Women WCh 2015 - Final (3-4)

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Mariya Muzychuk (UKR) is the 15th Women World Champion; congratulations! She defended her 1 point lead from game 2 with two highly combative draws in games 3 and 4. Natalija fought very hard to win a game: a) Game 3: the madness started with 12.e4 ... and lasted pretty much the whole game; still black held on with 3 pawns for a piece b) Game 4: black tried to take advantage of the aggressive play on the King side by white with 15.f4... and 19.g4 ...; however black did not seem to have enough firepower left and after 39.Re7 ... I believe white was better. Mariya sacrificed a piece for a couple of pawns with 41.Bxf7+ ... followed by an exchange sacrifice with 49.Kd5 ... Once that happened, the material advantage black had (Rook for 2 pawns) was just symbolic

[Event "WWCC2015"][Site "Sochi"][Date "2015.04.04"][Round "36.1"][White "Pogonina, Natalija (RUS)"][Black "Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR)"][Result "1/2-1/2"][ECO "D45"]1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Be2 a6 11. Ng5 Qc7 12. e4 Bxh2+ 13. Kh1 c5 14. e5 cxd4 15. exf6 Nxf6 16. f4 Bg3 17. Qd3 dxc3 18. Qxg3 h6 19. Nh3 Ne4 20. Qe1 Bb7 21. Bf3 cxb2 22. Bxb2 Qc2 23. Bxe4 Bxe4 24. Rf2 Qd3 25. Kh2 Rfd8 26. Rc1 Rac8 27. Rxc8 Rxc8 28. a3 Bd5 29. Rd2 Qg6 30. Qe5 f6 31. Qe3 Rc4 32. Rf2 Qf5 33. Bc3 Ra4 34. Bd2 a5 35. Qc5 Qd3 36. Bc1 Qc4 37. Qxc4 Rxc4 38. Bb2 b4 39. axb4 Rxb4 40. Bc3 Rb5 41. Rd2 a4 42. Bb2 Rb3 43. f5 a3 44. Bd4 Rb4 45. Nf4 a2 46. Nxd5 Rxd4 47. Nxf6+ gxf6 48. Rxa2 e5 49. Ra8+ Kf7 50. Ra7+ Ke8 51. Ra6 Ke7 52. Ra7+ Rd7 53. Ra6 Kf7 54. Kg3 Kg7 55. Kg4 Re7 56. Ra3 Kh7 57. Ra6 e4 58. Ra2 e3 59. Re2 Rg7+ 60. Kh4 Rg8 61. g4 Re8 62. Kg3 h5 63. gxh5 Kh6 64. Kf4 Re5 65. Rxe3 Rxe3 66. Kxe3 Kxh5 67. Kf4 1/2-1/2 [Event "WWCC2015"][Site "Sochi"][Date "2015.04.05"][Round "37.1"][White "Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR)"][Black "Pogonina, Natalija (RUS)"][Result "1/2-1/2"][ECO "C47"]1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. Nxd4 Bc5 6. Be3 Bb4 7. Bd3 Ne5 8. O-O O-O 9. Nd5 Nxd5 10. exd5 Re8 11. Be2 Bf8 12. Qd2 d6 13. h3 h6 14. Rae1 a6 15. f4 Nd7 16. Bf3 Nc5 17. Bf2 Rxe1 18. Rxe1 Bd7 19. g4 Be7 20. Kg2 Bh4 21. Bxh4 Qxh4 22. Qf2 Qf6 23. Kg3 a5 24. Qd2 g5 25. Bg2 b5 26. b3 Qg6 27. a3 gxf4+ 28. Qxf4 b4 29. axb4 axb4 30. Qd2 h5 31. Bf3 hxg4 32. hxg4 Rf8 33. Nc6 Bxc6 34. dxc6 Ne6 35. Qxb4 Qxc2 36. Qc4 Qb2 37. Bd5 Ng5 38. Qf4 Qg7 39. Re7 Ra8 40. Qe3 Qh6 41. Bxf7+ Nxf7 42. Qxh6 Nxh6 43. Rxc7 Nf7 44. b4 Ne5 45. b5 Rb8 46. Rb7 Rc8 47. Kf4 Nd3+ 48. Ke4 Nc5+ 49. Kd5 Nxb7 50. cxb7 Rd8 51. b6 Kf7 52. Kc6 Ke7 53. Kc7 Rd7+ 54. Kc6 Rd8 55. Kc7 Rd7+ 56. Kc6 Rd8

Women WCh 2015 - Final (2)

The second game of the final was a Ruy Lopez. It was a long positional battle as one would expect. Mariya was white and maintained for a long time a positional advantage. This forced Natalija to use a lot of time in order to find the proper defence. Mariya increased the pressure and in time trouble Natalija could not hold the position against the final assault on her King. Notice how black completely forgot about Bb7!

