Chess Piece

Women World Chess Championship
Shanghai / Vladivostok
Jan. 5-24, 2020

Final Standings:

Ju Wenjun CHN 2584, three wins six draws three losses, 6.0/12

Aleksandra Goryachkina RUS 2578, three wins six draws three losses, 6.0/12


Ju Wenjun defeated Goryachkina 2.5-1.5

Time Control:

Regular Match — 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 30 minutes play-to-finish, with 30 seconds added to your clock after every move starting move 1

Tiebreaks — 25 minutes for the entire game with 10 seconds added to your clock after every move starting move 1

This was the final game of the world championship match (not counting tie-breaks) of Ju Wenjun and Aleksandra Goryachkina. Ju was a point ahead and Goryachkina had to win at all costs. What is she to do?

In the 1987 world championship match (Seville) between Kasparov and Karpov the defending champion Kasparov faced a similar situation and had to win “on demand.” In those days in case of a tied match the defending champion kept his title, so, in short, in case of a draw or loss Karpov becomes world champion. If Kasparov wins he remains world champion.

Kasparov, Garry (2740) — Karpov, Anatoly (2700) [A14]
World-ch33–KK4 Kasparov-Karpov +4–4=16 Seville (24), 18.12.1987

1.c4 e6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 d5 4.b3 Be7 5.Bg2 0–0 6.0–0 b6 7.Bb2 Bb7 8.e3 Nbd7 9.Nc3 Ne4 10.Ne2 a5 11.d3 Bf6 12.Qc2 Bxb2 13.Qxb2 Nd6 14.cxd5 Bxd5 15.d4! c5 16.Rfd1 Rc8?! 17.Nf4 Bxf3

[17…Be4? 18.dxc5 Nxc5 19.Qe5 Ncb7 20.Nh5 White wins]

18.Bxf3 Qe7 19.Rac1 Rfd8 20.dxc5 Nxc5 21.b4! axb4 22.Qxb4 Qa7 23.a3 Nf5 24.Rb1 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Qc7 26.Nd3 h6 27.Rc1 Ne7 28.Qb5 Nf5 29.a4 Nd6 30.Qb1 Qa7 31.Ne5! Nxa4? 32.Rxc8+ Nxc8 33.Qd1?

There was a win with 33.Qb5! Kh7! (33…Nd6 34.Qc6 wins a piece for White) 34.Nc6 Qa8 35.Qd3+! f5 (35…g6 36.Qd7 Kg7 37.Ne5 wins) 36.Qd8 with the deadly threat of Ne7.



34.Qd8+ Kh7 35.Nxf7 Ng6 36.Qe8 Qe7 37.Qxa4 Qxf7 38.Be4

Kasparov is still clearly better.

38…Kg8 39.Qb5 Nf8 40.Qxb6 Qf6 41.Qb5 Qe7 42.Kg2 g6 43.Qa5 Qg7 44.Qc5 Qf7 45.h4 h5?


46.Qc6 Qe7 47.Bd3 Qf7 48.Qd6 Kg7 49.e4 Kg8 50.Bc4 Kg7 51.Qe5+ Kg8 52.Qd6 Kg7 53.Bb5 Kg8 54.Bc6 Qa7 55.Qb4! Qc7 56.Qb7! Qd8 57.e5!

Tremendous game by Kasparov. He is now winning again.

57…Qa5 58.Be8 Qc5 59.Qf7+ Kh8 60.Ba4 Qd5+ 61.Kh2 Qc5 62.Bb3 Qc8 63.Bd1 Qc5 64.Kg2 1–0

Karpov resigns because his queen is stuck to the defense of the f8-knight and he will have to allow White’s bishop to go to the b1-h7 diagonal and start gobbling up his pawns. For example 64.Kg2 Qb4 65.Bf3 Qc5 66.Be4 Qb4 67.f3! (67.Bxg6?? Nxg6 68.Qxg6 Qb7+ 69.Kh2 Qg2+!!= with stalemate) 67…Qd2+ 68.Kh3 Qb4 (68…Qh6 69.f4 Qg7 70.Qxg7+ Kxg7 71.Bc6 the Black king will be zugzwanged into giving up his pawns) 69.Bxg6 Nxg6 70.Qxg6 Qxh4+ 71.Kg2!

After he won this game Kasparov was given the loudest and most prolonged (roughly 20 minutes) ovation he had ever been awarded outside of his own country. The threater walls were shaking and Spanish TV interrupted the broadcoast of a football match to switch to the conclusion of the game.

How did Garry did it? Well, he played to avoid exchanges, kept the position closed and just kept piling on the threats until Karpov collapsed.

Let us see how Goryachkina handled her own must-win situation.

Goryachkina, Aleksandra (2578) — Ju,Wenjun (2584) [D00]
Wch Women 2020 Shanghai/ Vladivostok (12.1), 23.01.2020

1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bf4

The Jobava Attack! Black’s main options are: e6, Bf5, g6, and c5. If she had put this bishop on g5 then it would have been the Veresov Attack, which is usually followed up by f2–f3 and e2–e4.


