Monday 26 September 2016

In recent years Sochi has become a major world chess centre. Last November the World Championship match Carlsen vs Anand was held there, while recently Sochi hosted the Women's World Championship. 22-year old Ukrainian IM Mariya Muzychuk won this event, knocking out two former World Champions, GMs Stefanova (Bulgaria) and Koneru (India), on her way to the title. In the final, she defeated Russian IM Natalia Pogonina 2.5-1.5. I would like to show one game by the new World Champion. Her older sister GM Anna Muzychuk also did well in Sochi, reaching the quarter-finals.

Published 12/04/2015 | 02:30

In recent years Sochi has become a major world chess centre. Last November the World Championship match Carlsen vs Anand was held there, while recently Sochi hosted the Women's World Championship. 22-year old Ukrainian IM Mariya Muzychuk won this event, knocking out two former World Champions, GMs Stefanova (Bulgaria) and Koneru (India), on her way to the title. In the final, she defeated Russian IM Natalia Pogonina 2.5-1.5. I would like to show one game by the new World Champion. Her older sister GM Anna Muzychuk also did well in Sochi, reaching the quarter-finals.

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M. Muzychuk - Koneru

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6

3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5

5.Be3 Qf6 6.c3 Nge7

7.g3 d5 8.Bg2 dxe4

9.0-0 0-0 10.Nd2 Bb6

11.Re1 Nxd4 12.Nxe4 Qf5

13.Bxd4 Nc6 14.Bxb6 axb6

15.f4 Be6 16.b3 h6

17.h3 Ra3 18.Qd2 Qa5

19.b4 Qa4 20.g4 Rd8

21.Qf2 Rxa2 22.Rxa2 Bxa2

23.b5 Na7 24.g5 hxg5

25.Nxg5 f6?? (D)

Black's last move looks logical as Koneru tries to push the white Knight away. However, it turned out to be a blunder. Instead, Black had to reduce White's attacking potential by playing 25...Rd1!. After 26.Qe2 Rxe1+ 27.Qxe1 Qxb5 28.Qd2 Qb1+ 29.Kh2 g6 30.Qd8+ Kg7 31.Qd4+ Kg8 32.Qd8+ the game would end peacefully. Chess can be a cruel game as Black's first mistake became her last. White finished the game in style, twice using a well-known tactical theme called deflection:

26.Qd2! Rf8 27.Bd5+! Bxd5

28.Qxd5+ Kh8 29.Qf7! 1-0

Sunday Independent

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