares out of four to determine the winner on the tie-break.  

 

The last Russian competitor leaves the championship. Nadezhda Kosintseva conducted her black game against Anna Ushenina rather unconvincingly, and lost to the mighty center of White. Ushenina, who creatively sacrificed a pawn in this game, noted that this is her first time in the semifinals of the world forums. The Ukrainian is the only one of the players who can enjoy some rest during the spare day while the others will fight in the additional games.

 

Anna Ushenina shows the best world championships performance in her career

Tatiana’s support did not save Nadezhda from elimination 

For Harika Dronavalli this semifinal can become the first one, as at the previous championship that was held in 2010 in Turkish Mardin she didn’t manage to be in the best four. To surpass her previous performance she’d have to win the tie-break against Chinese Zhao Xue who gave her the amnesty in the second classical game of the match.

 

Harika Dronavalli – Zhao Xue

 

 

Black has three extra pawns and a completely won position. As Harika Dronavalli said after the game, in her opinion practically any move wins for her opponent, except the one that Zhao actually played.

For instance,  66…Qe6 67.Qc7+ Nd7 leaves no problems for Black.

Chinese players are known for their great calculation skills. However, here “the program” gave an error: 66...exf3??

White, almost not believing her luck, immediately gave a saving perpetual: 67.Qc7+ Kh8 68.Qe5+ Kh7 69.Qc7+ Kh8 70.Qe5+ Kh7   Draw

 

The grandmother of Harika Dronavalli fuels the strength and confidence in her granddaughter

 

The Chinese would have to embrace herself after such an outcome to come back to the fight at the tie-break. Very soon we will see if she manages it.

The one who for sure does not have any problem showing her champion character is Antoaneta Stefanova who managed to win back with White against Marie Sebag in a very complex game.

 

Marie Sebag

 

Antoaneta Stefanova  – Marie Sebag 

 

23.Kg2 Qg6+

Black sacrificed a pawn in the Slav defence and opened up the position of White’s king.

 

 

24.Kf1 Qh5 25.Kg2 Qg6+ 26.Kf1 Qh5

Draw does not favor White, because it equals the loss in the match, so Stefanova declines it in the only possible way by giving h3 pawn.

27.Be2 Qxh3+ 28.Ke1 Be5 29.Nc3 Rfd8 30.Qb5 Bd4 31.Qxb7 Bxe3 32.Rxd8+

After 32.fxe3 Black gives the desired perpetual check Qh1+ 33.Bf1 Qh4+ 34.Ke2 Qh2+

32…Rxd8 33.Qc

 

The key moment of the game. In this position Sebag played 33…Bd2+. Some of Internet media wrote that the French missed the perpetual check with this move, but it is really that simple?

Computer suggests to keep the d-file and attack the queen: 33…Rd7, but after 34.Qb8+ Kh7 35.fxe3 ( 35.Rd1 is met by 35…Qh1+ 36.Bf1 Bd4, and the mighty bishop in the center promises White the advantage) 34…Qh4+ 36.Kf1 in fact there is no perpetual check – White queen from b8 controls the squares h2 and g3. Probably, it is the best for Black to take the rook with 36….Qh1+ 37.Kf2 Qxa1, but the position after 38.e5 is full of play and probably even favors White.

34.Kd1 Rc8 35.Qb7 Bf4?

Left without the conterplay, after what Stefanova steadily converted her advantage.

Black had a good opportunity to simplify a game a little by 35…Bxc3 36.bxc3 Rf8 (threatening the check on the 1st) 37.Kc2 Qg2, attacking white kingside pawns. This counterplay keeps Black on the track.

36.Kc2 Qe6 37.Qa6 Rc6 38.Qc4 Qe5 39.a4 Rd6 40.Rd1 Rxd1 41.Nxd1 Qd6 42.Ne3 Nd7 43.a5 Ne5 44.Qd5 Nc6 45.Qxd6 Bxd6 46.a6 Bb8 47.Kc3 Nb4 48.Nd5 Nc6 49.Kc4 Ba7 50.Nc3 h5 51.Nb5 Bb6 52.Nd6 Na7 53.f4 h4 54.Bg4 Kf8 55.Nc8 Nxc8 56.Bxc8 Ke7 57.Kb5 Ba7 58.Kc6 c4 59.Kb7 Bxf2 60.a7 Bxa7 61.Kxa7 Kd6 62.Kb6 g5 63.fxg5 Ke5 64.Bf5 Kd4 65.Kc6

1–0

Match Stefanova – Sebag will continue on the tie-break.

Antoaneta became the 10th women’s world champion in 2004 winning the knock-out championship in Elista. In the second and third rounds of her star championship Stefanova played hard tie-breaks against Tatiana Vasilevich and Natalia Zhukova, winning both only in blitz.

In the quarterfinals the Bulgarian won the first game against Nana Dzagnidze but lost in the second, and succeeded in the additional rapid games. In the semifinals she passed Maia Chiburdanidze, and in the final was stronger than Ekaterina Kovalevskaya – she won both matches in the main games.

It would be interesting to make parallels but at the moment the only coincidence with 2004 Championship is that the quarterfinal match of Stefanova won’t go without a tie-break.

 

Chinese players Ju Wenjun and Huang Qian will also decide for the strongest in the additional games as they chose not to cross the swords in the second classical game, making a move in 17 moves. Their first game ended the last, and perhaps both wanted to have some rest.