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13 January 2020

Have Your Documents Ready for Inspection

Dmitry Kryakvin’s report on games 1-4 of the Ju Wenjun – Goryachkina match

The history of the women's world championship match would be too long a conversation for one lunch, as they say. In the late 1990s, following the scandal involving the forfeit of the world champion's title of Susan Polgar (having born a child, the famous Hungarian chess player’s requests to FIDE to have the title match postponed for six months lead to nothing. She then filed a lawsuit, but...), the beautiful half of humanity found herself deprived even of nominal equality with men in chess. The last competition for the world throne of full value was the Xie Jun – Galliamova match of 1999, the prehistory of which was not smooth either. The match did take place, the first half in China (as in 2020), and the second half in Russia.

For the following two decades, the beautiful sex was forced to bring to the front the strongest player via an endless series of knockout events, a winner of which was not always objectively the strongest in the world. The Russians came to claiming the title on many occasions as Ekaterina Kovalevskaya and Svetlana Matveeva reached the semi-finals; Alexandra Kosteniuk, Natalija Pogonina, and Ekaterina Lagno qualified in the finals, but luck sided only with Alexandra Kosteniuk – the last athlete to stop the great Hou Yifan.

Later, FIDE took pity on the poor women, and there arose a very weird mixed format in which winners of the knockout and classic Grand Prix series were pitted against each other. Hou Yifan used to be the best here for long, but then the Chinese admitted to being bored by women's qualification cycles lasting as long as 11.5 months per year. There was no guarantee of winning the knockout on-demand on the one hand, whereas participating in the women's Grand Prix left her no time to compete with men and otherwise not contributed to her progress in chess, on the other hand.

The scheduled FIDE presidential election could not have come at a more opportune moment, which Arkady Dvorkovich ended up winning. Equal rights for women was one of the main items of the election program of the seventh president of the International Chess Federation, and Arkady Dvorkovich did live up to his promise. Kazan was a venue of the Candidates Tournament, just as in the old days. Even though Hou Yifan refused to participate, the eight other best did not fail to show up. Having finished ahead of Ekaterina Lagno and Anna Muzychuk, the right to challenge Ju Wenjun went to the rising star of Russian chess Aleksandra Goryachkina.

The first half of the match of 12 games is staged in Shanghai, China. The second half is taking place in Vladivostok, and you can read up on what is going on from Eteri Kublashvili’s reports in Russian coming from the theater of action. Goryachkina is assisted by her coach Konstantin Landa, with whom she has started collaborating since the Candidates, as well as the permanent national team coaches Sergei Rublevsky and Evgeniy Najer. Backing up Ju Wenjun are all GMs of China, whom the Communist Party managed to call to active duties. I would not overestimate this fact: the chess elite of the Celestial Empire is divided into clans, and there is no love lost among them, but one should not underestimate it either.

Battles begin in the morning by Moscow time, and if you are an early bird, there is something to catch your eye. Sergey Shipov is a long-established commentator in Russian, doing the same in English and laughing contagiously even at the tensest moments is Nigel Short. Let me add that the Youtube coverage of the match “on behalf of the people” is realized by GM Karina Ambartsumova. For game one, Karina's guest was the Olympic champion as part of the Russian national team Nadezhda Kosintseva, now residing in the USA. For game three Karina was assisted by the current Russian champion Olga Girya, celebrating the New Year in a new, dazzling hair color. I recommend watching it: shouldn't there also be a female look at women's chess, after all?



In game one, the white pieces were with the Russian, and this probing encounter has so far remained the longest in the current confrontation.


Goryachkina – Ju Wenjun 

Game 1

Catalan Opening


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.g3 0–0 6.Bg2 dxc4 7.Ne5 c5 8.dxc5 Qxd1+ 9.Nxd1 Bxc5 10.0–0 Nc6

This is a tabiya typical of Catalan when White is not in a hurry to recapture the c4-pawn and, having exchanged off queens, is after getting a favorable ending thanks to the c8-bishop being confined yet. They used to take back the sacrificed material immediately, but a new continuation has come into the trend as of lately.

11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.Be3



 

12…Bb6

Less precise is 12...Bxe3?! 13.Nxe3 c3 14.bxc3 Nd5 15.c4 Nxe3 16.fxe3 Ba6 17.Rfc1 c5 18.Nd3 Rac8 19.Rab1 Rfd8 20.Rb3 Rd6 21.Ra3 f6 22.Ra5, as in Firouzja – Abdusattorov, 2019, and an unpleasant pawn down rook ending is looming large for Black.

