Goryachkina Takes the Lead in Vladivostok

Aleksandra Goryachkina has taken the lead at the 2020 Women’s World Chess Championship with a win on Friday over Ju Wenjun. The score is 4.5-3.5 after eight rounds of play. After holding a tricky draw in Round 7, the first game in the Vladivostok portion of the match, the 21 year old Challenger took her chances in Round 8.

Ju, the current World Champion, essayed a sideline in the Exchange Variation of the Queen’s Gambit with 8. … Ne4 and was already under pressure by move 17. Eschewing more active defensive ideas, Ju struggled to keep the balance with rear-guard actions, and 25. … Qg7?! and 29. … b6? sealed her fate.
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[Event "WCh Women 2020"]
[Site "Shanghai/Vladivostok CHN"]
[Date "2020.01.16"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Ju, Wenjun"]
[Black "Goryachkina, Aleksandra"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2584"]
[BlackElo "2578"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "134"]
[EventDate "2020.01.05"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. O-O Nd7 7. Be3 Qe7 $5
8. Qe1 {A new move.} (8. Nc3 Bd6 9. Nd2 Nf8 10. Nc4 Ne6 11. Nxd6+ Qxd6 12. Ne2
c5 {1-0 (32) Adams,M (2701)-Howell,D (2676) London 2019}) 8... O-O 9. Nc3 Re8
10. a3 Bd6 11. Nd2 Nf8 12. f4 exf4 13. Bxf4 Ng6 14. Bg3 Be6 15. Nf3 Rad8 16.
Kh1 Bg4 17. h3 Bxf3 18. Rxf3 Rd7 19. Rf5 b6 20. Ne2 c5 21. b3 Qd8 22. Qf2 Bxg3
23. Qxg3 Qh4 24. Qxh4 Nxh4 25. Rf2 Ng6 26. Nc3 {Equal, but certainly easier to
play for White. Goryachkina has to defend for many moves, but is up to the
task.} Ne5 27. g3 a5 28. a4 Nc6 29. Kg2 Nb4 30. g4 Re5 31. Nd1 h5 32. Ne3 Nc6
33. Kg3 Nd4 34. Raf1 f6 35. Nd5 Kf7 36. Ne3 Kg8 37. Nf5 hxg4 38. hxg4 Nxf5+ 39.
gxf5 g6 40. fxg6 Rg5+ 41. Kf4 Rxg6 42. Ke3 Rf7 43. Kd2 Kf8 44. Kc3 Ke7 45. Kc4
c6 46. Rh1 Rg8 47. Rh6 Ke6 48. Rh5 Rfg7 49. c3 Rg5 50. Rh6 R5g6 51. Rfh2 f5 52.
Rxg6+ Rxg6 53. exf5+ Kxf5 54. d4 cxd4 55. cxd4 Rg1 56. Rh6 Rc1+ 57. Kd3 Rd1+
58. Kc2 Rxd4 59. Rxc6 Rb4 60. Kc3 Ke5 61. Rc4 Rxc4+ 62. Kxc4 Kd6 63. Kb5 Kc7
64. Ka6 Kc6 65. Ka7 Kc7 66. Ka6 Kc6 67. Ka7 Kc7 1/2-1/2

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[Event "WCh Women 2020"]
[Site "Shanghai/Vladivostok CHN"]
[Date "2020.01.17"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Goryachkina, Aleksandra"]
[Black "Ju, Wenjun"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D35"]
[WhiteElo "2578"]
[BlackElo "2584"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "89"]
[EventDate "2020.01.05"]

