Ju Wenjun Defies Odds to Defend World Championship Title

Ju Wenjun retained her World Championships title, More photos https://ugra2018.fide.com/

Grandmaster Ju Wenjun defied the odds to defend her World Championship title for the second time in 2018. She won a match in May vs. Tan Zhongyi and then again battled for the crown in a 64-player knockout tournament held November 3-23 in Khanty-Mansiysk. Although Ju Wenjun was technically the rating favorite in the event, there were over a dozen players within a hundred points of her, most of them Grandmasters, all with a dream to dethrone her. Our own Irina Krush battled Ju Wenjun in round two, and can now at least say that she was eliminated by the eventual champion. Kateryna Lagno was in good shape against Ju Wenjun after she won the second game of the four-game match. Ju Wenjun almost struck back to win a thriller in game three. In game four, with Black, the Chinese gold medallist did manage to force the match into rapid tiebreak. GM Elshan Moradiabadi analyzes the thrilling contest from the classical time control games to the rapid tiebreak that enthralled the chess world on a rest day from Carlsen-Caruana.

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[pgn] [Event "FIDE WCC 2018"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [Date "2018.11.19"] [White "Ju, Wenjun"] [Black "Lagno, Kateryna"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E61"] [WhiteElo "2568"] [BlackElo "2556"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiaabdi "] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2018.11.03"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "RUS"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. g3 c6 (4... O-O 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. Nf3 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. O-O e5 9. Nxe5 Nxc3 10. Nxc6 Nxd1 11. Nxd8 Rxd8 12. Rxd1 Rxd4 13. Be3 Rxd1+ 14. Rxd1 Bf6 15. Bd4 Bxd4 16. Rxd4 {1/2-1/2 (41) Mamedyarov,S (2814) -Carlsen,M (2843) Shamkir 2018}) 5. e4 d5 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. e5 Ne4 8. Nge2 Nc6 9. Bg2 Bg4 10. f3 Nxc3 11. Nxc3 (11. bxc3 Bd7 {1-0 (64) Rakhmanov,A (2667) -Kozul, Z (2613) Tallinn 2016}) 11... Be6 12. f4 Qb6 13. Bxd5 Rd8 14. Bxe6 fxe6 15. Be3 Qxb2 16. Ne2 Bh6 17. Bf2 (17. Qb1 Qa3 18. Qb3 (18. Qxb7 Nxe5 19. Qb3 Qxb3 20. axb3 Ng4 $11) 18... Qxb3 19. axb3 {and White is slightly better as the bishop on g7 is biting 'granite'!}) 17... g5 $1 {This is the kind of move you need in a World Championship match! Bold and principled!} 18. Rb1 Qa3 19. Qb3 Qa5+ 20. Kf1 gxf4 21. gxf4 Rf8 22. Qf3 $2 {[#]} ({But not} 22. Qxb7 Qd5 $17 23. Rg1 Rb8) (22. Qxe6 Bxf4 23. Rxb7 Qa4 24. Kg2 Bxe5 {and the position remains very complicated!} 25. Bh4 (25. dxe5 {loses to} Qe4+) 25... Bf6 {would lead to immediate equality}) 22... Qxa2 $6 ({Black should play} 22... Bxf4 $1 $17 23. Kg2 (23. Nxf4 Rxd4 {and the pin along the f-file is deadly}) 23... Bd2 { and it is hard to imagine that White would keep her king safe for a long time.} ) 23. Kg2 $2 {[#]} (23. Rxb7 Qa6 24. Qh5+ $1 Rf7 25. Rb1 Nxd4 (25... Bxf4 $4 { loses to} 26. Rg1) 26. Bxd4 Rxd4 27. Kf2 Rdxf4+ 28. Nxf4 Qa2+ 29. Kf3 Qd5+ 30. Kg4 Bxf4 31. Rb8+ Kd7 32. Qxf7 Qg2+ 33. Kh4 Qf2+ 34. Kg4 Qg2+ {with an exciting forced perpetual!}) 23... Qd5 $2 {Lagno misses her last chance in this game.