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World Chess Champion vs Women's World Chess Champion

Carlsen, Magnus (2862) - Hou, Yifan (2673) [B32]
77th Tata Steel Chess Masters, Wijk aan Zee (7) 2015

Notes by Boris Schipkov

1. e4
World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen versus Women's World Chess Champion Hou Yifan. It is interesting!
White seizes space in the centre, opens the way for the light-squared bishop.
The Sicilian Defence. Black controls the central square d4.
2. Nf3 Nc6
White and Black develop the knights.
3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5
The La Bourdonnais Variation. Before Hou Yifan did not play this line with the black pieces, so this is a small surprise.
5. Nb5 d6
In the La Bourdonnais Variation White can use the important central square d5.

6. c4
A small surprise from Magnus Carlsen: before he played five times 6.N1c3 (2001-2007) and one time 6.g3 (2013). Psychological warfare in the opening: both players try to astonish the rival and to limit influence of the home preparation. After 6. N1c3 a6 7. Na3 b5 (7...Be6 8. Nc4 b5 9. Ne3 Nf6 10. Ned5 Be7 11. Be3 O-O 12. Be2 b4 13. Nxf6+ Bxf6 14. Nd5 Bg5, with counterplay, 15. O-O Bxe3 16. Nxe3 Qb6 17. c3 bxc3 18. bxc3 Qc5 19. Qd2 Ne7 1/2, a draw in Hou,Y - Shirov,A, Tromsoe 2013) 8. Nd5 Nge7 9. c4 Nxd5 10. exd5 Nd4 11. cxb5 Be7 12. Be3 Nf5 13. Bd2 e4 14. bxa6 (14. Be2) 14...O-O 15. Be2 Bf6, with equality, 16. Nc4 Bxa6 17. O-O Nd4 18. Rc1 Bb5 (18...Nxe2+!?) 19. Bc3 Nxe2+ 20. Qxe2 Rxa2= 21. Qxe4 1/2, the game ended in a draw, Carlsen,M - Radjabov,T, Wijk aan Zee 2007. Or 6. g3 h5 7. N1c3 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Nge7, with counterplay in Carlsen,M - Nakamura,H, Wijk aan Zee 2013.
6...Be7 7. N1c3 a6 8. Na3 Be6 9. Nc2 Bg5 10. Be2 Bxc1 11. Rxc1 Nf6 12. O-O O-O 13. Qd2 Qb6
13...Qb8 is also possible.
14. Rfd1 Rfd8
If Black takes the pawn with 14...Qxb2? then White traps the queen with 15. Rb1.
15. b3

Or 15...Rac8 16. Qe3 (16.h3!?, 16. g3 Qc5 17. b4 Qa7 18. a3 h6= Jaracz,P - Shirov,A, Czechia 2014) 16...Qxe3 17. Nxe3 Nd4 18. Kf1 (18. f3) 18...Kf8 (18...g6) 19. Nc2?! (19. f3) 19...Nxc2?! (19...Nxe2! 20. Kxe2 b5 :-) 20. Rxc2 Ke7 (20...b5) 21. Rcc1 Rc6, with counterplay in Svetushkin,D - Bacrot,E, Calvi 2013.
16. h3!?
A novelty, a multy-purpose move: White makes a fortochka (a luft) for the king, also plans to trade the light-squared bishops in the near future with Bg4. In the game Gallagher,J - Dumitrache,D, Metz 1991, White played 16. Qe1 Qc5?! (16...Rac8) 17. h3?! (17. Nd5!?) 17..Rac8 18. Bd3 Nb4 19. Nxb4 Qxb4 20. Rc2 Rc7, with equality. Or 16. Bd3 Rac8 17. h3 Qa7 (17...Nd4) 18. Kh2 1/2, a draw in Videki,S - Varga,Z, Balatonbereny 1993.
16...Rac8 deserves attention.
17. Bf3 Ne7 18. Ne3
Magnus Carlsen has a small advantage, he can pressure on the d6-pawn and try to use weaknesses in Black's camp.

19. Bg4
White trades the light-squared bishops. 19. Nf5 Bxf5 20. exf5 Nd4 21. Qd3 is also playable.
The central d4 square is a good place for the knight.
20. Bxe6 fxe6 21. Nc2!
But White wants to push the black knight back or to trade the aggressive piece.
21...Nxc2 22. Rxc2 Rd7
Black can continue 22...Rac8!?.
23. Qe2 Rad8 24. Rd3 Qc5 25. Na4 Qc6 26. Re3

Black stops the c5 advance. But 26...Rc7!? is more active 27. Rd2 b5 28. Nb2 Rb8, with some counterplay on the queenside.
27. Nb2 Rf7 28. Rd2 Nd7 29. Nd3

A positional mistake. Black weakens the b5 square. Correct is 29...Qc7 30. Rd1 b5 31. cxb5 axb5 32. Qd2, with a small edge to White.
30. Nb2!
A strong answer. World Champion Magnus Carlsen intends Nb2-d1-c3.
30...Nc5 31. Nd1 Rdf8 32. Qe1!
A subtle move, White defends the f2-pawn, and does not play 32. f3, because after the dubious 32. f3 White cannot remove his rooks on the kingside.
Here Black could try to provoke f3 with 32...Rf4!?.
33. Nc3 Rfd7 34. Qd1 Na6?!
Black plans Na6-c7 to defend the b5 square, but this is not a good idea. 34...Rf7 and 34...Kh7 are more stubborn.

