2017 Women’s World Championship: Finals

2017 Women's World Chess Championship, Tehran, Iran

A new woman will be declared World Champion as the knockout tournament dwindles down to two competitors. Both Tan Zhongyi and Anna Muzychuk had trod different paths to reach the final Zhongyi survived an intense tiebreak despite being on the brink of defeat in the Armageddon game.

On the other hand, Muzychuk has waltzed through her five competitors winning every match without tiebreaks. Odds would have her as the favorite since she is higher rated and has had more rest. However, Tan has showed tremendous grit and determination without the pressure of high expectations.

Tan has beaten Sabina Foisor (USA) 1½-½, Anna Ushenina (UKR) 4½-4½ (tiebreaks), Padmini Rout (IND) 3½-2½, Ju Wenjun (CHN) 1½-½ and Dronavali Harika (IND) 5-4… formidable competition. Muzychuk defeated Amina Mezioud (ALG) 2-0, Alina Kashlinskaya (RUS) 1½-½, Pham Le Thao (VIE) 2-0, Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL) 1½-½ and Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS) 2-0.

There will be four classical games with 40 moves in first 90 minutes and then 30m+30s. In the event of a equal score, the tiebreak will consist of two-game matches two rapid 25m+10s, two blitz 10m+10s, two blitz 5m+3s and one Armageddon will decide the match.

2017 Women’s World Chess Championship
February 10th-March 4th, 2017 (Tehran, Iran)
FINAL (Tan Zhongyi vs. Anna Muzychuk)
 
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pts.
Zhongyi
China
½
1
0
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Muzychuk
Ukraine
½
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Drum Coverage
| Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 |
| Semifinals | Finals |

Official Website: https://tehran2017.fide.com/
Live Games: https://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html
All PGN Games (TWIC): https://www.theweekinchess.com/

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

8 Comments

  1. Game #1: Match starts off slowly… Tan Zhongyi holds with ease
    Monday, 27 February 2017

    The first game of the final was a bit staid and not much content was seen in the battle. Tan played the “Fort Knox” French which is characterized by a quick Bd7-c6 maneuver to solidify the center. It is a solid setup that is difficult to breach. Muzychuk had an interesting plan. She wanted to set up an attacking formation with a bishop on b2, but was unable to get a sizable advantage.

    Tan’s kingside was compromised after 21.Bxf6, but there was nothing. Usually the queen and knight make a devastating attacking pair, covering many squares and patterns. However, the Chinese player even moved into a discovered check with 38…Kh8 to sure she had no fear. The game ended in a three-fold repetition.


    Game Result:
    Tan-Muzychuk, ½-½
    Match Score: Tan-Muzychuk, ½-½

    Game #1 from WWCC2017 (Finals)

    Official Website: https://tehran2017.fide.com/
    Live Games: https://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html
    All PGN Games (TWIC): https://www.theweekinchess.com/

  2. Game #2: China roars as Tan takes lead!
    Tuesday, 28 February 2017

    Tan Zhongyi, 2017 Women's World Chess Championship, Tehran, Iran

    After holding comfortably with the black pieces, the Chinese tried 5.Qd3!? instead of the normal 5.Bg5 or 5.e3. Perhaps Tan wanted to sidestep preparation. The game followed Mchedlishvili-Georgiev, but after 12.e5!? Tan grabbed space and pushed back black’s foray 13…Ng4. She continued to grab space after 19.Be4 Bxe4 20.Nxe4 Rhc8 21.f3 Nh6 22.g4. Black donated a pawn, but it did not relieve the pressure.

    Muzychuk swapped pawns to activate her rook, but the advantage turned over the kingside. White’s king marched up the board and participated in the mating attack. Black was looking for stalemating “crazy rook” tricks, but there was nothing left and after 55.Kg6 Ra1 55.Rf7 (55.Rxa1?? stalemate). Tan is in line to become the 5th Chinese World Champion, but Muzychuk still wants to be the 3rd Ukrainian.


    Game Result:
    Tan-Muzychuk, 1-0
    Match Score: Tan-Muzychuk, 1½-½

    Game #2 from WWCC2017 (Finals)

    Official Website: https://tehran2017.fide.com/
    Live Games: https://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html
    All PGN Games (TWIC): https://www.theweekinchess.com/

  3. Game #3: Muzychuk levels the score!
    Wednesday, 1 March 2017

    Anna Muzychuk stormed back today with a sacrificial attack.
    Photo by David Llada

    In the third game of the final match, Anna Muzychuk would play the white pieces and while she didn’t necessarily need to score a win, it may be her best chance. Thus far, Tan Zhongyi has played very well in this match, but perhaps her energy is fading. She played the French Defense once again, but the game entered classical lines.