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 Be7 8. Bd3
Ne4 $5 (8... O-O 9. Qc2 Re8 10. Nge2 Nbd7) 9. Bg3 $5 {An interesting decision,
giving up the bishop pair in exchange for the half-open h-file and slightly
better development.} (9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Bxe4 dxe4 11. Qc2 f5 12. Nge2 O-O 13.
Nf4 Qf7 14. h4 {1-0 (35) Sedlak,N (2556)-Bergez,L (2411) Lienz 2011}) 9... Nxg3
10. hxg3 Nd7 11. Nf3 Nf6 12. Qc2 Be6 13. O-O-O Qc7 14. Kb1 (14. Ng5 {tries to
use the pin, but it might be tricky more than anything else.} Bg4 15. f3 $5 Bd7
16. g4 Nxg4 (16... Rg8 17. Nh7 O-O-O $5) 17. Nxd5 Qd6 18. Nxf7 Kxf7 19. Nxe7
Nxe3 {is probably just equal.} 20. Bg6+ Kf8 $1 (20... Kxe7 $6 21. Rhe1) 21. Qb3
Qe6 22. Qxe6 Bxe6 23. Rhe1 Kxe7 24. Rxe3 Kf6 $11) 14... O-O-O 15. Na4 Kb8 16.
Nc5 Bxc5 17. dxc5 Bg4 18. Rc1 Bxf3 19. gxf3 d4 20. e4 g5 21. Qd2 Nd7 $6 {
Allowing f3-f4 may be a mistake.} (21... Qe7 $5 22. b4 $13) 22. f4 f6 (22...
gxf4 23. gxf4 h5 $5) 23. Rh5 $1 {Freezing the h-pawn and giving White a target
to work on.} gxf4 24. gxf4 Nf8 25. f5 {"Ya gotta give squares to get squares!"
(Bobby Fischer) Goryachkina locks down e6 and g6, but Ju's knight can reroute,
potentially to e5.} (25. b4 Ng6 26. Rf5 Rdf8 27. Rh1 $14) 25... Qg7 {Probably
too passive.} (25... Nd7 $5 {is a more dynamic alternative. White can snatch a
pawn with} 26. Rxh6 Rxh6 27. Qxh6 {but the strongly placed knight after} Ne5 {
provides counterplay.}) 26. Qf4+ Ka8 $6 (26... Qc7 27. Qh4 (27. Qd2 $5 {
offers to repeat unless White finds another plan}) (27. Qh2 Qxh2 28. Rxh2 Nd7
29. b4 Ne5 30. Kc2) 27... Nd7 28. Rxh6 Rxh6 29. Qxh6 Ne5 $132) 27. Qh2 Nd7 28.
f4 Qf8 29. b4 {White has space and targets. This looks tough to hold, and in
truth, it's hard to find a good move for Black here!} b6 $2 {Logical, but for
the weakening of the long diagonal...} ({Giving up the pawn with} 29... Qe7 {
isn't great either:} 30. Rxh6 Rxh6 31. Qxh6 a5 32. a3 $1) (29... Qg7 $2 {
fails to} 30. Rg1 Qf8 31. Rg6) 30. e5 $1 bxc5 (30... fxe5 31. fxe5 {followed
by Bd3-e4 looks horrible for Black. The e- and f-pawns are marching quickly!})
31. Qh1 $1 Nb8 32. Be4 (32. b5 $1 {is even stronger.}) 32... Rh7 33. Rxc5 Rb7
34. Bxc6 Nxc6 35. Qxc6 d3 {Ju's only shot at counterplay is the d-pawn, but
it's not enough.} 36. Rb5 Rdb8 37. e6 $1 Qd8 38. Rh1 d2 39. Rd5 $1 Qc8 40. Qxc8
Rxb4+ 41. Ka1 Rxc8 42. Rxd2 {The rook ending is an easy win with the protected
passer on e6 and the weak h-pawn to pick up.} Kb7 (42... Rxf4 $2 {is verboten
due to} 43. e7) 43. Rd7+ Kb6 44. e7 Re8 45. Re1 1-0

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Saturday is a Rest Day in Vladivostok. Play resumes with Round 9 on Sunday, when Ju will have White and will be looking to even the match. Live coverage will be available at"> the FIDE YouTube channel beginning at 12:30am EST on Sunday.
Quick Links Match Website   Full Match Schedule Live on Chess24 IM Carissa Yip Annotations: Game 4 Games 5 and 6

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