2020 Women’s Chess Championship: Game #4

Ju 1-0 Goryachkina
8th January 2020

Goryachkina played 24…f6 putting the game in serious danger.

Ju Wenjun pulled out front with a decisive victory with the white pieces after Aleksandra Goryachkina was unable to plug holes in her defense. White enjoyed the smallest of advantages throughout the opening, but started to increase her grip on space. The game had a minimum of pieces, but it was rich in complications. At the stodgy part of the game Nigel Short and Zhang Xiaowen were critical of black’s play, particularly the moved 24…f6?

This horribly weakened the light squares and restricted the mobility of the bishop. There were so many tactical problems with black’s exposed king and weakened structures. In addition to the weaknesses, black would most certainly have to trade queens, but this would allow white to place a rook on the seventh with winning chances.

Goryachkina panicked with 50…Qxe7 and Ju calculated the position to win.

Black managed to get the rooks off, but the white queen soon ruled the board. The black bishop was ineffective, so black traded it off, but had to concede another weakness in her pawn structure. Goryachkina seemed to be trading one weakness for another. Certainly a queen ending may give her the best chances to draw, but the black queen became terribly overloaded to various weaknesses.

Goraychkina begin to run out of ideas to defend the position and attempted fate by going into a pawn ending. Interestingly, Ju missed a chance to win earlier with 46.Qxe7+ and winning the ensuing ending. Neither saw the win. They repeated the patter and this time, Ju had calculated a win after black offered an exchange of queens after 50…Qe7 51.Qxe7+! Kxe7 52.g4!

After this the Chinese player executed the ending very precisely and there were a lot of instructive moment such as the point in which black’s king had to realize that white queens with check at the end of a race. This would be a crushing loss for Goryachkina after having her chances in the previous game. The pressure now will be on the Russian team to find a way to equalize before the match moves to Russia. They will have a rest day before the fifth game of the match.

Video by FIDE

Match Score: Ju 2½ – Goryachkina 1½

Official Site: https://wwcm2020.fide.com/
Match Regulations: https://handbook.fide.com/ (PDF)
Games (ChessBase): http://live.chessbase.com/watch/FIDE-WWCC-2020
Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2020/01/05/2019-womens-chess-championship-ju-vs-goryachkina/

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.

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