Women’s World Championship Knockout 2012 / Rnd 2

by National Life Master Loal Davis



Round 3 featured another gem from Yifan Hou.


Click on the Diagram to step through the annotated game.

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  1. [Event “Women’s World Chess Cup 2012”]
    [Site “Khanty-Mansiysk”]
    [Date “2012.11.14”]
    [Round “3”]
    [White “Socko, Monika”]
    [Black “Hou, Yifan”]
    [Result “0-1”]
    [ECO “E12”]
    [WhiteElo “2445”]
    [BlackElo “2606”]
    [PlyCount “78”]
    [EventDate “2012.??.??”]
    [EventCountry “RUS”]

    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 {The Queen’s Indian Defense.} 4. a3 Ba6 5. Qb3 Be7 6. Nc3 c5 7. d5 exd5 8. cxd5 {Sliding into a Benoni Defense.} O-O 9. e4 Bxf1 { Normally Black has difficulty with the Queenside pieces; a cramp; too many pieces fighting for the same squares. But – an exchange or two (like this one) and Black can build up a promising Queenside majority combined with a Bishop on the long diagonal (g7) and an open e file for a Rook. Mikhail Tal worked wonders with the Benoni.} 10. Kxf1 d6 11. h3 Nbd7 12. Be3 a6 13. Kg1 b5 14. Qc2 Re8 15. Ne2 Bf8 16. Ng3 g6 17. Kh2 Bg7 18. Rhe1 Rc8 {It has taken awhile, but Black is ideally placed for taking over this game.} 19. Rad1 c4 20. Kh1 Nc5 21. Bxc5 Rxc5 22. Re2 h5 23. b4 {This can’t be right; it concedes a protected passed Pawn for Black.} Rc8 24. e5 {This stretches the rubber band of White’s position. This smacks of “I want” instead of what the position offers. The e5 break, when properly prepared, can be a strategic plus for White – but not here.} (24. Nd4 {has got to be better.}) 24… dxe5 25. Nxe5 h4 26. Nc6 Qd7 27. Nf1 Nxd5 {White’s center has crumbled.} 28. Red2 Qxc6 29. Rxd5 Qf6 30. Ne3 Qb2 31. a4 Qxc2 32. Nxc2 bxa4 33. Ra5 {The Queenside pawns are a mess – but Black still has harmonious activity and plays the final moves well.} Re2 34. Ne3 c3 35. Rc5 Rb8 36. Rc4 a3 37. Kg1 a2 38. Ra1 c2 39. Kf1 Rxe3 {A masterful game.} 0-1

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