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John van der Wiel vs Yifan Hou
Corus Group C (2007), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 3, Jan-15
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B96)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-15-07  notyetagm: Checkout the tactical sequence in moves 30-32, which highlights the stupendous tactical skills of the 12 year old Hou Yifan.
Jan-15-07  notyetagm: 30 f6 <threatens ♙x♗> ♕g8! <zwischenzug, threatens ... ♕xg2#> 31 ♖g4 <threatens ♖x♕> ♗xf6! <zwischenzug, threatens ... ♗x♕> 32 ♕f4 <threatens ♕x♗> ♕d8! <defends bishop, weak back rank means bishop is safe>

Simply outstanding tactical play.

30 f6 ♕g8! 31 ♖g4 ♗xf6! 32 ♕f4 ♕d8!

Jan-15-07  dehanne: Veteran Van der wiel after losing to the 12-year old wünderkind : "They're really getting old early these days!"
Jan-15-07  crwynn: Her setup around move 20 is amusing, though not atypical of Open Sicilians. 23.c4 was surely a bit of a gift, wasn't it?
Jan-16-07  notyetagm: <CRWynn: Her setup around move 20 is amusing ...>

Yes, with her unassailable Black e5-rook, Hou Yifan is the new "Central Defender". :-)

Jan-18-07  Albertan: Here is some analysis I have done of this game:

Van Der Wiel,J (2511) - Yifan,H (2509) [ECO:B96]
Corus Chess 2007 Wijk aan Zee (3), 15.01.2007
[Analyzed by Albertan and Rybka 2.2]

Opening:Sicilian Defense,Najdorf Variation with 6.Bg5.

1.e4 c5

The Sicilian Defense.

2.Nf3 d6 3.d4

He tries to get her to exchange pawns on d4 which will reduce her influence in the center of the board.


4.Nxd4 Nf6

The most popular continuation,beginning to develop her minor pieces and winning a tempo by attacking his e-pawn.

The lost tempo.


She prevents him from playing a knight or bishop to b5.This move defines the variation of the Sicilian defense being played:it is the Najdorf variation.


He intends to play Qd2, 0-0-0, and a timely Bxf6 to weaken Yifan's kingside, when she often must respond with ...gxf6, which weakens her kingside pawn structure. In return, Black enjoys a useful majority of pawns in the centre.


The main continuation for Black in this position,creating a "little center" with her other pawn which influence key central squares.


Van der Wiel plays the most popular continuation,aggressively attacking. Now he threatens to play e5.


She spends a tempo to place more influence over the e5 square,which prevents him from playing 8.e5.


He gives her the two bishops at the cost of weakening the pawn shield in front of her king.



He creates the threat of 10.fxe6 which would allow him to gain a half-open f-file.


She develops another minor piece,which creates pressure against his knight on d4.In addition this developing move also gains him more influence over central squares. [ Analysis:The only other move I have Black playing in this position in my database is 9...Qc5 ] The game continued with him playing:


Now she must decide how to recapture on e6. [ Analysis:The only other move my database has White playing in this position is 10.Be2 ]


The only move Black plays in my database in this position. This allows him to gain a three to one central pawn majority.


He completes the development of his minor pieces. [ Analysis:According to my database the move 11.Qh5+ has also been tried in this position.]


She decides to reduce some of the central tension and forces his queen into the center of the board..


Regaining his pawn and forcing her to decide how to deal with the attack against her pawn on f6.


