Women's World Chess Championship 2016 match Mariya Muzychuk vs Hou Yifanby Boris Schipkov
The Women's World Chess Championship 2016 match Mariya Muzychuk versus Hou Yifan took place in Lviv (Ukraine) 1st-17th March. 10 games.
Game 9: Hou-Muzychuk 1-0. The Sicilian Defence, the first time in the match. Yifan chose a calm line 10.f3. White had a slight advantage. 28.g3! was a strong move. After 37.Kf2 Hou Yifan had a big edge in the endgame due to the powerful c5 and d5 pawns, and won the game.
Game 8: Muzychuk-Hou 1/2. An original opening after 1.d4, 3.g3, 4...b5. Mariya seized the centre with 13.e4 and obtained a small advantage. A draw in 44 moves.
Game 7: Hou-Muzychuk 1/2. The Spanish Game, again the Open Variation. Yifan preferred 9.Nbd2. White had slightly better chances in the ending due to the better pawn structure. But after the dubious 51.b4?! (51.Rf3= was better) Black grabbed a pawn in the rook endgame and tried to win. A draw in 81 moves.
Game 6: Muzychuk-Hou 0-1. The Italian Game. Mariya played 7.Bg5 (7.h3 in game 1). 10...Nh5 is a novelty, unclear. But after 11.a4 a6 we see the position from the game Jakovenko-Bok, Gibraltar Masters 2015. 14.Ne3 is a novelty, Mariya sacrificed a pawn, but Yifan preferred 14...Ne7 to control the d5 and f5 squares, with counterplay. Better were 18...Nxg3, and 19.f6! to take the g4-pawn and free the knight. White had a small edge in the middlegame. But in the endgame Black was better, because White's knight was on the rim. Mariya made a mistake, 33.Bc2? and lost after 33...exf3! and 35...f2!.
Game 5: Hou-Muzychuk 1/2. Interesting. Yifan preferred 1.c4, the English Opening. 8...Na6 is a novelty, with counterplay. The endgame was drawn.
Game 4: Hou-Muzychuk 1/2. The Spanish Game, again the Open Variation as in game 2. Yifan preferred 9.c3 (9.Be3 in game 2). A sharp fight! 13...Nxd4! is a novelty, unclear. In the game Caruana - Wei Yi, Wijk aan Zee 2016 Black played 13...Qd7. Mariya sacrificed two bishops! However, a draw by perpetual check.
Game 3: Muzychuk-Hou 1/2. Surprise! Mariya played 1.d4, but Yifan was ready for this. The Catalan Opening. The position after 16...Nhf6 was in the game Wen Yang - Yu Yangyi, CHN-chT 2014, a draw in 21 moves. 17.a4 is a novelty. White had a slight advantage. A draw in 36 moves.
Game 2: Hou-Muzychuk 1-0. The Spanish Game, a theoretical duel in the Open Variation. 15...Rad8 is a novelty. White had two bishops. Better were 16.Bg3, 17...Na5, 26.Rf1, 27...Bxg3. Yifan obtained a small advantage with the strong 18.Bg3, with the idea of f3-f4-f5 with the initiative on the kingside. White attacked with 25.f5 and won.
Game 1, March 2nd, 2016: Muzychuk-Hou 1/2. The Italian Game. Mariya thought and played 6.c3, then seized space on the queenside with 18.b4. But Yifan had sufficient counterplay. The rivals traded pieces, had only queens and pawns in the endgame. A draw.
The Opening Ceremony, Lviv Opera House, 1st March 2016.
© 2000-2016 Boris Schipkov
© 2000-2016 Boris Schipkov