13.Bxb6 axb6 14.Nxc6

By this moment the runner-up had some 20 minutes burned on her clock, and there is no definite saying about this recapture being part of her homework. White used to resort to 14.Nc3 in this position, and Anish Giri managed to upset a recognized connoisseur of the endgame Dmitry Jakovenko, but at the last European Cup Black came back with a more accurate move order: 14…Bd7 15.Rfd1 Ra7 16.Rd6 Rc8 17.Nxc4 Be8 18.Nxb6 Rb8 19.Nc4 Rb4 20.b3 Rxb3 21.axb3 Rxa1+ 22.Rd1 Rxd1+ 23.Nxd1 Kf8 24.f3 Nd7 25.Nc3 e5 26.Kf2 f6 27.b4 Nb8 28.Nd6 Na6 29.Nxe8 Kxe8 30.b5 cxb5 31.Nxb5 with a draw, as in Ponomariov – Dominguez, 2019.

The opponents’ ideas have so far remained behind the scenes as in game three the Chinese opted for the improved Tarrasch.

14...Bb7 15.Nb4 Nd5 16.Nxd5 Bxd5 17.Nc3 Bc6 18.Rfd1 Rfd8 19.f3 Kf8 20.Kf2 Ke7 21.Rxd8 Rxd8 22.Ke3



The endgame is equal and takes Black only some precise play as there is no space disadvantage, and the bishop is potentially strong. Meanwhile, White has no objects to hook up to despite the c4-pawn being somewhat detached from its own forces and occupying the square of the same color with the bishop. Ju Wenjun plays all over the board, as if trying to demonstrate that her dynamical capabilities will always compensate for potential weaknesses. For some reason, the Anand-Carlsen match of 2013 came to mind in which the Indian treated the final part of the games in a similar fashion, but Magnus first drew attention to the weakened pawns and then successfully did away with all of them.

22…e5 23.Rd1 Ra8 24.a3 Ke6 25.Na2 Ba4 26.Rd2 f6 27.Kf2 Bc6 28.e4 g6 29.Ke3 f5 30.exf5+ gxf5 31.f4 h5 32.fxe5 Kxe5 33.Rd4 b5 34.Nc3 Ra7 35.Ne2 Be8?!

A tougher 35...Bd5 36.Nf4 Bf7 would have been more precise. Now White is given a chance to activate the rook, and prior to time control the world champion several unpleasant moments to go through.

36.Rd8 Re7 37.Nf4 Kf6+ 38.Kd2 Re5 39.Nd5+ Kf7 40.Rd6 Bc6 41.Nf4 Bf3




It was worth going for 42.Rh6! because 42…Kg7? 43.Re6 Rxe6 44.Nxe6+ Kf6 45.Nd4 is losing for Black. However,, Black is solid after 42...Re8!, and it will take Magnus Carlsen's technique to grind a win from this position. By the way, in the above-mentioned game Magnus didn’t move the pawn from h2, it played into his hands in the end.

42.h4 Bg4 43.Rd5

There is no winning the pawn: 43.Rh6 Re8 44.Nxh5 Re2+ 45.Kc3 Re3+, and Black restores the material balance.

43...Kf6 44.Rxe5

You can go back to 44.Rd7, which is recommended by the engine. However, White is short on ideas, and Alexandra was aware of this. Alas, with rooks off the board, Ju Wenjun is in time to keep all her pawns safe due to her active king and a ubiquitous bishop.

44...Kxe5 45.Ke3 Bd1 46.Ng6+ Kf6 47.Nf8 Ke5 48.Nd7+ Ke6 49.Nb8 Kd5 50.Na6 Ke5 51.Nb4 Bg4 52.Nc2 Bd1 53.Nd4 Ba4 54.Ne2 Bd1 55.Nd4 Ba4

 


This is Black's important defensive stance, which cannot be taken down. There is no zugzwang either. Goryachkina showed perseverance, having maintained tension for the entire 50 moves and visiting the majority of squares with the knight in the hope of forcing her opponent commit a mistake. However, the Chinese held her ground to the end.

