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Women WCh 2015 - Final (2)

The second game of the final was a Ruy Lopez. It was a long positional battle as one would expect. Mariya was white and maintained for a long time a positional advantage. This forced Natalija to use a lot of time in order to find the proper defence. Mariya increased the pressure and in time trouble Natalija could not hold the position against the final assault on her King. Notice how black completely forgot about Bb7!

[Event "WWCC2015"][Site "Sochi"][Date "2015.04.03"][Round "35.1"][White "Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR)"][Black "Pogonina, Natalija (RUS)"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "5qk1/1b1r1p2/p2p1Pp1/P2Pn2p/1PpNP2P/6N1/1P1Q2K1/5R2 w - - 0 53"][ECO "C95"]53. Nf3 {53. Nxh5 ... is better} Ng4 54. Nxh5 gxh5 {This was the last straw. Black should not take that pawn if it wants to play longer. 54... Bc8 is needed} 55. Qg5+ Kh8 56. Qxh5+ Nh6 57. Kh2 Qg8 58. Rg1

Women WCh 2015 - Final (1)

Natalija and Mariya are unlikely finalists, facing each other in a 4 games match with possible tie break games in case of a tie! The first game was very quiet with both players content to play cautious, exchange pieces and reach a draw. Those interested in the Anti-Meran might like to save it to their database for reference.

[Event "WWCC2015"][Site "Sochi"][Date "2015.04.02"][Round "34.1"][White "Pogonina, Natalija (RUS)"][Black "Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR)"][Result "1/2-1/2"][ECO "D45"]1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Be2 a6 11. Rd1 Qc7 12. e4 e5 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. h3 Re8 15. Bg5 Nxf3+ 16. Bxf3 Be6 17. Rac1 Rad8 18. b3 Bh2+ 19. Kf1 Be5 20. Be3 h6 21. Ne2 Rxd1+ 22. Rxd1 Bc8 23. Kg1 Bb7 24. g3 Rd8 25. Rxd8+ Qxd8 26. Bg2 Bc7 27. Nf4 Nd7 28. Nd3 Bb6 29. Nc5 Bc8 30. Nxd7 Bxd7 31. Bc5 Bxc5 32. Qxc5 Qa5 33. a3 Be6 34. e5 Qe1+ 35. Kh2 Bxb3 36. Bxc6 Be6 37. Bg2 Qe2 38. Qb6 Qxe5 39. Qxa6 Qc5 40. Qa8+ Kh7

Women WCh 2015 - Semifinals (2)

After yesterday masteful endgame display by Pia, Natalija had to win. It is remarkable in this situation Pia decided to play the Sicilian and put a lot of faith into a Queenside dominance. This however resulted into negligence on the Kingside! Natalija correctly observed it and after good preparation it began the final assault with a swift attack. Her win tied the match; well deserved result for Natalija!

[Event "WWCC2015"][Site "Sochi"][Date "2015.03.30"][Round "29.2"][White "Pogonina, Natalija (RUS)"][Black "Cramling, Pia (SWE)"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "2rq4/1r1p1pk1/pp2p1pp/4P3/P1nRN3/2P3Q1/2P2PPP/4R1K1 w - - 0 27"][ECO "B28"]27. h4 Qc7 28. f4 b5 29. h5 Qd8 30. axb5 axb5 31. Qg4 Qe7 32. Rd3 Rg8 33. Nf6 Rh8 34. Rg3 d5 35. hxg6 fxg6 36. Qxg6+ Kf8 37. Ra1 Ra7 38. Nd7+

Women WCh 2015 - Semifinals (1)

Pia is a very experienced player. She got a small but persistent advantage and took it into a long endgame. We can enjoy her endgame technique; to me it is better than reading a book. Watch and learn!

[Event "WWCC2015"][Site "Sochi"][Date "2015.03.29"][Round "28.2"][White "Cramling, Pia (SWE)"][Black "Pogonina, Natalija (RUS)"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "8/1pk2p2/3r3p/PR1p2pP/3P2P1/3KP3/8/8 w - - 0 55"][ECO "D56"]55. e4 dxe4+ 56. Kxe4 Rf6 57. Rf5 Re6+ 58. Kd5 Rd6+ 59. Kc4 f6 60. Rb5 Re6 61. Kd5 Re3 62. Rb6 Rf3 63. Ke6 Rf4 64. d5 Re4+ 65. Kxf6 Rxg4 66. d6+ Kc8 67. Kg6 Rg1 68. Kxh6 g4 69. Kg7 g3 70. h6 Rh1 71. Rb2 Rh4 72. h7 Rg4+ 73. Kf6 Rh4 74. Kg6 Kd7 75. Rxb7+ Kxd6 76. Rb1 Ke5 77. a6 g2 78. Rg1 Rg4+ 79. Kh5

Women WCh 2015 - Quarterfinals (2)

The Benko gambit is rarely seen in top events; however Natalija needed a win with black. The usual pressure black has for the sacrificed pawn was tangible during the first 30 something moves, then at move 33 black got it back. Both players then decided to go for the kill with black having a slight upper hand which brought her the victory in the end. This match goes now into tie breaks.

[Event "WWCC2015"][Site "Sochi"][Date "2015.03.27"][Round "23.2"][White "Zhao, Xue (CHN)"][Black "Pogonina, Natalija (RUS)"][Result "0-1"][ECO "A58"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. bxa6 g6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. g3 O-O 8. Bg2 d6 9. Nf3 Nxa6 10. O-O Qb6 11. Re1 Nc7 12. e4 Nd7 13. a4 Ba6 14. Ra3 Rfb8 15. Qc2 Ne5 16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. Nd1 e6 18. Bd2 Bd4 19. Bc3 e5 {black applies continuous pressure} 20. Bh3 Ra7 21. Bg4 Rab7 22. Be2 c4 23. Bxd4 Qxd4 24. Ra2 Ne8 25. Nc3 Rb4 26. Rd1 Qb6 27. a5 Qc7 28. Rda1 Nf6 29. Na4 Nd7 30. Nb6 Rb7 31. Ra4 Rxa4 32. Qxa4 Nxb6 33. axb6 Rxb6 {material is now equal again and black has a small advantage} 34. Rc1 Qc5 35. b3 Bb5 36. Qa8+ Kg7 37. bxc4 Ba6 38. Re1 Qb4 39. Kf1 Bxc4 40. Bxc4 Qxc4+ 41. Kg2 Rb1 {both players are going for the win} 42. Qa5 Qd3 43. Kh3 Rb2 44. Qc7 Rxf2 45. Qxd6 Qc3 46. Rb1 Qc8+