Koneru H. (2600)
Hou Y. (2578)

Women's World Championship 2011 (3)
Tirana, Albania, 2011

1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 c5 7... g5 is the more popular move. 8. e3 c4 I have seen this setup before, but I'm not a huge fan. It may be that the World Women's Champion has some new ideas in this variation, trying to make it viable. To the line's credit, Morozevich used it once to beat Eljanov. To its discredit, it was a blitz game, and well, it was Morozevich... what can't he win with? 9. Be2 9. Nd2 is the more principled move, and in my opinion the one that really puts this setup to question. It scores quite well. 9... g5 10. Bg3 Ne4 11. Rc1 Qa5 12. Ne5 Bxc3+ 12... Nc6 was the blindfold game Topalov-Aronian, which the second player won. 13. bxc3 Nc6 14. O-O O-O 14... Nxc3 would have transposed to Topalov-Aronian, but after 15. Rxc3 Qxc3 16. Bh5 O-O 17. Qf3 Nd8 18. Qf6 Qc2 and by some miracle Aronian not only survived this massive intiative but won the game. Maybe because his opponent was blindfolded. Not something a sane person should be willing to repeat. 15. Bf3 Nxg3 16. fxg3 Nxe5 17. dxe5 Be6 After a bunch of trades occur, both sides have shattered pawn structures. Black's is less shattered, but ironically more vulnerable. White should have a slight edge. 18. Bh5?! A principeld move, but the more calm Rf2 would've maintained all the pawns alive. 18... Qxa2 You can't blame Hou Yifan for cowardice. She calmy takes this pawn and hopes (or calculates twenty move ahead) thta her kingside will not collapse. 19. Rf6 Qb2! An important axiom: when faced with the initative, use the pieces you already have out to hamper it! 19... Kg7? 20. Qf3 followed by Rf1 is too much pressure. 20. Rxh6 Bf5! More precise play. Look how much trouble this two pieces are giving White. Nothing more than a B and a Q, but it's preventing White from reaching a coordination that would crush the unbelievably vulnerable kingside. 21. Rf6 Be4! 22. Bf3?! 22. Rf2 Qb6 23. Qd4! It was time to start thinking about equality, I tihnk this would've sufficed since white can generate enough pressure against f7 and the a-pawn to stop the queenside from simply rolling. 22... Bd3! I love this two-stepping bishop. The white bishop has been pulled from h5, thus there is no pressure on f7, while the queen can no longer go to g4, and the white rook cannot come back to play. Suddenly, Black is better! 23. Qe1 23. Bxd5 Rad8 24. Rf2 (24. Rd6 Rxd6 25. exd6 Rd8 and Black calmly collects d6, with a nice advantage.) 24... Qa3 25. Bf3 Rfe8 And the only thing that White can ask herself is "what happened to my kingside attack"? 23... Rae8 24. Bxd5 Rxe5 25. e4 Kg7 25... Rd8! and now if 26. Bxf7+ (26. Rf2 Qb6 27. Qd2 Bxe4) 26... Kg7 Black is winning. 26. Rf2 Qb6 Black is solid. She did a brilliant job in restricting White, and now enjoys every single advantage the position offers. Better pieces, better pawn structure, more space, a passed a-pawn. White isn't dead yet, mainly thanks to the powerful d5 bishop, but it is not a pretty sight. 27. Qd2 Rd8! Yes! Wonderful precision by the Chinese talent. The f7 pawn, which has been a target for white the entire game, is left without defenders, and is completely untouchable. 28. Qb2 28. Bxf7? Bxe4 29. Qa2 Bd3 with the deadly Re2 threat. 28... f5 29. Qxb6 axb6 30. Bxb7 fxe4 31. Rb2?! 31. Ra2 Re7 32. Bc6 Rd6 33. Ba8 still allowed the B to remain in the a8-h1 diagonal, allowing her to create some problems for Yifan, as the advance of the e-pawn doesn't win right away. Black's advantage is beyond doubt though. 31... Re7 32. Bc6 Rd6! The b6 pawn is taboo, and Ba8 loses the bishop to Ra7. Thus it must abandon the diagonal. 33. Ba4 e3 34. Re1 e2 35. Bc2 Rf7 36. Bxd3 cxd3 37. Rd2 And Humpy resigned without waiting for Rdf6. A flawless, wonderful game by Hou Yifan. The precision exhibited by this 17-year old is astounding. Humpy committed a few innacuracies, but no big mistakes, and suddenly she found herself in a very uncomfortable situation. Yifan made sure she never had an opportunity to ocme back into the game. 0-1 [Ramirez A.]

Game(s) in PGN