35. Qh5!
The time has come! Black's pieces get stuck on the queenside, therefore White launches an attack on the kingside.
A mistake. Black must return the knight with 35...Nc5 to watch e4-pawn.
36. Rg3 Kh8 37. Rdd3!
Magnus Carlsen moves all his heavy pieces to the king's wing to storm.
37...Re7 38. Rg6! Qe8 39. Rdg3 Rdd7

40. Nd1?
Time trouble, Zeitnot. The last move of the time control is a mistake. 40. Na4! is better, and Black must defend the b6-pawn with the ugly 40...Na8 (if 40...b5? then 41. Nb6 Rd8 42. Rxh6+! gxh6 43. Qxh6+ Rh7 44. Qf6+ Rg7 45. Qxg7 checkmate), here White can attack with pawns and rooks 41. h4 Qb8 42. Rf3 Qg8 (42...Qe8 43. g4 Rf7 44. g5) 43. Rff6! gxf6 44. Qxh6+ Rh7 45. Rxg8+ Kxg8 46. Qg6+ Kf8 47. Qxf6+ Kg8 48. Qxe6+ Kf8 49. h5, winning.
The best response. Hou Yifan tries to get counterplay.
41. Qe2 Rf4 42. Qe3 b5?!
Weakening the c5 square. Here 42...Qb8!? is stronger.
43. Nb2!
Magnus plans Nd3 and c5 to smash the black pawns in the centre.
Or 43...bxc4 44. bxc4 Qf8 45. Nd3 Rf6 46. Rxf6 Qxf6 47. c5, with a clear edge to White.

44. c5!
Breaking Black's pawn centre.
After 44...dxc5 45. Nd3 R4f6 46. Rxf6 Rxf6 47. Qxc5 Qd8 48. Nxe5 White has an extra pawn and a winning position.
45. Nd3 b4 46. Qe2 Rh4
46...Rxe4 is met by 47. Qh5 Kg8 48. Rxh6, and White checkmates.

47. R6g4
47. Qd1! is better, with the idea of Nxe5 dxe5 and Qd8+ to take the rook, 47...Qd7 48. Rf3 dxc5 49. Rxf7 Qxf7 50. Nxe5 Qe8 51. Qd6, and White has a huge advantage.
47...Rxg4 48. Qxg4 Kg8 49. Qh5?!
Here White can play the great profilactic move 49. Kh2!! and Black is in Zugzwang, because any Black's move worsens the position and leads to a defeat, 49...Kf8 50. Qh5 Ne8 51. cxd6 Qxd6 52. Nxe5 Rxf2 53. Ng6+ Kg8 54. Qxa5.
Women's World Chess Champion Hou Yifan finds the best plan in the complicated position, she activates the knight with the manoeuvre ...Nb5-c3.
50. Rg4?
A mistake. White has the nice endgames after 50. Qxh6 Qxe4 51. Qxe6 Nd4 52. Re3! Qxg2+ 53. Kxg2 Nxe6 54. cxd6 Rd7 55. Nxe5 Rxd6 56. Nc4 and after 50. cxd6 Nxd6 51. Qxh6 Nxe4 52. Qg6 Nxg3 53. Qxf7+ Kxf7 54. Nxe5+ Kf6 55. Nxc6.
A strong knight move.
51. Qxh6

The decisive error. Correct is the powerful 51...Qxe4! 52. Rxe4 gxh6 53. Rg4+ Kh7 54. cxd6 Rd7 55. Nxe5 Rxd6 56. Nc4 Rd5 57. a3 h5 58. Rh4 bxa3 59. Nxa3 Ne2+ 60. Kh2 Nd4 61. Re4, and Black has real chances to draw.
52. Qxe6 Nxf2?
After 52...Nxc5 53. Nxe5! Nxe6 54. Nxc6 White obtains a serious advantage in the endgame with an extra pawn.
53. Nxe5 Nxh3+ 54. Kh2
And White checkmates in several moves.
Black resigned. 1-0


Carlsen, Magnus (2862) - Hou, Yifan (2673) [B32]
77th Tata Steel Chess Masters/Wijk aan Zee (7) 2015

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 d6 6. c4 Be7 7. N1c3 a6 8. Na3 Be6 9. Nc2 Bg5 10. Be2 Bxc1 11. Rxc1 Nf6 12. O-O O-O 13. Qd2 Qb6 14. Rfd1 Rfd8 15. b3 h6 16. h3 Qa7 17. Bf3 Ne7 18. Ne3 Nc6 19. Bg4 Nd4 20. Bxe6 fxe6 21. Nc2 Nxc2 22. Rxc2 Rd7 23. Qe2 Rad8 24. Rd3 Qc5 25. Na4 Qc6 26. Re3 b6 27. Nb2 Rf7 28. Rd2 Nd7 29. Nd3 a5 30. Nb2 Nc5 31. Nd1 Rdf8 32. Qe1 Rd8 33. Nc3 Rfd7 34. Qd1 Na6 35. Qh5 Nc7 36. Rg3 Kh8 37. Rdd3 Re7 38. Rg6 Qe8 39. Rdg3 Rdd7 40. Nd1 Rf7 41. Qe2 Rf4 42. Qe3 b5 43. Nb2 Rdf7 44. c5 Qc6 45. Nd3 b4 46. Qe2 Rh4 47. R6g4 Rxg4 48. Qxg4 Kg8 49. Qh5 Nb5 50. Rg4 Nc3 51. Qxh6 Nxe4 52. Qxe6 Nxf2 53. Nxe5 Nxh3+ 54. Kh2 1-0


© 2015 Boris Schipkov