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Women's World Chess Championship 2015 Knock-Out, Sochi 2015

by Boris Schipkov

The Women's World Chess Championship 2015, knock-out tournament took place in Sochi (Russia) March 16th - April 6th.
Mariya Muzychuk with the crown, gold medal and cup. Photo by Anastasiya Karlovich
Mariya Muzychuk with the crown, gold medal, cup and flowers. Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich
Closing Ceremony of the Women's World Championship 2015 Knock-Out

Photos and Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Final
Final: Natalija Pogonina - Mariya Muzychuk 1.5-2.5. Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine is the new Women's World Chess Champion. Silver: Natalija Pogonina.
Game 4: Mariya Muzychuk - Natalija Pogonina 1/2. The Four Knights Game. Natalija played the rare 6...Bb4 (6...Bb6), 7...Ne5 is a novelty. Mariya had a small advantage, the better development. A draw by repetition in the endgame.
Game 3: Natalija Pogonina - Mariya Muzychuk 1/2. The Semi-Slav Defence. Mariya produced a novelty, 12...Bxh2+. Natalija won a piece for 3 pawns, but 20.Qe3 was better, with a small advantage. A draw.
Game 2: Mariya Muzychuk - Natalija Pogonina 1-0. The Spanish Game, with counterplay. In the middlegame Natalija made mistakes, 26...Bg5?, 45...b4?. Mariya could have won with 48.Bxd3 cxd3 49.Ne1 and with 51.Nxh5!, but won with the strong 54.Nxh5!.
Game 1: Natalija Pogonina - Mariya Muzychuk 1/2. The Semi-Slav Defence, with equality. A draw.
Before the final Mariya Muzychuk beat Yuan Yuanling, Monika Socko, Antoaneta Stefanova, Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli. Natalija Pogonina beat Guo Qi, Ju Wenjun, Marie Sebag, Zhao Xue and Pia Cramling.

Natalija Pogonina Mariya Muzychuk
Natalija Pogonina. Mariya Muzychuk. Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich
Round 5 Results, Semifinals. Women's World Chess Championship Knock-Out, Sochi 2015
Photos and Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 5, Tiebreak
Round 5, Semifinals, Tiebreak: Harika - Muzychuk M 1.5-2.5 (total 2.5-3.5). Cramling-Pogonina 0.5-1.5 (total 1.5-2.5). Bronze: Dronavalli Harika and Pia Cramling.
Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 5, Game 2
Round 5, Semifinals, Game 2: Harika - Muzychuk M 1/2. The Dutch Defence, with counterplay. Harika grabbed a pawn, but the rook endgame was drawish, tiebreak.
Pogonina-Cramling 1-0. The Sicilian Defence. Natalija had small advantage, more space, and won, tiebreak. It is interesting that Natalija Pogonina three times in a row, in Round 3 vs Sebag, in Round 4 vs Zhao, and in Round 5 vs Cramling lost Game 1, but won Game 2, then won the tiebreaks.
Photos and Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 5, Game 1
Round 5, Semifinals, Game 1: Muzychuk M - Harika 1/2. The Scotch Game. Mariya had a small advantage in the endgame, a bishop vs a knight, a draw.
Cramling-Pogonina 1-0. The Queen's Gambit. Pia had a small advantage, outplayed the rival in the rook endgame.

Round 4 Results. Women's World Chess Championship Knock-Out, Sochi 2015
Thirst for Victory. Photos and Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 4, Tiebreak
Round 4, Tiebreak: Muzychuk M - Koneru 1.5-0.5 (total 2.5-1.5). Zhao-Pogonina 0.5-1.5 (1.5-2.5). Muzychuk A - Cramling 1.5-2.5 (2.5-3.5).
Photos and Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 4, Game 2
Round 4, Game 2: Koneru - Muzychuk M 1-0, the Semi-Slav Defence. A sharp fight! Humpy tried to attack on the kingside with the aggressive 9.g4, Mariya got good counterplay, but made mistakes and Humpy obtained a big advantage, tiebreak.
Zhao-Pogonina 0-1. The Benko-Volga Gambit, with compensation for the pawn. Natalija stormed in the ending with a queen and rook and won, tiebreak.
Muzychuk A - Cramling 1/2. The Sicilian Defence. Anna had two strong bishops, won a pawn, a draw, tiebreak.
Harika-Arabidze 1-0. The Queen's Pawn Game. Harika obtained the better chances with 13.Qh5, outplayed the rival in the rook endgame.
A Queen Sacrifice. Photos and Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 4, Game 1
Round 4, Game 1: Muzychuk M - Koneru 1-0. The Scotch Game, unclear. Humpy made a mistake, 25...f6? and Mariya won with the powerful queen sacrifice 26.Qd2! and 29.Qf7!.
Pogonina-Zhao 0-1. The Catalan Opening, with equality. But the endgame was better for Xue.
Cramling-Muzychuk A 1/2. The Queen's Gambit, with counterplay.
Arabidze-Harika 1/2. The Queen's Gambit, the Exchange Variation. Meri had a small advantage, two bishops. A quick draw in 15 moves.

