16th January 2020
— International Chess Federation (@FIDE_chess) January 16, 2020
Play resumed today in Vladivostok where British commentator Nigel Short reported bone-chilling temperatures of -23C. It was anticipated that there would be some fireworks at the board, but it fizzled to a draw after 67 moves… another marathon. It appears that stamina and nerves may be a deciding factor.
In this game, Ju Wenjun played 4.d3 avoiding the previous two 1.e4 games that resulted in the Berlin. Both games were drawn. This game would be a more positional tone with slow maneuvering and an accumulation of small advantages. Aleksandra Goryachkina faced a delayed exchange and the game slowly went into the middlegame. The pawn structures were imbalanced with white having both central pawns and pressure on the f-file.
After the queens were traded white maintained the structure advantage and begin to apply pressure on the light squares. However, the Russian was able to trade off the knights and ease some of the tension. While white still had the advantage, the position was a bit rigid.
Goryachkina tried 39…g6!? which made a concession, but the idea was that her rooks would become more active since moving the king to the h-file would be risky. Ju decided to trot the king over the queenside to provoke weaknesses. This would not be enough to create a tangible advantage and the game was comfortably drawn.
Video by FIDE
Match Score: Ju 3½ – Goryachkina 3½
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/