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Ushenina-Yifan annotated by GM Naiditsch

User Rating: / 11
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 26 September 2013

By GM Arkadij Naiditsch, #1 German chess player, FIDE 2710
Photo by Fred Lucas

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We are in the 3rd game of the match. Ushenina lost the first one with White and made an easy draw in the second one with Black. So it is clearly time to "push" for her in case she wants to come back into the match.

Photo from the official website

Ushenina,Anna (2500) - Hou,Yifan (2609) [E32]

WCh Women 2013 Taizhou CHN (3), 14.09.2013

[Arkadij Naiditsch]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 As in the first game, Ushenina continues to play the Nimzo with 4.Qc2.
4.Qc2 00
Black plays a different line, as in the previous game Hou continued with 4...c5 and quickly got herself into opening trouble.

With this move White enters a very forced line which is actually considered to be OK for Black. Maybe Ushenina's seconds managed to find something "special" in it?!
This is of course the only critical reply. Black is fighting for the center.
6.e5 Ne4 7.Bd3
This is also the main move.
7...c5 As expected Black acts quickly in the center.
8.Nf3 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nd7 10.Bf4 This is a very well known position. Lately a lot of games on 2700 ELO+ level were played here.
10...Ndc5 This is a possible continuation, but not the main one. [10...Qh4 is clearly the critical move and personally I have no idea where White can be better after it. 11.g3 And now both 11...Qh5 (and 11...Qh3 seem to give Black equal play according to the latest games. It is a big pity that we will never know what Anna had prepared here.) ]
White needs to castle.
11...Bxc3 12.bxc3 Bd7 Black's main problem is the bishop on c8 which is out of the game. So usually White tries to be fast on the kingside, creating some attack which of course could be quite dangerous because of the opposite colored bishops, which increase the attacking chances.

[Maybe 12...Nxd3 13.Qxd3 Bd7 is another possible way to go on with Black.]
A good move by White! Now Black is in strategic danger. In case White manages to play f3 next, the knight on e4 will have no good squares to go back and White is going to be clearly better.
13...Na4! A good reply by Hou. The c3 pawn is a weakness. The position is getting very sharp.
A good move. White is doing 2 in 1, saving the c3 pawn and at the same time crushing Black's center.
14...exd5 15.c4 As we can see, Black's position looks really dangerous. The knights are strong, but at the same time such a position could fall apart like a card house.
Another very logical move. Now White has a wide range of continuations.

A serious mistake in a complicated position. And it was such a chance for Anna to come back into the match! [The right move was 16.Rac1! with the idea of playing 16...Nac3 17.cxd5 and of course things are very complicated here, but my feeling says White should somehow be better.]
16...dxc4 17.Bxc4 Nac3
And now we can see White's big problem: Black wants to play Ba4 next and there is no good defence against it. A bit unlucky for White, but in such positions an exact calculation is just a MUST.
18.a4 This move seems to lose, but the position was already on the limit anyway.

[Maybe White's best try was to play 18.Bxf7+ Rxf7 19.e6 Bxe6 20.Nxe6 but here too after 20...Qf6 Black is clearly better.]
Simple and strong!
19.Rxa4 Nxa4 Black's calculation is correct.
[We can see Black's main idea after 20.Qxa4 Nc3! An important move! 21.Qb4 Qxd4 22.Bxf7+ Rxf7 23.Qxd4 Black is a queen down, but after 23...Ne2+ White can resign as he will be a rook down after Nxd4.]
Black is an exchange up and all his pieces are connected, which means the game is over.
The last try to create some tactics.
21...Rxc4! Cool and strong!
22.Qxc4 b5!
Black is freeing the d3 square for his queen. Hou has nerves of steel!

23...Qd3 24.exf7+ Rxf7
Black's threat of playing Ne2 next is deadly! A very tough loss for Anna, especially as I guess she got what she wanted after the opening, a double edged position, but then she misled the game practically in one move with 16.Qb3?.


Replay the game

More annotated games, tactics & endgame puzzles, surprise section/study can be found in the weekly Chess Evolution newsletter. Subscribe!

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Comments (1)
1. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 21:53 26 2013 .
GM Arkadij Naiditsch fails to mention the secondary threat, which could not be parried: 24....Nc5!, after which white drops a piece (white queen must leave the a2-g8 diagonal-- unpinning the black rook)

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 September 2013 )
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