[Event "WWCC2015"][Site "Sochi"][Date "2015.04.03"][Round "35.1"][White "Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR)"][Black "Pogonina, Natalija (RUS)"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "5qk1/1b1r1p2/p2p1Pp1/P2Pn2p/1PpNP2P/6N1/1P1Q2K1/5R2 w - - 0 53"][ECO "C95"]53. Nf3 {53. Nxh5 ... is better} Ng4 54. Nxh5 gxh5 {This was the last straw. Black should not take that pawn if it wants to play longer. 54... Bc8 is needed} 55. Qg5+ Kh8 56. Qxh5+ Nh6 57. Kh2 Qg8 58. Rg1

Women WCh 2015 - Final (1)

Natalija and Mariya are unlikely finalists, facing each other in a 4 games match with possible tie break games in case of a tie! The first game was very quiet with both players content to play cautious, exchange pieces and reach a draw. Those interested in the Anti-Meran might like to save it to their database for reference.

[Event "WWCC2015"][Site "Sochi"][Date "2015.04.02"][Round "34.1"][White "Pogonina, Natalija (RUS)"][Black "Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR)"][Result "1/2-1/2"][ECO "D45"]1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Be2 a6 11. Rd1 Qc7 12. e4 e5 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. h3 Re8 15. Bg5 Nxf3+ 16. Bxf3 Be6 17. Rac1 Rad8 18. b3 Bh2+ 19. Kf1 Be5 20. Be3 h6 21. Ne2 Rxd1+ 22. Rxd1 Bc8 23. Kg1 Bb7 24. g3 Rd8 25. Rxd8+ Qxd8 26. Bg2 Bc7 27. Nf4 Nd7 28. Nd3 Bb6 29. Nc5 Bc8 30. Nxd7 Bxd7 31. Bc5 Bxc5 32. Qxc5 Qa5 33. a3 Be6 34. e5 Qe1+ 35. Kh2 Bxb3 36. Bxc6 Be6 37. Bg2 Qe2 38. Qb6 Qxe5 39. Qxa6 Qc5 40. Qa8+ Kh7

Women WCh 2015 - Semifinals (2)

After yesterday masteful endgame display by Pia, Natalija had to win. It is remarkable in this situation Pia decided to play the Sicilian and put a lot of faith into a Queenside dominance. This however resulted into negligence on the Kingside! Natalija correctly observed it and after good preparation it began the final assault with a swift attack. Her win tied the match; well deserved result for Natalija!

[Event "WWCC2015"][Site "Sochi"][Date "2015.03.30"][Round "29.2"][White "Pogonina, Natalija (RUS)"][Black "Cramling, Pia (SWE)"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "2rq4/1r1p1pk1/pp2p1pp/4P3/P1nRN3/2P3Q1/2P2PPP/4R1K1 w - - 0 27"][ECO "B28"]27. h4 Qc7 28. f4 b5 29. h5 Qd8 30. axb5 axb5 31. Qg4 Qe7 32. Rd3 Rg8 33. Nf6 Rh8 34. Rg3 d5 35. hxg6 fxg6 36. Qxg6+ Kf8 37. Ra1 Ra7 38. Nd7+

Women WCh 2015 - Semifinals (1)

Pia is a very experienced player. She got a small but persistent advantage and took it into a long endgame. We can enjoy her endgame technique; to me it is better than reading a book. Watch and learn!

[Event "WWCC2015"][Site "Sochi"][Date "2015.03.29"][Round "28.2"][White "Cramling, Pia (SWE)"][Black "Pogonina, Natalija (RUS)"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "8/1pk2p2/3r3p/PR1p2pP/3P2P1/3KP3/8/8 w - - 0 55"][ECO "D56"]55. e4 dxe4+ 56. Kxe4 Rf6 57. Rf5 Re6+ 58. Kd5 Rd6+ 59. Kc4 f6 60. Rb5 Re6 61. Kd5 Re3 62. Rb6 Rf3 63. Ke6 Rf4 64. d5 Re4+ 65. Kxf6 Rxg4 66. d6+ Kc8 67. Kg6 Rg1 68. Kxh6 g4 69. Kg7 g3 70. h6 Rh1 71. Rb2 Rh4 72. h7 Rg4+ 73. Kf6 Rh4 74. Kg6 Kd7 75. Rxb7+ Kxd6 76. Rb1 Ke5 77. a6 g2 78. Rg1 Rg4+ 79. Kh5