Round 3 Results. Women's World Chess Championship Knock-Out, Sochi 2015
Photos and Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 3, Tiebreak
Round 3, Tiebreak: Harika-Kosteniuk 1.5-0.5 (total 2.5-1.5). Sebag-Pogonina 0-2 (1-3). Cmilyte-Arabidze 0.5-1.5 (1.5-2.5).
The Will and the Reason. Photos and Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 3, Game 2
Round 3, Game 2: Gunina-Cramling 1/2, the Nimzo-Indian Defence, 4.Qc2, Valentina gained a small edge due to the good rooks on the open c-file and pawns on the queenside, but Pia defended well, a draw. Harika-Kosteniuk 0-1, the King's Indian Defence with g3, Alexandra had a small advantage and could attack weak pawns, but Dronavalli counterattacked on the kingside, then Alexandra won the pawn with the powerful 39...Rxb2! and the game (so 1-1, tiebreak). Pogonina-Sebag 1-0, the Semi-Slav Defence, 18.Rxd6 was better, but then Natalija grabbed a pawn and gave the exchange for pawns, won the rook endgame.
Russian Roulette. Photos and Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 3, Game 1
Round 3, Game 1: Cramling-Gunina 1-0, the Slav Defence, I like this line, but 9...Bg4 is better. After 10...a5?! (10...Bg6) Black's position looks even worse than in my game. Koneru beat Galliamova.

Ju Wenjun vs Natalija Pogonina. Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich
Ju Wenjun and Natalija Pogonina. Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich
Round 2 Results. Women's World Chess Championship Knock-Out, Sochi 2015
Photos and Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 2, Tiebreak
Round 2, Tiebreak: Muzychuk M - Socko 3-1. Harika-Krush 2.5-1.5. Sebag-Ushenina 2.5-1.5 (Anna Ushenina was late, therefore she lost the 1st tiebreak game by default according to the "zero tolerance" rule, 2nd was drawn, so Marie Sebag won the tiebreak 1.5-0.5). Khotenashvili-Huang 3.5-2.5.
Photos and 16 Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 2, Game 2
Round 2, Game 2: Ushenina had a small advantage, two bishops vs Sebag, but the endgame was drawn. Pogonina pressured in the centre vs Ju, grabbed a pawn and won in the rook endgame.
Photos and 16 Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 2, Game 1
Round 2, Game 1: Sebag-Ushenina 1/2. Kosteniuk beat Shen in the Queen's Gambit.

Round 1, Tiebreak: Games 1-20, Women's World Chess Championship 2015
Round 1, Tiebreak: Games 21-40, Women's World Chess Championship 2015
Round 1, Tiebreak: Yuan - M Muzychuk 0.5-1.5, total 1.5-2.5. Lujan-Galliamova 1.5-2.5, total 2.5-3.5. Gomes-Kosintseva 4-4, Armageddon 0-1. Goryachkina-Mkrtchian 4-4, Armageddon 1-0. Here in the Armageddon White has 5 minutes, Black - 4 minutes, and plus 3 seconds per move after move 61, White must win the game and Black can draw the game to win the tiebreak.
32 Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 1, Game 2
Round 1, Game 2: Muzychuk-Yuan 1-0, the Dutch Defence, Mariya sacrificed the exchange to attack, had an advantage after 9...e6? 10.Nxe4 and won, better was 9...d6= with equality. Galliamova beat Lujan, also 1-1.
32 Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2015: Round 1, Game 1
Round 1, Game 1: Lujan beat Galliamova, Yuan beat M Muzychuk (Mariya could have won with 32...Rh2, 35...Bc5), Khurtsidze lost to Kovalevskaya.
Games WWCC 2015 K (202, pgn)
Humpy Koneru, Ju Wenjun, Anna Muzychuk, Viktorija Cmilyte, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina, Zhao Xue, Mariya Muzychuk, Antoaneta Stefanova, Bela Khotenashvili, Anna Ushenina, Tatiana Kosintseva, Marie Sebag, Elisabeth Paehtz, Irina Krush.
Official Site: http://sochi2015.fide.com/

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