Women’s World Championship 09: Hou Yifan regains the title!

GM Hou Yifan’s victory in the 9th game of the Women’s World Chess Championship 2016 helped her clinch the match with a game to go. It was a dominating performance by the Chinese GM as she overcame GM Mariya Muzychuk with a 6-3 scoreline. Such was Hou Yifan’s dominance that she went unbeaten throughout the event.

Hou Yifan opened the 9th game with 1.e4. Trailing 5-3 in the match, Mariya justifiably went for the Sicilian Defence, aiming for a complicated duel. Although the opening battle ended satisfactorily for Mariya, she was unable to create enough complications later in the game. In the endgame, Hou Yifan played some immaculate chess and outplayed her opponent with ease. Mariya resigned on move 46 and Hou Yifan was crowned the new Women’s World Champion.

Women’s World Championship 05 & 06: Hou Yifan goes up 4-2

GM Hou Yifan’s crucial victory in the 6th game of the Women’s World Championship 2016 has helped her take a two-point lead over reigning Women’s World Champion GM Mariya Muzychuk. With only four more games to go, the Chinese GM seems pretty much on the course to regain the title of the Women’s World Champion.

Game 5:

The 5th game took off with Hou Yifan opting for the Reti opening. While Hou Yifan’s intention may have been to obtain a meaty middlegame, nothing of that sort happened – a lot of pieces were exchanged and the game fizzled out to a draw on move 33.

Game 6

Everything seemed to be going well for Mariya Muzychuk as an easy draw in Game 5 was followed by an opening success in Game 6. By move 20, the Ukrainian indeed had the more comfortable position. However, she suddenly went astray and lost her advantage. From that point on, everything went downhill for Mariya as Hou Yifan started outplaying her move by move. The Challenger’s advantage soon became overwhelming and Mariya decided to call it a day on move 38.

Women’s World Championship 03 & 04: Hou Yifan maintains her lead

The 3rd and 4th round games of the Women’s World Championship 2016 witnessed interesting draws. While the 3rd game was more of a positional battle, the 4th game turned out to be a short but exciting tactical skirmish. Thanks to the draws, GM Hou Yifan goes into the second rest day with a point’s lead over the defending Women’s World Champion GM Mariya Muzychuk.

A detailed game-by-game explanation follows:

Game 3

After being unable to obtain any advantage from the opening in Game 1, Mariya wheeled-in 1.d4 in Game 3, subsequently opting for the Catalan opening. In reply, Hou Yifan chose a solid continuation. Almost immediately after the opening, a queen trade took place, leaving White with the more comfortable position. However, a few precise moves by Hou Yifan enabled her to neutralize White’s play. The game was agreed drawn on move 36.

Game 4

The 4th game saw a repeat of the opening from Game 2 – once again Mariya opted for the Open Ruy Lopez. Hou Yifan was the first to deviate as she chose the line starting with 9.c3 instead of 9.Be3 (as seen in game 2). However, Mariya seemed extremely well prepared. What ensued was a tactical bloodbath where both the players played the ‘only’ moves. The game was drawn on move 21 when Mariya forced a picturesque repetition.

Women’s World Championship 02: Hou Yifan draws first blood

A crisp 32-move victory over reigning Women’s World Champion GM Mariya Muzychuk helped GM Hou Yifan grab an early lead in this 10-game match for the title of the Women’s World Champion.

The second round game, just like the first one, took off with the opening moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6. However, Hou Yifan chose to wheel in the ever-popular Ruy Lopez as opposed to Mariya’s Closed Guico in the first game. In reply, Mariya opted for the trendy Open Ruy Lopez. The opening battle ended pretty much in equality.

Immediately after the opening, Hou Yifan willingly accepted a doubling of her f-pawns, thus creating some interesting chances on the King-side. However, Mariya’s passive play allowed the Chinese GM to breakthrough favourably on all parts of the board. On the ensuing moves, Mariya made one mistake after another and her position crumbled. As such, she decided to call it a day on move 32, resulting in Hou Yifan going 1.5-0.5 up in the match.

The 3rd game of the match will be played on 5th March. Today is a rest day.

Women’s World Championship 01: A peaceful beginning

The FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship 2016 took off yesterday in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. Reigning Women’s World Champion GM Mariya Muzychuk is taking on the highest-rated active female player GM Hou Yifan in a match of 10 games. Being the winner of the last Grand Prix cycle, Hou Yifan has gained the right to challenge Mariya for the top laurel in Women’s Chess.

The first game turned out to be a peaceful one. Playing the white side of the Closed Guico Piano opening, Mariya was unable to challenge Hou Yifan’s solid position by any means. With lots of pieces exchanged and a lifeless Queen endgame on board, the players decided to shake hands on move 31.

The second game, to be played today, will witness the two players facing each other with colours reversed.