This move is a theoretical novelty for the position, she guards her attacked pawn with her queen. [ Analysis:Prior to this game only the move 12...Qe7 had been played in this position: 12...Qe7 [Event "YUG Cup"] [Site "Herceg Novi"] [Date "1999.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Velimirovic, Dragoljub"] [Black "Lajthajm, Borko"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B96"] [WhiteElo "2563"] [BlackElo "2420"] [PlyCount "140"] 12... Be7 13. Bh5+ Kd8 14. e5 fxe5 15. Qg4 Rf8 16. O-O-O Bd7 17. Rhf1 Qc5 18. Rxf8+ Bxf8 19. Ne4 Qe3+ 20. Kb1 Kc7 21. Ng5 Rc8 22. Nxe6+ Kb8 23. Qf5 Qh6 24. Bg4 Re8 25. Qf7 Re7 26. Qxf8+ Qxf8 27. Nxf8 Bxg4 28. Rf1 e4 29. h3 Bc8 30. Kc1 e3 31. Re1 Kc7 32. Nxh7 Rxh7 33. Rxe3 Bd7 34. g4 d5 35. c3 Kd6 36. Rf3 Ke5 37. Kd2 Ke4 38. Re3+ Kf4 39. Rd3 Bb5 40. Rxd5 Rxh3 41. Rd4+ Kg5 42. Kc2 Be2 43. Rb4 Rh7 44. a4 Bxg4 45. Rb6 Rd7 46. Kb3 Kf5 47. Kb4 Ke5 48. Ka5 Rd5+ 49. Kb4 Bc8 50. c4 Rd6 51. Kc5 Rd7 52. b3 Rc7+ 53. Kb4 Be6 54. Ka5 Re7 55. c5 Kd5 56. b4 Bc8 57. Rd6+ Kc4 58. c6 b5 59. Rd8 Bf5 60. axb5 axb5 61. Rd1 Ra7+ 62. Kb6 Ra8 63. Rf1 Rb8+ 64. Ka7 Rc8 65. Rf4+ Kb3 66. Kb7 Be6 67. c7 Re8 68. Rd4 Re7 69. Kc6 Kc3 70. Rf4 Rxc7+ 1/2-1/2]

Jan-18-07  Albertan: The game continued with Van der Wiel playing:


Intending Nb6.Rybka 2.2 evaluates this position as [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 13.0-0 Be7 14.Na4 Bd7 15.Nb6 Rd8 16.Nxd7 Rxd7 17.Rad1 Rg8 ] For her next move she played:


She develops her last minor piece.However, her bishop will come under immediate attack. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 13...Bd7 14.Nb6 Rd8 15.Rf1 Be7 16.Nxd7 Rxd7 17.0-0-0 Rg8 18.Rf2 Rg5 19.g3 Bd8 20.Bc4 b5 21.Bb3 Rc5 ] The game continued with Van der Wiel playing:

Forking two of her minor pieces which wins a tempo.


The lost tempo, now her d-pawn is overprotected however she is unable to place the rook on the half-open c-file which is a common strategy for Black in the Sicilian defense.


[ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 15.Rf1 Be7 16.Nxd7 Rxd7 17.0-0-0 Rg8 18.g3 Rg5 19.Kb1 Rc5<=> with counterplay for her down the c-file.] Her next move of the game was:


Developing her last minor piece,however this piece will immediately be captured by him. The game continued with the playes making these moves:

16.Nxd7 Rxd7 17.Qc4

His idea is to combine his queen and bishop in a future attack by play his bishop to g4 which will creat the threat of Bxe6. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2:Better was 17.Rf3 with a possible continuation being: 17.Rf3 Qh5 18.Bc4 Qe5 19.Qxe5 dxe5 20.Bxe6 Bc5+ 21.Kf1 Rd2 With insufficient compensation for the pawn. ] For her next move the prodigy played:


She decides to give up the priviledge of castling and places her rook on the half-open g-file from where she can launch an attack against his king.


Intending to double his rooks on the f-file. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2:The program gave a better evaluation to the move 18.Rad1 with a possible continuation being: 18...Rg5 19.Qa4 Qg6 20.Rf2 Kd8 21.Rd4 d5 22.Qa5+ Kc8 23.Qb6 Rd6 24.Qa7 Rc6 25.exd5 exd5 26.Bd3 Qh6 =] The game continued with her playing:


Intending ... Re5. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2 18...Rg5 19.Kh1 Kd8 20.Qb3 Rc7 21.Bc4 Kd7 22.Rd1 Rgc5 23.Rd4 b5 24.Bd3 Qg6 ] The next move in the game played by Van der Wiel was:


He double attacks her e-pawn which wins tempo. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 19.Kh1 Kd8 20.Qb3 Rc7 21.Bc4 Kd7 22.Rd1 Rgc5 23.Rd4 b5 24.Bd3 Qg7 =]

Yifan Ho now played:


[ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: The program gave a better evaluation to the move 19...d5= with a possible continuation being: 20.exd5 Rdxd5 21.Re1 e5 22.h4!? Rg6 23.Rfe4 Rd2 24.Qc8+ Rd8 25.Qc7 ( 25.Qxb7?? Bc5+ ) 25...Qxa2 26.Qxb7 Kf8 =]

Returning to the moves of the game,which continued with Van der Wiel playing:


Winning a tempo as she cannot play 20...Rd8.