56.Nc6+ Kd6 57.Nd8 Ke5 58.Nf7+ Ke6 59.Ng5+ Ke5 60.Nh3 Bd1 61.Nf4 Bg4 62.Ng2 Bd1 63.Ne1 Bg4 64.Nc2 Bd1 65.Nb4 Ba4 66.Na2 Bb3 67.Nc3 Ba4 68.Kf3 Kd4 69.Ke2 Kc5 70.Ke3 Bc2 71.Ne2 Bd1 72.Nd4 Bg4 73.Nc2 Bd1 74.Nb4 Bg4 75.Na2 Bd1 76.Kd2 Bf3 77.Nc3 Bc6 78.Ke3 Bd7 79.Ne2 b4 80.axb4+ Kxb4 81.Kd2 Bc6 82.Nf4 Bf3 83.Ne6 Bg4 84.Kc2 Bf3 85.Nd4 Bg4 86.Kd2 Kc5 87.Ke3 Kd5 88.Nb5 Kc5 89.Nc3 Kb4 90.Kd4 Kb3 91.Nd5 Be2 92.Ne3 Bd3 93.Kc5 Be2 94.Kd5 Bd3 95.Kd4 Be2 96.Kc5 Bd3 97.Kd4 Draw.

    

Collage from the Facebook page of Emil Sutovsky



In game two, the Russian took her opponent by surprise with the Berlin line of Ruy Lopez that she used to employ four years earlier on a regular basis. Ju Wenjun had nothing up her sleeve against this opening choice.


Ju Wenjun – Goryachkina

Game 2

Ruy Lopez


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0–0 Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nxe5 8.Rxe5 0–0 9.d4 Bf6 10.Re2 Nc4 11.b3 Nb6

 


The reliability of this move was proved in the latest games Fedoseev - Kramnik, Nepomniachtchi - Grischuk, and Anand - Karjakin. The Russian uncorked a slight improvement 12…с6, and it was complete equality on the board from then on.

12.c3 c6 13.Nd2 d5 14.h3 Bf5 15.Nf3 Be4 16.Ne5 Bg5 17.f3 Bf5 18.Bxg5 Qxg5 19.Qc1 Qxc1 20.Rxc1 f6 21.Ng4 h5 22.Ne3 Bd3 23.Ree1 Bxf1 24.Kxf1 g6 25.g4 hxg4 26.hxg4 Kf7 27.Kf2

There is complete symmetry on the chessboard, and the women's chess is not alien to quick draws.

27…Rh8 28.Rh1 Rae8 29.Ng2 Nc8 30.Nf4 Nd6 31.Nd3 g5 32.a4 a5 33.Rxh8 Rxh8 34.Kg2 Re8 35.Kf2 Rh8 36.Kg2 Re8 37.Kf2 Rh8 38.Kg2 Re8 39.Kf2 Rh8 40.Kg2 Re8 Draw.

Below is yet another parallel with the already mentioned world championship matches of the 1990s. One of the first ardent fighters with the draws of recent times was the philanthropist from Spain, Senor Rentero. After the first two games ended in draws in the 1996 world match between Xie Jun and Susan Polgar, the sponsor started an uproar and voiced his intention to fine those who allegedly arrived for tourist purposes. A scandal erupted in which the team’s headquarters filed protests. Rentero withdrew his complaint, but in the heat of the moment the Chinese plunged headlong into an open battle and ended up suffering a crushing defeat. I think, however, that nothing of the kind is going to work with iron ladies of modern times. Besides, you will never suspect the opponents of tourist purposes when seeing their determined facial expressions.

The first stretch of the fight was well summed up by the FIDE General Director Emil Sutovsky: «With only two games of the women's world championship match over, it is already clear that this is going to be one of the tensest matches in the history of women's chess. The opponents are just probing each other.    The stony stares of Alexandra Goryachkina moving her knight all over the board in search of the slightest winning chance leave little room for smiles in this match. The world champion is aware of it as well.     Two games. Two draws.    Having resorted to 1.е4 in the second game, the champion got an edge. However, she was not resolute enough, which led to a drawn position, and, which is typical, a fourfold repetition of the position happened, because no one wanted to claim a draw. This match is worth watching even if you are not a fan of women’s chess.   

After the rest day, Goryachkina continued to put pressure on her opponent. Even though her opening was unpretentious, Ju Wenjun’s failure to capitalize on a tactical opportunity that turned up resulted in her situation deteriorating steadily.