The most logical reply is 3…Bf5 but it can lead to some complications: 4.f3 (4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 can also be played, of course) 4…e6 5.g4 Bg6 6.h4 which was what Jobava used to run over Mamedyarov in Dubai 2014. Let me show you how deadly it can be: 6…h6 7.e3 c5 8.h5! Bh7 9.Nb5 Na6 10.c3 Be7 11.Bd3 Bxd3 12.Qxd3 Nd7 13.Ne2 0–0 14.a4 Bf6 15.Bd6 Re8 16.f4! Nb6 17.g5! hxg5 18.h6! g6 19.fxg5 Bxg5 20.h7+! Kg7 21.Be5+ f6 (21…Bf6 22.Nd6 Bxe5 23.dxe5) 22.Nd6 Rh8 (22…fxe5 23.Nxe8+ Qxe8 24.h8Q+ Qxh8 25.Rxh8 Rxh8 26.0–0–0 winning) 23.Nf4! With the dual threats of Qxg6 and Nxe6. 23…Bxf4 24.Bxf4 g5 25.0–0–0 Nc4 (25…gxf4 26.Qg6+!! Kxg6 27.Rdg1#) 26.Rh6!! (threatening Qg6+ followed by Qf7 mate) 26…Kxh6 27.Nf7+ Kg7 28.Nxd8 Raxd8 Jobava,B (2713)-Mamedyarov,S (2743) Wch Rapid Dubai 2014 1–0 37.

4.Nb5 Na6 5.e3 Bb4+

Forcing c2–c3 which cuts off White’s knight’s retreat.

6.c3 Be7 7.a4 0–0 8.Bd3 c6 9.Na3 c5 10.Nf3 Ne4 11.h3 f5 12.Nb5 c4 13.Bxe4 fxe4 14.Ne5 Nb8!

Getting her knight back into the game. Ju Wenjun has responded logically to White’s sudden offensive and, as of this time, there is nothing wrong with her position.

15.0–0 a6 16.Na3 Nd7 17.Nc2 Qe8 18.f3 Nxe5 19.Bxe5 Bd7 20.Ne1 Qh5 21.Kh2!

This is an attacking move. White plans a pawn advance starting g2–g4.

21…exf3 22.Nxf3 Be8 23.Qe1 Qg6 24.Bf4 Qe4 25.a5!

Preventing Black’s …g7–g5. Now White will slowly prepare e3–e4.

25…h6 26.Nd2 Qh7 27.e4! dxe4 28.Be5 Rc8 29.Rxf8+ Bxf8 30.Qe2!

Goryachkina gives Black something new to worry about — instead of taking the e4–pawn she can go after c4, which might be even more important.

30…e3 31.Nxc4

[31.Qxe3 Qd3!]

31…Bb5 32.b3 Qe4 33.Rf1 Qc6 34.Qxe3 <D>



It turns out that the intended 34…Bxc4 35.bxc4 Qxc4 leads to a mating attack after 36.Qf3 Qxc3 37.Qf7+ Kh7 (If 37…Kh8 38.Qxb7 threatens Rxf8+ followed by Qxg7 mate) 38.Rf6!! (threatening Be5–f4 followed by Rxh6+) 38…Qxa5 39.Qg6+ Kg8 40.Rf7 to stop the mate Black has to give up her queen for the e5–bishop.

35.Qe2 Qg6 36.Rf3 Kh7 37.Qf2 Bc6 38.Rg3!

Of course not 38.Rxf8?? Rxf8 39.Qxf8 Qxg2#

38…Qf5 39.Qe2

The Black queen will be pushed back. Watch.

39…Rd8 40.Ne3 Qf7 41.Qd3+ g6 42.Rg4

On the way to f4.

42…Bg7 43.Bxg7 Kxg7 44.Nc4 Bb5 45.Qg3 Bxc4 46.bxc4 Rd7 47.Re4 Qf6 48.Qe3 Rd6 49.c5 Rc6 50.Kg1 Qf5 51.Rf4 Qg5 52.h4!

The final nail in the coffin.


If 52…Qh5 53.g4! Qxh4 (53…Qd5 54.c4!) 54.Qe5+ Kg8 55.Qb8+ followed by mate.

53.Qe5+ Kg8 54.Rf6 Kh7 55.h5 gxh5 56.Qf4 e5 57.Qxh6+ Kg8 58.Qg6+ Kh8 59.Qxh5+ Kg8 60.Qg5+ 1–0

[60.Qg5+ Qg7 61.Qxg7+ Kxg7 62.Rxc6 bxc6 63.d5 Kf7 64.d6 Ke6 65.g4 one of the pawns will queen]

Of course, they have already changed the rule about defending-champion-keeps-the-title-in-case-of-a-drawn match. Nowadays they have to play tie-breaks. The 4-game tie-break at rapid time controls were duly played and Ju Wenjun prevailed. Never mind, Goryachkina’s time will come.

Many years ago, in the early 1950s, Botvinnik was world champion and his strongest rivals were David Bronstein and Issac Boleslavsky. All of them with a surname starting with “B”.

In the 30-year period 1970-2000 it was the K’s who dominated. First it was Karpov, then Kasparov, Korchnoi got into the act too and later on Kramnik, Kamsky and even later on Karjakin. Don’t forget that Alexander Halifman added a “K” to his name and immediately won the 1998 FIDE World Chess Championship. Even if second, GM Alexander Huzman, added a “K” to his name.

And then there is this thing with the initials “JB”. Haven’t you noticed that the super-spies all of those initials? Let’s see — James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer of “24” fame. Then there is Julian Bashir of “Deep Space Nine” fame who oftentimes goes on the holodeck and pretends to be a super-spy himself. I noticed that several years ago when you had Justin Bieber who was at the height of his fame before he self-destructed. And, oh yes, Jojo Binay who ran for President of the Philippines and had a good chance to win. Well, that did not come to pass, but who knows?

The story now is that the initials “AG” will be the next letters to dominate the chess world. In the Candidates’ tournament for the World Championship you have Alexander Grischuk and Anish Giri. And here in the Women’s Championship you have Aleksandra Goryachkina.

Aleksandra is 21 years old and has proven that she has what it takes to contend for the world title. She has many playing years ahead of her and I predict will soon become women’s world champion. Soon, but not now.


Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.