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Yifan Hou vs David Navara
Tata Steel (2016), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 4, Jan-19
Caro-Kann Defense: Advance. Short Variation (B12)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-19-16  ColdSong: Miss Hou seems to be really able to belong to the 2700+ club;good news for chess,needless to say.Well,maybe not for Navara in this very game.
Jan-19-16  Eduardo Leon: It isn't hard to discover the <possibility> of sacrificing the exchange for the e6 and f5 pawns, opening diagonals for (at least) white's light-squared bishop. A-whole-nother thing is <justifying> this plan, which requires very precise calculations.

IMO, the key moves of white's combination are 26.♕h3!, forcing 26...h5, and 28.♗e6!. The latter move is counterintuitive on positional grounds. It threatens to keep the d6 pawn, but it offers to exchange white's most active piece (the light-squared bishop), when her other minor pieces are still in far from optimal positions. The justification is tactical: 28...♗xe6? loses on the spot to 29.♕xh5+ ♔g7 30.♖g1+. It's the very tempo that black loses by playing 28...♘f6 which allows white to play 29.f5!, bringing the other bishop into action.

Jan-19-16  dumbgai: Bravo, Hou. Very nice attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Very skillfully manoeuvred by Yifan Hou. His major pieces came together like a very well-trained army. Also very good and entertaining chess.
Jan-19-16  JohnDMaster: 34. Nc1 to me was no big deal, yes black was in a bind but in reality the knight on b3 was just bad, so when she brought it back in the game it was over for black. I enjoyed the game and as I was going through it I was thinking to myself " when is she going to fix that bad knight!".
Jan-19-16  MindCtrol9: She is good!!!
Jan-19-16  Tal1949: Awesome to see a lady match it with the 2700 boys. Keep going Yifan!
Jan-19-16  STEVE8562: where's the mate,guys
Jan-19-16  Eduardo Leon: <STEVE8562> Black is going to lose at least a whole rook, and then possibly a minor piece as well. His resignation was by no means premature.
Jan-19-16  Kaspablanca: I said it many times; when Hou beat Muzychuk in March she should quit playing in women tournaments and focus in playing only with the men as Judit did, Hou is simply to strong and way above the other women.
Premium Chessgames Member
  yiotta: This is a popular variation up to move 12, and enters unfamiliar territory with 13.c4, played once in the 80's by two 2400 rated Danes, varying with 13...Be7, Black won. What a great, energetic game by Hou; be still, my heart!
Jan-20-16  Ulhumbrus: If White can answer 14...0-0 with 15 g5, this suggests 14...Be7 first.
Premium Chessgames Member
  yiotta: <Ulhumbrus> Yes, 14...Be7 does seem prudent, although White's kingside is also opened in this line.
Jan-20-16  talwnbe4: well, Yifan had to sac the rook it was stuck on e6.. but superbly played anyway
Jan-20-16  talwnbe4: maybe 25.. h5 was better for Navara in this game instead of 25.. Rc7 ?
Jan-20-16  talwnbe4: 25..h5 26. Qh3 Nf6 27. exd6 Rc6


Premium Chessgames Member
  yiotta: <talwnbe4:25...h5 26.Qh3 Nf6 27. exd6 Rc6 holds> not so fast, my friend. If 26...Nf6 in your line, then 27.Bxc8 Qxc8 28.f5 gives trouble.
Jan-20-16  MCDreamz: Sweet!
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Black's plan was interesting. Ultimately, it was insufficient
Jan-20-16  Ayaend: I love 23 & 25 th move! And of course the subtle 34.Nc1. A really nice game played by Hou.
Jan-20-16  talwnbe4: 25..h5 26. Qh3 Nf6 27. Bxc8 Qxc8 28. f5 Be7 29. exf6 Bxf6 is fine for Navara here, this is a Stockfish line - great attacking line by Hou but Navara didn't defend correctly.. with the rook on c7 after exd6 the rook is attacked with tempo and has to move again.
Jan-27-16  ragtag: The mind of a woman is a trap for a man. Play at your own risk.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Alex Schindler: I think Navara's ...a5 was a poor response to her c4 novelty. What did it achieve? An unnecessary weakness or two. Hou's brilliant rook penetration from the sixth rank owes itself to that move and its fruits. Interesting is analyzing the natural response dxc4. It looks very tough for black to come out OK. I'm not sure how Hou's novelty is best answered.
Premium Chessgames Member
  hesyrett: This game reminds me of some 19th-century attacking games in that White's initiative persists after the exchange of Queens.  Holistic chess!
Premium Chessgames Member
  hesyrett: talwnbe4:  After 25...h5 26. Qh3 Nf6 White should play for mate via 27. exd6; Black Q is tied to the defense of the R at c8.  Here's a sample line:  25...h5 26. Qh3 Nf6 27. exd6 Ne4 28. Be1 Nxd6 29. Bh4 Qc7 30. Bf6+ Kg8 31. Qg3+ 1-0
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