 

Photo credit: Eteri Kublashvili

 

Goryachkina – Ju Wenjun

Game 3

Semi-Tarrasch Defence


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c5

With the change of opening Black still aims at safety first. The improved Tarrasch, or the improved Kramnik, is a very solid choice which makes upsetting the defender a hard nut to crack.

5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4+ 9.Bd2 Bxd2+ 10.Qxd2 0–0 11.Bc4 Nd7 12.0–0 b6 13.a4 Bb7 14.Rfe1 Rc8 15.Bd3 a5

 


Black has sustained quite a number of White’s attempts at breaking down his defensive formations! White has essayed 16.h3, 16.Rab1, 16.Ra3, 16.Bb5, and even 16.Qe3. However, the reality is not so simple - even though the white pawn blocks two black ones on the queenside, the dark side has the c-line for counterplay, and the drawing margin in chess is known to be huge.

16.Qb2 Qe7 17.Nd2 Rfd8 18.Rab1!?

Black’s resources is best demonstrated by 18.Bf1 Rc7 19.Rac1 Rdc8 20.Rxc7 Rxc7 21.f3 h6 22.Bb5 Qd8 23.Rc1 Rxc1+ 24.Qxc1 Nb8 25.Qc3 Bc6! as in Moranda – Kveinys of 2013, and Black had absolutely no challenge in making a draw. Goryachkina treats the position way more trickier by leaving the f1-square for the knight transfer while eyeballing the c2-square with her bishop to prevent the black rook from infiltrating along the c-file.

18...Bc6 19.Bc2 h6 20.Nf1 Qg5 21.Ne3 Ba8 22.f3 Rc7 23.Bd3?

White should have rather opted for 23.Kh1 or 23.Rbd1, retaining a slight edge and implementing the plan from the game without the risk of running into counterplay.

 


 

23...Rdc8?

– I think Ju Wenjun simply missed something in the 23…Ne5 line, such as 24. dxe5 Rxd3 25. Qxb6 Rb7! The text results in a gradual deterioration of her position, which could have been otherwise had she capitalized on the opponent's error (S.Rublevsky).

Indeed, let us check the consequences of 23...Ne5! 24.dxe5 Rxd3 25.Qxb6 Rb7! Although White does not go down immediately after 26.h4! Qxh4 27.Qxa5 Rxb1 28.Rxb1 (28.Qxa8+? Rd828...Bxe4 29.Qe1 Qf4, she is up against the grim task of struggling for a draw.

24.Ba6 Bb7 25.Bxb7 Rxb7

The trade of the light-squared bishops has secured the a4-pawn and enables Goryachkina to launch a central breakthrough to her advantage.

26.Qf2 Qd8 27.Red1 Nf6 28.d5!

The classic games of Petrosian, Spassky and Korchnoi give us the idea of how potent the passing d-pawns can be in the Tarrasch when supported by the minor and major pieces.

28…Rd7 29.Rd4 Qe7 30.Rbd1 

 


30...Rcd8?!

The engine is not confused by 30...exd5 31.Nf5 Qe6 32.Qg3 Ne8, while the world champion takes a purely human decision to ditch a pawn and go for the endgame in which its conversion is going to be extremely hard.

31.Nc4 exd5

31...Qc5 would have been worth looking into, but the Chinese is after reducing as much material as possible.

32.Nxb6 Rb7 33.Nxd5 Nxd5 34.exd5 Qd6 35.h3 Rdb8 36.Qe1 Rb4

White is up a pawn, but what to do next? The passer is blockaded, and the a-pawn is an issue. Meanwhile, the king's shelter is not at its best formation as the f3-pawn should have been better placed on f2. In this case, White could have arranged her pawns in a “breakwater” formation f2,g3,h4 without any fears of the opponent’s potential counterplay.

37.Re4 g6 38.Kh1 h5

 


On the other hand, Ju Wenjun improves her position with every move. It was probably worth marking time with 39.Qc3 and postpone committal decision making until after time control. Who knows if something might turn up in the meanwhile? At least, there could have arisen an endgame with an extra d-pawn for White, something which Magnus himself once lost. The Russian rushed in with premature activities and immediately transposed into a drawn rook ending.