} (23... Rg8+ $1 24. Kh3 Qc2 25. Qh5+ {Otherwise the check on f5 is deadly.} Rg6 26. Rxb7 (26. Rhg1 Qd3+ 27. Bg3 Nxd4 28. Nxd4 Rxd4 {with a winning position. At least Black can liquidate into an endgame where a and b pawn will be decisive factors.}) 26... Qd3+ 27. Ng3 Bxf4 {Black is up a pawn and White's king unsafe. It is easier to imagine winning this as Black than saving it with White!}) 24. Qxd5 $11 Rxd5 25. Rxb7 Bxf4 26. Rc7 $36 {Now White is pushing!} Nd8 $6 27. Rxa7 Rd7 $6 {Lagno defends too passively.} 28. Ra8 Rb7 29. Rha1 {Threatening Rxd8} Bh6 30. R1a2 Kf7 31. Rc2 Kg6 32. Ra3 Kg7 33. Rg3+ $6 (33. Ng3 $1 {would have given White serious winning chances.}) 33... Kf7 { clearly better here.} 34. Rf3+ Ke8 35. Rh3 Rg8+ 36. Rg3 {Lagno outplayed her opponent and had serious winning chances but Ju Wenjun managed to save the game after Lagno missed two good winning chances!} 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
[pgn] [Event "FIDE WCC 2018"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [Date "2018.11.20"] [White "Lagno, Kateryna"] [Black "Ju, Wenjun"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2556"] [BlackElo "2568"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "117"] [EventDate "2018.11.03"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "RUS"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c5 4. O-O Nc6 5. d4 e6 6. c4 dxc4 7. dxc5 {This line is considered rather harmless. Yet, it is a perfect choice for a match like this. White is essentially playing for two results!} Qxd1 {5} 8. Rxd1 Bxc5 9. Nfd2 $5 (9. Nbd2 c3 10. bxc3 O-O 11. Nb3 Be7 {is the common 'Tabiya' here. Lagno decided to keep her pawn structure intact, for now.}) 9... Na5 10. Na3 Bxa3 11. bxa3 O-O {Only three games in this position but played by Anand ( twice!) and young Dutch GM Van Foreest.} 12. Ne4 e5 ({Predecessor:} 12... Nxe4 13. Bxe4 e5 14. Bb2 Nc6 (14... Re8 15. Bc3 (15. f3 f5 16. Bd5+ Be6 17. Bxe6+ Rxe6 18. Rd7 Nc6 19. Rad1 Re7 {1/2-1/2 (52) Fedoseev,V (2713)-Van Foreest,J (2617) Hoogeveen 2018}) 15... Nc6 16. Rab1 h6 17. f3 Re7 18. Kf2 f6 { 1/2-1/2 (31) Karjakin,S (2753)-Anand,V (2767) Wijk aan Zee 2018}) 15. f3 { 1/2-1/2 (37) Dominguez Perez,L (2739)-Anand, V (2768) Saint Louis 2018:1/2-1/2 (37) Dominguez Perez,L (2739)-Anand,V (2768) Saint Louis 2018}) 13. Bd2 Nxe4 14. Bxe4 {We will see an opposite color endgame, soon.} Nc6 15. Bc3 Be6 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17. Bxe5 Rfd8 18. Bc3 f6 19. f3 Kf7 20. Kf2 Rxd1 21. Rxd1 $11 Rb8 22. g4 c5 23. h4 h6 24. a4 {White tries to fix and capture the a-pawn} Ke7 25. a5 Rb7 26. Rg1 Rd7 27. g5 hxg5 28. hxg5 Kf7 29. gxf6 gxf6 {Now White has a second target: the f6 pawn is weak too now.} 30. Rh1 Kg7 31. Rb1 Kf7 32. Rb5 Rc7 33. Rb8 Re7 34. Rh8 Kg6 35. Rf8 Rf7 36. Rg8+ Kh7 37. Rd8 Kg6 38. Rd6 Re7 39. Rc6 $1 { Great positional play by Lagno. White wins a pawn!} Kf7 40. Rxc5 Rd7 41. Rc6 f5 42. Ke3 Re7 43. Kf4 Rd7 44. Rc5 Rd8 45. Rb5 Rd7 46. a6 Kg6 $2 {[#] The losing blunder!} (46... Re7 47. Bb4 Rd7 {and Black still has moves to make!}) 47. Ke5 $1 $18 Re7 $2 {This loses on the spot, nevertheless White was already winning.} ( 47... Bf7 48. Rb7 Be8 49. f4 Rf7 50. Ke6 Rh7 51. e4 $1 Bf7+ 52. Ke5 fxe4 53. f5+ Kg7 54. Kd6+ Kh6 55. Rxa7 {and the a-pawn will be promoted soon.}) 48. Rb7 Re8 49. Rxa7 Bf7+ 50. Kd4 Rxe2 51. a4 Re6 52. Kc5 Be8 53. Rg7+ Kh6 54. a7 Ra6 55. Re7 Rc6+ 56. Kb4 Rc8 57. Rb7 Ra8 58. Rb8 Bc6 59. Rb6 1-0 [/pgn]