    In fact, the game followed a couple of notable games (Shomeoev-Nepomniachtchi, 0-1 (51); Leko-Thorhallsson, 1-0 (34)), but instead of 12.Nb5 and 12.Qe1! Muzychuk played the natural-looking 12.Bd3. In these types of positions, there is a anticipation of whose attack will break through first. Both continued with the motif after 12…a6 13.h4 b5. GM Pavel Eljanov had this to say about the position…

    Muzychuk sat there transfixed at the board. There was a buzz coming from the commentator booth where Evgeny Miroschenko was analyzing 14.Bxh7 and 14.Ng5… both looked promising, but the former was speculative. The problem with this sacrifice was that if it didn’t work, the match could be over immediately. Muzychuk’s time was dwindling down. It was now or never. Then…

    Wham!

    Muzychuk admitted that the continuation was not clear and she didn’t see a forcing win. However, she is playing Tan Zhongyi and not Sergey Karjakin. In fact, black missed chances to defend more vigorously. After 14…Kxh7 15.Qd3+ Kg8 16.Ng5, black played the best move in 16…f5. With less than 10 minutes on the clock Muzychuk missed 17.Qe2! with a powerful attack and opted for 17.Nxd5.

    Tan simply ignored white’s attack at her peril. She could’ve held with 19…Nd5!

    Both Miro and Anastasia Kharlovich, both from the Ukraine, found it difficult to be objective as they didn’t examine the most stout defensive options for Tan. There was a lot of optimism in the Ukrainian camp, but when 19.Bd2?! was played, there was pause even though white was clearly better. Tan didn’t play the 19…Nd5 when the position becomes unclear after 20.Qf3. On Qh5, Black can always sacrifice a knight with Nf6 and fight a pawn down. However, Tan played 19.Rb8?? losing to 20.Qd6! after which she had a number of ways to finish the game. Muzychuk found 30.h6! Nf7 31.Rd7 Rxd6 32.Rxf7.

    Tan resigned and perhaps it is quite a blow for her. Holding a draw would have put immense pressure on Muzychuk. The Ukrainian is the reigning rapid and blitz champion and will be favored if they should go to tiebreaks. The fourth and possibly last game will be highly intense. Will they draw quickly and go for tiebreaks or will someone try a surprise and go for the crown?


    Game Result:
    Muzychuk-Tan, 1-0
    Match Score: Tan-Muzychuk, 1½-1½

    Game #3 from WWCC2017 (Finals)

    Official Website: https://tehran2017.fide.com/
    Live Games: https://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html
    All PGN Games (TWIC): https://www.theweekinchess.com/

  4. Tiebreaks: Tan Zhongyi wins the Women’s World Championship!
    Friday, 3 March 2017

    Today would be the finale’ of the Women’s World Chess Championship. After 20 days of mental combat, two heroines were left standing. In fact, it would be a “David vs. Goliath” type of match with Anna Muzychuk being the heavy favorite against China’s unheralded Tan Zhongyi.

    Anna Muzychuk
    Photo by David Llada

    Muzychuk was the reigning women’s rapid and blitz champion, and Tan had no such accomplishments. However, it is very difficult to know how strong Chinese players are since they play most of their tournaments locally. We saw relatively unknown Chinese Ni Shiqun reach the quarterfinals before being ousted by Alexandra Kosteniuk. One thing going to Tan was being battle-tested by playing the toughest opposition. On the other hand, Muzychuk would be playing her first tiebreak under tremendous pressure.

    The first game was a Petroff when the game steered into an aggressive treatment with 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3. This line features opposite side castling and takes on a Sicilian character. In this game, it appeared that Tan almost equalized, but Muzychuk was holding an edge in space. The Ukrainian then dove in with 19.Qxb7 believing that her king would be perfectly safe despite the open b-file. The queens came off, and white had a better pawn structure, but nothing that would lead to a decisive edge.

    Tan alertly sacrificed a pawn with 32…e4! to free her bishop. White still have a slight advantage with a rook on the 7th and an aggressive king. However, Tan played actively and was able to swap a few pawns, reducing her losing chances. Muzychuk was quietly trying to get at the bare black king with 49.Rh7+ Ke8 50.Be5, but perhaps overestimated black’s f-pawn and instead of 51.Ra7, traded rooks after 50…Rh2 51.Rxh2. The game fizzled quickly into a draw.

    The second game started as a Catalan, but the game quickly became unbalanced. Tan tried 15.Na4!? with the idea on 15…Nxa4 16.bxa4 white would generate queenside pressure. Black subsequently equalized and had a strong knight on d5. It appeared that black was making progress and decided to sack a pawn for piece play. The plan seemed to be paying off as Muzychuk generated a passed b-pawn and started racing it toward b1. However, a horrible blunder occurred after 38…b4 39.Qe5+. In this crucial position, black can continue with 39…Kg8 giving white a draw at any time, but she opted for the fatal 39…Kh6?? and after 40.g4 she was being mated!

    What a turn of events! In the two world championship matches, the h6-square was prominent in opposite ways… Carlsen’s brilliant Qh6+!! and the lowly black king being slain on h6. Awful to end world championship in such a way, but a deserving victory for Tan Zhongyi!

    Tiebreaks from WWCC2017 (Finals)

    Official Website: https://tehran2017.fide.com/
    Live Games: https://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html
    All PGN Games (TWIC): https://www.theweekinchess.com/

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