39.Re8+?! Rxe8 40.Qxe8+ Kg7 41.Qc6 Qxc6 42.dxc6 Rc4 43.Rd5 Rxc6 44.Rxa5 Rc1+ 45.Kh2 h4!

With the white king boxed in, the winning method named after Dvoretsky-Inarkiev is no longer working for White in this position. Goryachkina did her best, but the world champion had no problems making a draw.

46.Rd5 Ra1 47.a5 f5 48.g4 Ra2+ 49.Kg1 fxg4 50.hxg4 Kh6 51.Rb5 g5 52.Rb6+ Kg7 53.a6 Kh7 54.Rb7+ Kg6 55.a7 Kh6 56.Kf1 Kg6 57.Ke1 h3 58.Rb2 Ra1+ 59.Kf2 h2 60.a8Q Rxa8 61.Kg2 Rh8 62.Rb1 Ra8 63.Kxh2 Ra2+ 64.Kg3 Rc2 65.Rf1 Ra2 66.Rf2 Ra3 67.Rd2 Ra6 68.Kf2 Re6 69.Re2 Ra6 70.Ke3 Re6+ 71.Kd3 Rd6+ 72.Kc4 Kf6 73.Ra2 Ke5 74.Ra5+ Kf4 75.Rf5+ Kg3 76.Kc3 Rd8 77.Kc4 Rd7 78.Kc5 Rd3 79.Rxg5 Rxf3 80.Rg8 Kh4 81.g5 Kh5 82.g6 Kh6 83.Kd5 Rg3 84.Rh8+ Kg7 85.Rh1 Draw.

“Have your documents ready for inspection” tactics continued into game four, but this time it was the world champion's time to inspect them. Alas, the Russian failed to prove that her trumps are enough to secure half a point. This tense and close match has seen Ju Wenjun score the first goal.


Ju Wenjun – Goryachkina

Game 4

Slav Defence


1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 e6 6.e3 c5 7.Bxc4 cxd4 8.exd4 Nc6 9.0–0 Be7

This is definitely Sergei Rublevsky's initiative as the chief coach of the women’s national team has employed this line as Black on more than one occasion. I remember our over-the-board encounter in which a thought flashed at me whether I should go for d4-d5? An inner voice told me that it was unprincipled and wrong in general. It all ended in the endgame, in which my d4-pawn was appropriated from me. However, chess has changed since then, and many years later I had no doubts about moving the pawn against David Paravyan.

10.d5 exd5 11.Nxd5 Nxd5 12.Bxd5 0–0 13.Be3 

 


13...Bf5

In 2017 had no problems equalizing against Kantor after 13...Bf6 14.Qb3 Qe7 15.Rad1 Be6 16.Bxe6 Qxe6 17.Qxb7 Rfb8, and Goryachkina's approach is sufficient as well. I do not expect the line to be repeated again as it was clearly intended for one game only.

14.Qb3 Nb4 15.Rfd1 Qa5 16.Ne5 Nxd5 17.Rxd5 Qa6 18.Nd7 Be6!

The exchange is taken back immediately.

19.Nxf8 Kxf8 20.Qb5 Bxd5 21.Qxd5 Rd8 22.Qe4 h6 23.g3 b6 24.Rc1

 


 

With full symmetry on the board, White’s pieces are slightly more active. Therefore, Black should have attempted to improve her own with 24...Bf6 25.Kg2 Re8 26.Qc6 Qd3 27.b4 Bg5=. Goryachkina's somewhat exposed light squares and pawn structure account for her subsequent sufferings.

24…f6?! 25.Kg2 Rc8 26.Rxc8+?!

26.Rc6! would have lead to a better version of the rook trade for White.

26...Qxc8 27.Qd5 Ke8 28.h4 Qd7 29.Qg8+ Bf8 30.Qc4 h5 31.Kh2 Be7 32.b3 Kf8 33.Qc2 Bd6

Using White's indecisive play, the Russian consolidated and could have drawn immediately due to the white king not defending the f2-pawn: 33...Bb4 34.Qe4 Qe7 35.Qd5 Bc5 36.Bxc5 Qxc5 37.Qa8+ Kf7 38.Qxa7+ Kg6 39.Kg2 Qc6+.

34.Qe4 Bc5

34...Be7 would have been a more practical approach. Not that the bishops are traded, the c5-pawn becomes an isolani and an eternal headache in view of potential pawn endings that may arise if the queens are exchanged off.

