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Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship Match

Yifan Hou5.5/7(+4 -0 =3)[games]
Anna Ushenina1.5/7(+0 -4 =3)[games] Chess Event Description
Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship Match (2013)

Played in Taizhou, China 11-20 September 2013. FIDE page: Hou qualified as Challenger by winning the FIDE Women's Grand Prix series 2011–2012. Scheduled for 10 games, the defending champion Ushenina could no longer catch up after Game 7. (1, 2)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Hou 1 ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ 1 1 5˝ Ushenina 0 ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ 0 0 1˝

Previous edition: Women's World Championship Knockout Tournament (2012) (Hou knocked out in Round 2, Anna Ushenina became the 14th women's world champion). Next: Women's World Championship Knockout Tournament (2015) (Hou not participating, Ushenina knocked out in Round 2, and Mariya Muzychuk becoming the 15th women's world champion).

(1) Wikipedia article: Women's World Chess Championship 2013, (2)

 page 1 of 1; 7 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Ushenina vs Yifan Hou 0-1412013Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship MatchE32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
2. Yifan Hou vs A Ushenina ½-½332013Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship MatchB33 Sicilian
3. A Ushenina vs Yifan Hou 0-1242013Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship MatchE32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
4. Yifan Hou vs A Ushenina ½-½312013Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship MatchB81 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres Attack
5. Yifan Hou vs A Ushenina ½-½612013Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship MatchB81 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres Attack
6. A Ushenina vs Yifan Hou 0-1402013Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship MatchE17 Queen's Indian
7. Yifan Hou vs A Ushenina 1-0402013Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship MatchB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 36 OF 36 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-25-13  Kanatahodets: <kardopov: Is this match over?> Nope; due to complaints of Mr. Khalifman regarding the absence of European food, the match will be played later on in undisclosed location (but not in China since it is not an ideal place).
Sep-25-13  Nerwal: <It was obvious that Anna gives ground in speed and accuracy when calculating variations, but we still believed Anna would be able to keep the balance. >

Hindsight is 20/20, but that was a serious mistake on their part. When it became obvious this was a crucial misassessment after game 3, they still didn't try to correct it and Anna kept playing sharp lines. Even after she got an advantage in a quiet position in game 5 they did not change.

<But there was one obvious problem she could not solve till the end: her time management. One should not spend so much time! She should have done something with that during the match. Actually we should have tried to work on it before the match.>

Dvoretsky relates in one of his books how in the late 70s/early 80s he trained Alexei Dreev and Nana Alexandria specifically to avoid time trouble. Kasparov, after some bad experiences in Seville, also decided to work on his time management for the 1990 World Championship match to good effect. So those problems can be at least partially dealt with. It is absolutely amazing that in 2013 a full team of experienced GMs wouldn't even try to prepare their player in that area for a world championship match, when thinking time has *again* been recently shortened.

<If Anna would have taken that unfortunate pawn on h4, I think she would have won this game. We could see that Hou Yifan felt uncomfortable at this point and the time was equal – a rare case during the match. The score could have been 2:3 and Anna could have taken the psychological initiative. > <Victory had been so close, but instead she now had to deal with a minus two score.>

Khalifman seems to overrate this moment of the match. Even with 21... ♖bxh4 Anna would have been some distance away from a win. Given her play in previous games claiming she was likely to win this game thereafter and without further adventures is closer to wishful thinking than a chess truth.

<And then it was a very strange sixth game, a very strange day, not that catastrophic as the third one, but still... It all started in the opening. She didn’t play what we prepared; she mixed one variation with another one.>

That would explain why she spent more than one hour to reach a position still in the databases. Quite unfortunate. Maybe there was more work to do on psychological ground than in openings...

<I was helping Alisa Galliamova during the training camp before the match with Xie Jun, which was also played in China. I could not attend the match because of schedule clash at that time. But I’ve some idea about women’s chess. I can also say China is not an ideal place for such events.>

The 1996 - 1999 cycle for the Women World Championship was a troubled time. Galliamova won the Candidates tournament, had to play the 2nd Xie Jun in the Candidates final to meet Susan Polgar for the title, forfeited as she refused to play the match in China, and this match eventually happened with the title on the line when S. Polgar refused to play under FIDE conditions (ie also in China), half of it in China, the other part in Kazan, Russia. Galliamova, who had played great chess in the Candidates tournament, played rather badly there and lost the match. Apparently Khalifman's grudge against China seems result-oriented and comes from a long time ago... Khalifman is no doubt a great player, opening analyst and commentator, but maybe he was not the right second for Anna Ushenina.

Sep-25-13  RedShield: Khalifman looks like @#$%; Anna looks like Bobby Fischer:
Sep-25-13  csmath: Looking at the picture of Khalifman in chessbase it does not seem he had any problems with Chinese food. :-)

Now ... what was Korobov doing there?

Sep-25-13  Refused: He was part of Ushenina's team.
Whether Korobov will mention that as a highlight in his biography, well giving the outcome I doubt it.
Sep-25-13  csmath: You might remember he was complaining during the World Cup that he did not like to travel. Yet somehow to me he looks quite relaxed in China.

One nice provocative question to Natalia Pogonina would be whether she would be willing to pay these two guys as seconds.

Sep-25-13  Refused: So after reading the interview in full. I think some of the more sensible stuff Khalifman said somehow got ignored. < I can only say that Yifan deserved victory. It was obvious she is well prepared, she is aware of the balance of power in the match, she realizes what to do, what to avoid. However, I believe, despite the catastrophic final score, the pressure and the struggle could have lasted for a long time. I think that we could and we should have put up more serious resistance.>

That puts things a little more in perspective.


