Another Pleasing Appetizer in Second Round of Women's World Championship

Please download our printable bulletin of this round report, or read along here!



A championship match is like an extravagant multi-course meal. Nobody wants to have their palette bombarded with overwhelming flavors from the first bite. It’s better to “course out” the highlights through playful tastes here and a hint of what’s to come there.


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The start of the second game (photo courtesy Stev Bonhage/FIDE)


One day, it’s a surprise on move one. The next, it’s Azeri GM Teimour Radjabov confirmed as one of the challenger’s seconds. Nobody has won a game yet, but the anticipation is only continuing to build after another tense game in round two.



After struggling a bit with the black pieces yesterday, defending champion GM Ju Wenjun stuck to her primary weapon of 1. d4 in her first white game. GM Lei Tingjie’s choice of a Semi-Tarrasch was not quite the dynamic punch that fans of the Grunfeld acolyte may have hoped for. Still, she managed to build up a quick edge in a fresh position.


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A focused challenger with a promising position once again (courtesy Stev Bonhage/FIDE)


A critical moment came when Lei had to decide whether to play a risky … g7-g5 on move 15. The energy of such double-edged play was surely tempting, as she confirmed after the game, but she ultimately made the same prudent decision that one prominent commentator claimed she would have made in such a high-stakes match.



Eventually, though, temptation was too great at Lei went for the move that was screaming out to be played. She enjoyed a healthy advantage as a result, with Ju now struggling out of the opening with both colors. But the trends are not all bad for Ju, as her resilient defensive skills recovered the half-point once again.


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A common pose for the defending champ over the course of the first two games (courtesy Stev Bonhage/FIDE)


Today's annotations come from WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova. Enjoy some dazzling variations and clean explanations of an entertaining game below, and don't forget to download our printable bulletin.



After today's rest day, play resumes with game three at 2 a.m. CST on Saturday, July 8.

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