35.Bxc5+ bxc5 36.a5! Qe7 37.Qa8+ Kf7 

 

This is when Sergey Shipov started expressing his worries about the runner-up's position.

  

38.a6 g6 39.Qd5+ Kg7 40.Qb7 Kf8

If you aim at building up a fortress with 40...Kf7! 41.Kg2 f5 42.Kf3 Kf6 43.Qxe7+ Kxe7 44.Kf4 Kf6, you need to see 45.f3 g5+! 46.hxg5+ Kg6 47.g4 fxg4 48.fxg4 h4 in your advanced calculations. By the way, in the book about Goryachkina “Small Steps to Big Chess” by R. Ovechkin and D. Kryakvin, a whole chapter is devoted to how the young champion was haunted by failures in pawn endings and how she was solving the issue. And now, in a real match, the world champion is putting Goryachkina to solve a puzzle in the best traditions of Dr. Grigoriev.

41.Kg2 Ke8

There is no 41...f5? due to 42.Kf3 Kf7 43.Kf4.

42.Qa8+ Kf7 43.Qd5+ Kg7 44.Kf3 Kf8

Black feels no danger coming. A precise 44...g5! would have stopped further activation of the white king and was instrumental for the upcoming pawn ending.

45.Qb7 

 


 

45...Ke8? (45...g5!) 46.Qd5

Winning was 46.Qxe7+ Kxe7 47.g4, as we will see further, and the pawn ending is likely to go down into textbooks. It is full of tricky nuances that are hard to see from afar in a real game, not to mention the players fatigue. So, you would better not throw stones at Ju Wenjun for not exchanging off the queens right away. Everyone of us would not have been immune to doubts if we were in her shoes...” (S.Shipov)

46...Kf8 47.Kf4 Qc7+ 48.Ke3?

Stronger is 48.Ke4! Qc8 49.Qd6+ Kf7 50.Kd5, and White is likely to succeed without having to calculate many lines connected with transposing into a pawn ending.

48...Qc8 49.Qb7 Qd8 50.Kf3 Qe7?

A cold-blooded 50...Ke8! was the only way for Black. Strange as it may seem, there is no clear-cut course for White to take in this position. Ju manages to have a pawn ending calculated to the very end from the second attempt.

51.Qxe7+! Kxe7 52.g4 Kd6

Black loses after 52...hxg4+ 53.Kxg4 Ke6 54.f4 f5+ 55.Kg5 Kf7 56.h5 or 52...Ke6 53.gxh5 gxh5 54.Ke4, but what if the black king will rush off towards the unprotected а6 and b3-pawns?

53.gxh5 gxh5 54.Ke4 Kc6 (bad is 54...Ke6 55.Kf4) 

 

It now seems that the white king is in need of going for the f6-pawn...


55.f4 Kb5 56.Kd5!

56.Kf5 Kb4 57.Kxf6 Kxb3 results in a draw, but White’s idea has a lot more to it than that.

56...f5 (56...Kb4 57.f5!) 57.Kd6! Kb6

Losing is 57...Kb4 58.Kc6 Kxb3 59.Kxc5 Kc3 60.Kc6, and resorting to opposition helps neither.

58.Kd7! Ka5

The basic line runs 58...Kxa6 59.Kc6 Ka5 60.Kxc5 Ka6 61.b4 Kb7 62.Kd5 Kb6 63.Ke5 Kb5 64.Kxf5 Kxb4 65.Kg6 a5 66.f5 a4 67.f6 a3 68.f7 a2 69.f8Q+, and the pawn is queening with a check! This is a study-like position.

59.Kc7 Kxa6 60.Kc6 Ka5 61.Kxc5 

 


 

61...Ka6

61...a6 62.b4+ Ka4 63.Kc4 Ka3 64.b5 axb5+ 65.Kxb5 Kb3 66.Kc5 will help Black neither.

62.b4 Kb7 63.Kd5 Black resigns.

What a bitter defeat for the runner-up! Having been given a goal-scoring opportunity, Ju Wenjun immediately took the lead, although the first three games were clearly marked by the runner-up’s psychological and gaming initiative. It’s good that the fourth game is followed by a rest day. Well, with only two games left to play in China, Vladivostok's native walls will already be on Goryachkina's side.

We are looking forward to more tests and endgame masterpieces. My next report will come out after game eight. See you then!



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