Women’s World Chess Championship: Semifinal Pairings


No tiebreakers needed this round! That means, tomorrow, the ladies finally get a well-deserved rest day before the following formidable match-ups get underway:

  • Alexandra Kosteniuk – Pia Cramling
  • Hou Yifan – Humpy Koneru

The veteran Cramling could probably be seen as something of a surprise, but she played some rather efficient chess in taking advantage of an apparently out-of-form Stefanova.

Today’s games were particularly interesting to me on account of their openings. It’s always exciting to see a rising star like Hou Yifan playing a somewhat offbeat opening that with which you yourself have been known to tussle. In this case, the exchange Caro-Kann, with Bd3 as White. Can’t say that I’ve been all too successful with it, as Braden Bournival can happily attest. But, I enjoy the ease of development and simple plan, nonetheless.

The other game of import to me was Kosteniuk’s crush of Ushenina from the black side of a Nimzo-Indian. Having studied the awesome Chess Openings For Black with the idea of abandoning my beloved King’s Indian Defense (I still waver about ending that lifelong relationship, and return to it from time to time), the fireworks in this one impressed.

So, what does the book have to say about this line?
 

Ack! It doesn’t. 4…d5 is not its recommendation, and since it’s a repertoire book, it only has to give you a primary move or two against each variation of the opponent. I could’ve sworn I’d seen this whole wild 11.Be5 0-0 line in recent high-level play. Perhaps it was one of Kramnik’s games?


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