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Vladimir BELOV, grandmaster. The Day One Review
August 30, 2008

Most exciting chess of the first day was played between the favorites and the underdogs. Sometimes the only things necessary for the stronger ones were to succeed in the opening and calculate some simple tactics. For example, look at the examples below.

Hou Yifan - Mona Khaled
Ruy Lopez C60

 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 4.Nc3 g6. Black's risky opening choice is provoking the young chess star to start aggressive actions in the very beginning of the game.

5.d4 exd4 6.Nd5 Bg7 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bf6 Bxf6 9.Nxf6+ Kf8 10.0-0.

10...Nf5? (10...Kg7 seemed more natural) 11.Nd5 Ng7. The knight's location is clearly awkward even if we consider that it goes to e6.
12.Bc4 Ne6 13.Qd2 b6 14.c3! It turns out that White is not interested in regaining the pawn.
14...Na5 15.Be2 c6 16.Nf4 dxc3 17.Nxe6+ fxe6 18.Qxc3. Black is totally helpless before the attack of white pieces. He only has to pray for a miracle, which rarely happens when playing against Chinese grandmasters.
18...Kg8 19.Rad1 Qe8 20.Ne5 h5 21.b4 Nb7 22.Rd3 Kh7 23.Rh3 Nd8.

24.Nxg6! Although any adequate move wins for White here, the way chosen by Hou Yifan is the most precise.
24...Kxg6 25.Rg3+. Black resigns.

Aleksandra KOSTENIUK - Atousa POURKASHYAN
Petroff Defense C43

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.dxe5 Be7 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Nc3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 Bg4 9.Re1 Qd7. Earlier Black opted for castling short , which looks more sensible.
10.h3.

10...Be6? I don't think the bishop was developed to g4 just to provoke h2-h2. Black should have played in the more principled way - 10...Bh5.
11.Rb1 Rb8 12.Ng5 Bxg5 13.Bxg5 0-0 14.Qf3. Bishop pair, active pieces, and good mating perspectives - the outcome of the opening seems to favor White. In the subsequent game Aleksandra successfully utilized these advantages.
14...Rfe8 15.Rbd1 Ne7 16.c4 Qc6 17.cxd5 Bxd5 18.Qg3 Ng6 19.h4 h5 20.f4 Qc5+ 21.Kh2 Bxa2. The fruit is ripen, just take it!

22.Bf6! gxf6 23.Bxg6 fxe5 ( 23...Qf8 could prolong the resistance) 24.Rd7! Kh8 25.Qg5 Qf8 26.Qxh5+ Kg7 27.Qh7+ Kf6 28.fxe5+ Rxe5 29.Rf1+ Ke6 30.Rfxf7.

Black resigns. A convincing finale!
However, not all the favorites managed to win their games convincingly. Often the resistance of the lower-rated opponents was really tough.

Pia CRAMLING - Sarai SANCHEZ CASTILLO

 

18...f6! Black, being under positional pressure, seeks tactical chances.
19.Ng6! Aimed at keeping the position as closed as possible.
19...hxg6 20.Rxb7 e5 21.Bg3. Careless 21.Qxe4?! leads to a dangerous position for White: 21...Re8 22.Bg3 Qa5+ 23.Kd1 Rad8.
21...exd4 22.Qc4+ Kh7 23.exd4 f5. Black obtains some counterplay. Obviously, this was not in the White's script.
24.Be5 Bf6 25.Bd6 Re8. More interesting is 25...Qa5+ 26.Kc2 Rad8!?

26.h4! Cramling finds a weakness in Black's camp, and from now on both kings will require a lot of attention.
26...f4 27.h5 e3+? The player from Venezuela can't help herself giving a check, after which White gets more attacking options. It was better to hold emotions and choose the cool 27...gxh5! 28.Rh1 h4 with a complicated game.
28.fxe3 fxe3+ 29.Ke2?! White's king also enjoys some adrenaline, however, 29.Kc2! was stronger, for example, 29...Qc8 30.hxg6+ Kh6 31.Bf4+ Kh5 32.Rh1+ Kg4 33.Qe2+ Kxf4 34.g3+! Ke4 35.Qd3+ Kf3 36.Qf1+ Ke4 37.Qf4+ Kd5 38.Rh5+ Kc4 39.Rb4#.
29...Qc8 30.hxg6+ Kh6. After 30...Kxg6!? White has the nice 31.Qf7+ Kg5 32.Rd7! Re4 33.Be5! (33.Rh1?! Qe8) 33...Qg8 34.Bxf6+ gxf6 35.Rf1 Qxf7 36.Rxf7 with a clear advantage in the endgame.
31.Bf4+. 31.Rh1+! was stronger: Kg5 32.d5 Qxb7 33.Qh4+ Kf5 34.Qh3+ Ke4 35.Qg4+ Kxd5 36.Rd1+ Bd4 37.Rxd4#.
31...Kh5 32.Rh1+ Bh4?! After 32...Kg4 White has to seek for a study-like 33.Be5! Qxb7 34.d5+ Kg5 35.Qf4+ Kxg6 36.Bxf6 Qa6+ 37.Kf3, and she mates first.

33.Rxg7? The series of mistakes extends. White had a simple victory after 33.g3 Qg4+ 34.Ke1.
33...Qg4+ 34.Kd3 Qf5+? Here she checks again... This time it is fatal. After the correct 34...Qxf4! 35.Rh7+ Kxg6 36.R7xh4 Qf5+ 37.Kc3 e2 38.Rh6+ Kg7 39.Rh7+ Qxh7 40.Rxh7+ Kxh7 41.Qf7+ the game would be drawn.
35.Kc3 Qxf4 36.Rh7+ Kxg6 37.R7xh4 Qf5 38.R1h3 e2 39.Rg3+ Kf6. White also mates after 39...Qg5 40.Qd3+! Kf6 41.Qf3+ Qf5 42.Rh6+ Ke7 43.Rg7+ Kd8 44.Rd6+ Kc8 45.Qxc6+ Kb8 46.Qb7#.
40.Rh6+. Black resigns. The game could continue 40...Ke7 41.Rg7+ Kd8 42.Rd6+ Kc8 43.Qa6+, etc.

 

There were a couple of sensations, too. The number one of the Ukrainian delegation suffered from her former compatriot.

Natalia Zhukova - Katerina Rohonyan

Black seems being under serious pressure, and White has many reasonable moves. However, the text-move 33.Rb1? is not one of them, as Black quickly points out.
33...h5 34.Kg3 hxg4 35.hxg4.

35...Nf5+! A thunderstorm in the middle of a fine sunny day!
36.gxf5 Qxf5 37.Rxb3? There was no reason to panic. White had a good option: 37.Nc3, and after 37...Qxf6 38.Ne4 Qh8 39.Rxb3 Rxb3 40.Qxb3 Qh1 41.Nf6+ the game must be drawn.
37...Rxb3 38.Qxb3 Qxf6 39.Qb8 Qa1. The outline of the fight has totally changed. Black not only escaped, but got some extra material along the way!

This position could not be saved for White. The game ended 40.Nb2 Nc7 41.Nd8 Qa3+ 42.Kg2 Nb5 43.cxb5 Qxb2+ 44.Kg3 Qxb5 45.Qa8 a5 46.Nc6 a4 47.f5 Qd3+ 48.Kh2 Qe2+ 49.Kg3 Qe3+ 50.Kh2 a3. White resigns.

(translation by Anna Burtasova)

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