<It is difficult to estimate what happened – whether Anya was not psychologically ready for the level of pressure, or something else. But there was one obvious problem she could not solve till the end: her time management. One should not spend so much time! She should have done something with that during the match. Actually we should have tried to work on it before the match. I feel it was my fault as well. It became crucial when Yifan, having so many plusses already, could also add the advantage of Anna’s time troubles in each game.>

So Khalifman takes his share of the blame.


<csmath: You might remember he was complaining during the World Cup that he did not like to travel. Yet somehow to me he looks quite relaxed in China.>

I guess it's a bit up to the company you keep to make travels more or less enjoyable. And traveling with Anna Ushenina might have been an incentive to travel for him. :)

Sep-25-13  Refused: Not excactly sure, why everybody is bashing Khalifman now.

He said Hou is the better player, she stayed clear of the positions Ushenina would feel more comfortable with and won deservedly. He just says, they should have put up a more serious resistance.

Which is basically something we can all agree on.
His other statements about China being a bad location are lame excuses in my opinion.

The food, well, that's a story of its own. Chinese cuisine served in China and Chinese cuisine served in Europe differ quite a bit. That can take a few days to get accustomed to, I still think he is blowing it out of proportions.

Sep-25-13  redwhitechess: taken from the USChess website by Ian Roger... who is this in kungfu panda disguise? (..I got a hint)

"Counter attack" by Hou on European Food
“For me where I play is not a big deal but here [in my home prefecture] I can be more comfortable with the food and the location, the environment. The conditions were very nice. For Anna it was different – just like when we go to Europe. The Chinese food in Europe is not traditional – they try to suit the European taste. In a big European city it is less of a problem.”>

Ian Roger also shared about translator problem..
<As evidence, the closing speech by Jorge Vega, in the absence of FIDE President Kirsan Iljumzhinov which included the lines, apparently in praise of the players, “It is said that women fight more than men. Anyone who is married can confirm this.” Maybe the translator spoiled the punchline, but none of the 150 guests at the closing ceremony laughed.>

Sep-25-13  chessmoron: What! No news on the no water controversy? BOOOOO!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Closing thoughts: Khalifman looks awful for 47. I think Khalifman was joking about the radio turning on thing. If they played again, I think the result would be about the same.
Sep-25-13  Kaspablanca: ex0duz: Maybe Damascus or Baghdad were ideal places for him.
Sep-25-13  ex0duz: Perhaps instead of hiring Khalifman Anna should of hired a personal EU chef. A 2 day clause for 'sickness' is also included. She's a professional playing world championship match. Maybe it was her first time and she was out of her league and didn't prepare enough, and even if she did, probably wouldn't of made any real difference(just think of the 100 point rating difference to begin).

I wonder if the 2 day sickness cause will be used during Carlsen-Anand like a 'time out' kind of strategy. Could come in handy to get your mind right after a loss or two etc.

Sep-26-13  kardopov: @ Kanatahodets, thanks sir.
Sep-26-13  Kanatahodets: To kardopov. Hope you didn't take my comment seriously. The match is over.
Sep-27-13  kardopov: <Kanatahodets: To kardopov. Hope you didn't take my comment seriously. The match is over.> LOL! You tricked me with that. Anyway, you owe me one caused I won't be taking back my "thank you" statement.
Sep-27-13  ragtag: Vodka is make for potato or wheat, not turnip. Turnip is of extreme bitterness...

... but if mix in ratio with Ethylene Glycol, maybe... maybe...

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <HeMateMe: < FSR: > She's 2500. You'll never get a whiff of +2200.>

Confused as always, I see. I was first rated over 2200 in 1983. Although I'm 2194 at the moment, I was over 2200 last month.

Oct-25-13  Thanh Phan: Placeholder so someone has an easy time to find their argument ^.^
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <FSR:> You're still a loud mouthed weakie, compared to someone like Ushanina, who is rated somewhere around 2500.

Shouldn't you consider that before saying [paraphrasing] "It is disgraceful for a GM to not be able to mate with Knight and Bishop"?

Jul-01-14  dumbgai: What does her being 2500 and FSR being 2200 have to do with anything? Is being better than someone a requirement for criticism now? We can't criticize a soccer player for missing penalty kicks because we're not professional soccer players? We can't criticize a director for making a bad movie unless we can make a better one ourselves? We can't criticize a company for building an inferior product unless we can build a better one ourselves?

Professionals are held to a higher standard, and when they fail at something requiring far less skill than that standard, criticism is fair game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: There are posters here who are not evidently stronger players than <FSR> who routinely indulge in kibitzing which excoriates players even stronger than Ushenina, using terms which would be laughable if they actually knew what they were about.

There are, as well, kibitzers who behave with decorum and make numerous worthwhile contributions to these fora; certainly <FSR> is one. Another fine example is <Once>. Would that I had half his imagination, not to mention anything like his gift for spinning a yarn.

As to:

<Professionals are held to a higher standard, and when they fail at something requiring far less skill than that standard, criticism is fair game.>

While not a professional at chess, I was probably my own severest critic and expected nothing less than the best of myself, regardless of circumstances.

Fair, respectful criticism of a player's efforts is one thing, 'So-and-So-*****' quite another. Far too much of the latter is seen in these pages.

Jul-01-14  Jim Bartle: <So-and-So-*****' quite another.>

Wesley has a brother?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Cat's out of the bag! Dammit, I was supposed ta keep that illegitimate brother o' his secret-like!
Premium Chessgames Member
  nok: It's easy to tell them apart. Wesley is the slim barracuda who rocks. His evil twin got an American passport to become a fat pampered goldfish in Vegas.
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