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Anna Ushenina vs Yifan Hou
Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship Match (2013), Taizhou CHN, rd 3, Sep-14
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical Variation (E32)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-14-13  xanadu: Sorry to insist, but in my opinion, the team of Ushenina is choosing a wrong opening and a wrong general strategy for this match. Ushenina is fighting in the arena that is the favourite of her opponent: tactics.
Sep-14-13  ganglion: Such a fast win!
Sep-14-13  xanadu: 1) After loosing in game 1, to keep choosing the same kind of "tactical" opening, conducting the game towards the field where her openent feels like fish in the water is a great mistake of Ushenina`s team. 2) By move 14-16 Ushenina is in the position that she should avoid. 3) Hou Yifan is very good calculating tactics and complicated variations, but Ushenina is not that good: she needs more time and frequently makes mystakes, as in move 16. Then, Ushenina is given a clear advantage to Hou when entering in this kind of positions. This and game 1 seem to be clear examples of this. I think now is very very hard to change the result of the match. You can have a team of excellent Grand Masters, but common sense is more difficult to find.
Sep-14-13  Nerwal: After looking at the position at move 16 for a good while, with and without engines, I have still no idea what could be the right move for white (given the disaster of the game it's easy to recommend 16. ♖ab1 or 16. ♖ac1 but that doesn't solve all the problems). This position is just a minefield for white.
Sep-14-13  birthtimes: White is positionally stronger after a line such as 8. a3 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 cxd4 10. cxd5 exd5 11. cxd4 Qa5+ 12. Bd2 Qxd2+ 13. Qxd2 Nxd2 14. Kxd2 Nc6 15. Ne2
Sep-14-13  Nerwal: <8. a3 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 cxd4 10. cxd5 exd5 11. cxd4 Qa5+ 12. Bd2 Qxd2+ 13. Qxd2 Nxd2 14. Kxd2 Nc6 15. Ne2>

This is the problem with following fashion in openings. 15 years ago 5. e4 was universally considered dubious. Then it got a revival and white played 8. a3 or 8. cxd exd 9. ♘ge2. Then after some time white started to play 8. ♘ge2 at once; now the last trend is indeed 8. ♘f3, transposing after 8... cxd 9. ♘xd4. But that still doesn't mean this line is better than older ones...

Sep-14-13  zakkzheng: Different levels of play. Hou should play men's tournament.
Sep-14-13  xanadu: I agree with the comments of Nerwal. Objectively, Ushenina was not in a bad position by move 15, but it is the kind of position where she made mystakes or where she expends a lot of time. Even worst: it is the kind of positions that her oponnent like more...Then, why to play this opening and make this strategy? The team has huge responsabilities here.
Sep-14-13  notyetagm: A Ushenina vs Yifan Hou, 2013

Pimpin', pimpin', pimpin'.

Sep-14-13  SirRuthless: Wow Ushenina is being destroyed in this event. Hope she can make things interesting down the stretch.
Sep-14-13  csmath: This is going to be a slaughter. I think Hou is just too good for current female competition.

In the third game I think we can commend Anna for trying with aggressive approach with

5. e4

although I myself would never play this sideline. Classical a3 looks a heck of a lot more solid to me on general principles although even Kramnik tried this and did ground down Mickey Adams once in more than 100 moves. Hou is obviously well prepared for such dynamics and she does not shy away from immediate aggressive responses like

7. ...c5!?

Interesting that

15. Qb3? dxc4
16. Bxc4? Nac3!

such "natural" responses by white here are errors.

It takes time to calculate consequences and the threat of Ba4 might have not been even recognized by Ushenina until after 16th move by black.

Amazingly after

18. a4? [final nail in the coffin, yet another "natural" response but with failed tactics. However 18. Bxf7 Rxf7, 19. e6 Bxe6, 20. Nxe6 Qf6 leaves black is driver's seat.]

the game is already lost.

Up to now we can excuse Anna but desperation move

21. e6?

is really below master level since the idea of opening f-file is not exactly anything beneficial to white and moreover black has tactical blow that immediately finishes the game.

Totally dominating game, absolute massacre.

Sep-14-13  csmath: Possible improvement for white:

16. Rac1! Nec3
17. Bd3 Qh4!?
18. Be3 dxc4
19. Bf5 Rcd8
20. Rfe1 Rfe8
21. Nf3 Bxf5
22. Qxf5 g6
23. Qc2 Qg4
24. h3! Qe6
25. Bd4

and white is better! knights and pawns on c4 and a7 are all hanging. It is actually hard to find any good moves for black. Of course this is not all forced.

Sep-14-13  Bureaucrat: <csmath> Thanks for the analysis; interesting as always.

Hou is a very good player. I hope she will be invited to more top-level tournaments.

Sep-14-13  Paraconti: what's wrong with 24.Qxa4?
Sep-14-13  Gowe: <Paraconti> White is simple taking d4 with the queen and if something wild like Bxf7+, then there is always the Ne2+ trick, taking the queen back..
Sep-14-13  Everett: < notyetagm: A Ushenina vs Yifan Hou, 2013 Pimpin', pimpin', pimpin'.>


Sep-14-13  thegoldenband: <Paraconti: what's wrong with 24.Qxa4?>

<Gowe: White is simple taking d4 with the queen and if something wild like Bxf7+, then there is always the Ne2+ trick, taking the queen back.>

Yeah, 20. Qxa4 Nc3 looks surprisingly effective, with no good way for White to hold c4 and d4. Of course 20...Qxd4?? would be a horrible blunder!

Sep-14-13  kingfu: Has someone discovered a fatal flaw in 5. a3?
Sep-14-13  patzer2: <thegoldenband:> <Yeah, 20. Qxa4 Nc3 looks surprisingly effective, with no good way for White to hold c4 and d4. Of course 20...Qxd4?? would be a horrible blunder!>

Indeed, after 20. Qxa4 Nc3! 21. Qb4 Qxd4 22. Bxf7+ Rxf7 23. Qxd4 Ne2+ (diagram below)

click for larger view

White's gain of material in capturing the Knight with 20. Qxa4 proves to be illusory and temporary as Black regains the lost piece with interest following this Knight Fork.

Sep-15-13  luzhin: If Ushenina had played the natural 22.e7 there is the following fabulous forcing variation: 22...Qd3! 23.exf8+ Kxf8 24.Qa3+ Rc5! 25.Bd6+ Kg8! 26.Bxc5 Ne2+ 27.Kh1 Nxf2+!! 28.Bxf2 (Rxf2 fails to bank rank mate) Qxa3 29.Re1 g6 30.Nh6+ Kg7 and wins.
Sep-15-13  John Abraham: So a tactical slugfest with Hou Yifan eh?
Sep-17-13  stst: Yifan needs only to play in the Women's Championship, then all rest for men's tournaments, no more other games in the women's section. Then, aim for the Men's Championship ~ there's still some time to make history!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <kingfu: Has someone discovered a fatal flaw in 5. a3?>

Though I am not <au fait> with developments, probably not-5.a3 can hardly be bad. Has been played quite a lot, though; even at the end of my playing days in the late 1990s, had a few games with it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Natalia Pogonina: This game annotated by super GM Arkadij Naiditsch:

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