Jan-18-07  Albertan: 20...Bd8

For the moment she gives her bishop more mobility.However this piece will soon be returned to e7 by her.


Creating a double-attack against her f-pawn which ties down her queen and bishop to defend this pawn. With her bishop pinned against his queen,this could cause some future problems for her in defending her f-pawn. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 21.Raf1 Rc7 22.Qb8 Kd7 23.Rd1 Be7 24.c3 Rg5 25.Qa7 Qg6 26.Bf3 Rb5 27.Rg4 Rg5 =] Yifan Hou next played the move:


Attacking his queen and c-pawn simultaneously which wins her a tempo.


The lost tempo and a move Rybka 2.2 also suggested (see the variation after Van Der Wiel's twenty-first move).


She spends a tempo to break the pin against her bishop.By moving her king she also overprotects her e-pawn and protects her d-pawn in case her were to play Rd1.


He creates the future threat of Rd1 and c5 which would double attack her weak d-pawn. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: Rybka gave a better evaluation to the move 23.Rd1 with a possible continuation being: 23.Rd1 h5 24.Be2 Be7 25.b4 Qg6 26.Bd3 Rg5 27.Rf2 Qg8 28.Qa7 h4 29.Qe3 Kc8 =]

Jan-18-07  Albertan: 23...Be7

She spends a tempo to redeploy her bishop where it now protects her weak d-pawn. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 23...Be7 24.Be2 Qe8 25.Qxe8+ Kxe8 26.Rd1 d5 27.cxd5 Rc2!? 28.Kf2 exd5 29.Rxd5 Rxb2 30.Rxe5 fxe5 31.Rf5 Rxa2 32.Rxe5 b5 =] The game continued with Van der Wiel playing:


He spends a tempo to take his king off the g1-a7 diagonal. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 24.b3 Qe8 25.Qxe8+ Kxe8 26.Rd1 Kf7 27.Be2 Rc8 28.Kf2 b5 29.g3 h5 30.Rd2 Kg6 31.Kg2 bxc4 32.Bxc4 a5 33.Rd4 Kf7 =] Yifan, for her next move of the game


She offers to exchange queens.


He decides to keep his queen on the board , at the cost of a tempo,

[ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 25.Qxe8+ Kxe8 26.b3 Kd7 27.R1f2 h5 28.Be2 d5 29.exd5 Bc5!? 30.Rxf6 Ke7 31.g4 Bxf2 32.Rxf2 exd5 33.gxh5 Kd6 =] The game continued with Yifan playing:


She forms a battery on the c-file with her queen and rook, intending to play ...b5. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2:(a) 25...Qc8 26.Be2 b5 27.Qd4 bxc4 28.Rd1 h5 29.Rc1 f5 30.Rd1 Rxe4 31.Rxe4 fxe4 32.Bxh5 Rc5 33.Bf7 Rf5© With sufficient compensation for the pawn.; (b)Worse is: ‹25...Rxc4 26.Qxb7+ Rc7 27.Qxa6 Qb8 28.Qa4+ Qb5 29.Bd1 Qxa4 30.Bxa4+ Kd8 ] Returning to the moves of the game,which continued with Van der Wiel playing:


Preventing the loss of his c-pawn.


Creating a discovered attack against his queen which wins a tempo.


The lost tempo.Now however he threatens 28.cxb5 axb5 29.Rh4 which would win a tempo. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2:Better was: 27.Qb6 with a possible continuation being: 27...bxc4 28.b3!? Rb7 29.Qxa6 cxb3 30.axb3 Qc6 31.Qa2 Rb4 32.Rh4 h6 33.Bd3 h5 =] Going back to the moves played in the game,it continued with her playing:


She goes up a pawn in material.
[Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 27...bxc4 28.Rd1 h5 29.Rc1 f5 30.Rd1 Rxe4 31.Rxe4 fxe4 32.Bxh5 Rc5 33.Bf7 Rf5 34.Bg6 Rb5 35.Bf7 Rf5 with compensation for the pawn and a draw by repetition of position likely.] The game continued with Van der Wiel playing:


He immediately attacks her unprotected pawn,seeking to gain material equality next move by playing 28...Rxh7. [ Analysis(a):Obviously he cannot recapture his pawn on c4 as this would lose his bishop: 28.Bxc4?? Rxc4 ; (b)Rybka 2.2: 28.Rd1 h5 29.Rc1 Rcc5 30.Rc2 d5 31.exd5 exd5 32.Qd1 Kc7 33.Bxh5 Qe6 =] The next move of the game was:


She offers to exchange pawns on f5.Rybka 2.2 evaluates this position as completely equal =(0.00). [ Analysis:Rybka gave a slight advantage to the move 28...h5 (in relation to 28...f5) with a possible continuation being: 28...h5 29.Rxh5 Qb7 30.Rxe5 fxe5 31.Qe3 Qxb2 32.Bg4 Kc8 33.Bxe6+ Kb8 =]

Jan-18-07  Albertan: 29.exf5??

Van Der Wiel commits a very bad mistake.This capture leaves his bishop on e2 enprise...what was he thinking? Possibly he was thinking of playing this continuation:30.fxe6+ Kc6 31.Bf3+ d5 32.Qxe5 Bxh4 33.Bxd5+ Kb6 34.Qd6+ Ka7 35.Rf7 Be7 However, all she has to do is capture his enprise bishop.

[ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: Rybka considered the best move in the position for him to be 29.Rd1 with a possible continuation being: 29.Rd1 Rxe4!? 30.Rxe4 fxe4 31.Qxe4 Qb7 32.Qc2 Qb4 33.Qe4 Qb7 where he has sufficient compensation for the pawn.] Returning to the game, it continued with her making the capture:


Leaving Yifan up a full bishop!


Now Van Der Wiel creates the threat of 30.Rxh7 which would be winning ie: 31.Rxh7 Kc6 32.Qxc4+ Kb6 33.Qxe2 Bxf6 34.Rxc7 Qxc7 35.Rxf6 Qc1+ 36.Rf1 Qh6 [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 30.fxe6+ Rxe6 31.Rxh7 Qb7 32.Rhf7 Rc5 33.Qd2 Rce5 34.R7f2 Qc6 ] Going back to the game,which continued with her playing:


Threatening to end the game by playing 31...Qxg2# checkmate. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2 30...Qg8 31.Rg1 e5 32.Qd1 Bxf6 33.Rxh7+ Qxh7 34.Qxe2 e4 35.Rd1 Rc5 36.a4 Qh5 ] Van der Wiel's next move in the game was:


Threatening her queen,however she can ignore the threat for now and play 31....Bxf6. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 31.Qg1 Bf8 32.Rf2 Rxf2 33.Qxf2 Qg6 34.g3 Qb1+ 35.Kg2 h6 36.Kh3 Qxa2 ] She now made the capture I mentioned:


[ Analysis:Rybka 2.2 : 31...Bxf6 32.Qf4 Qh8 33.Rf2 Re1+ 34.Rf1 Rxf1+ 35.Qxf1 Be7 36.Rxc4 Rxc4 37.Qxc4 Qxb2 ]

Jan-18-07  Albertan: For his next move Van der Wiel played:


Attacking her bishop winning a tempo.
[ Analysis:Obviously exchanging queens would be of no use to him,being down material: 32.Rxg8 Bxd4 33.b4 Rxa2 34.Rg4 c3 35.Rxd4 c2 36.Rc1 Ra1! 37.Rxa1 c1Q+ 38.Rd1[] the only move 38...Qc4 39.Rf1 e5 ]

Going back to the moves played in the game, it continued with her playing:


The lost tempo. [ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 32...Qh8 33.Rf2 Re1+ 34.Rf1 Rxf1+ 35.Qxf1 d5 ]

Jan-18-07  Albertan: The next move of the game was:


Attacking her rook winning a tempo.
[ Analysis:Rybka 2.2: 33.Qh6 Qe7 34.Qc1 d5 35.Rgf4 Qg7 36.g3 ( 36.Rxf6?? Qxg2#) 36...Qh6 37.h4 Be7 38.Re1 Rxe1+ 39.Qxe1 Qg7 ]

The game now continued with the players making these moves:


Double-attacking her bishop winning a tempo.


The lost tempo. The game concluded with the two players making these moves:

35.Rf7 Rcc5 36.Qb7+ Qc7 37.Qa8 Rf5 0-1

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