[pgn] [Event "FIDE WCC 2018"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [White "Ju, Wenjun"] [Black "Lagno, Kateryna"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E70"] [WhiteElo "2568"] [BlackElo "2556"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "136"] [EventDate "2018.11.03"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "RUS"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 {Lagno plays her usual King's Indian. She does not try to play it safe!} 5. Bd3 O-O 6. Nge2 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Bg5 h6 {6} 9. Bh4 exd5 10. Nxd5 (10. exd5 Nbd7 11. f4 g5 12. Bg3 Ng4 13. O-O gxf4 14. Bxf4 Nde5 15. Bc2 Ng6 16. Qd3 f5 {0-1 (39) Dragun,K (2609) -Adhiban,B (2671) Abu Dhabi 2016}) 10... g5 11. Bg3 Nxd5 12. cxd5 Bxb2 13. h4 $146 ({Predecessor:} 13. Rb1 Qa5+ 14. Kf1 Be5 15. h4 g4 16. Qc1 Kg7 {1-0 (41) Kuoppamaki,P-Simula,P Finland 1998}) 13... g4 14. Rb1 Bg7 $1 15. O-O Re8 16. Nf4 c4 (16... Nd7 $14) 17. Bxc4 $18 Rxe4 18. Bd3 (18. Qc2 $1 $18 Re5 19. Ne6 fxe6 20. Bxe5 Bxe5 21. dxe6) 18... Re5 $16 19. f3 {White has strong compensation, if not a winning attack.} h5 20. Be2 Qd7 $2 (20... Nd7 $16 {keeps fighting.}) 21. Rb4 $2 (21. fxg4 hxg4 {[#]} 22. Ne6 $3 fxe6 23. Bxe5 dxe5 24. Bxg4 $18) 21... Na6 22. Re4 Rxe4 23. fxe4 Nc5 24. e5 dxe5 ({Of course not} 24... Bxe5 25. Nxh5 Bh8 26. Qc1 {and mate is inevitable.}) 25. Nxh5 Ne4 26. Be1 (26. d6 $16 {looks more promising as} Qxd6 27. Qxd6 Nxd6 {loses to} 28. Nxg7 Kxg7 29. Bxe5+) 26... f5 ( 26... a5 {with the idea of Ra6 offers better chances.}) 27. Nxg7 ({White should try} 27. Qc2 $1 $16 Qf7 28. Nxg7 Qxg7 29. Bd3 Nd6 30. Qc5 Qf6 31. Bb4 Ne8 32. Bb5 Ng7 33. d6 {with a dangerous initiative for White.}) 27... Qxg7 28. Bd3 {Bxe4 is the strong threat.} Bd7 ({Better is} 28... Nd6 $1 {where most of White's advantage will vanish thanks to the strong blockade on d6.}) 29. Bxe4 fxe4 30. Bg3 Rf8 31. Re1 Bb5 (31... Bf5 $16 {It is better to keep the bishop near the king.}) 32. Qb3 $1 $18 Bd3 33. d6+ Qf7 34. Qc3 Qe6 35. Qxe5 $2 { It is better to keep the queens.} (35. Qc7 Rf7 36. Qd8+ Kh7 37. Rc1 Bc4 38. Qg5 {and Black has too many weaknesses!}) 35... Qxe5 36. Bxe5 $16 {Endgame KRB-KRB} Kf7 37. g3 Ke6 38. Bf4 $1 b5 39. h5 a5 40. h6 b4 {white's pawns are still better, but Black seems to have enough counter play, and the presence of opposite color bishop adds to Black's drawing chances.} 41. Rc1 $1 a4 42. Rc7 { Strongly threatening Re7+.} b3 43. axb3 axb3 {White must now prevent ...b2.} 44. Re7+ Kd5 45. Rb7 {preparing for d7} e3 $4 (45... Kc4 46. d7 e3 47. Bxe3 Rd8 48. Bc1 Be4 49. Ra7 Kd5 {and Black wins the d7 pawn and eventually draws the game.}) 46. Rxb3 $18 Ke4 {[#]} 47. Kg2 $1 {First right move....} e2 {[#]} 48. Rb4+ $4 {This throws away everything.} (48. Rb7 $1 $18 e1=N+ 49. Kf2 Nf3 50. Re7+ Kf5 51. h7 Kg6 52. d7 Bf5 53. Re8 Bxd7 54. Rxf8 Kxh7 55. Rf7+) 48... Kd5 $11 {Black is safe now.} 49. Kf2 {Threatens to win with Rb7.} Re8 $1 {The key move!} 50. Bd2 (50. Ke1 Ra8 51. Bd2 Ra1+ 52. Kf2 Rf1+ 53. Kg2 Be4+ 54. Rxe4 Kxe4 55. d7 Rf8 56. h7 Kd5 57. Bb4 Ke6 {[#]} 58. Bxf8 e1=Q 59. d8=N+ Kf5 60. h8=Q Qe2+ {with perpetual! What a game! you hardly ever see three consecutive promotions in a game of chess! What a feat for final of the World Women's Chess Championship!}) 50... Rf8+ 51. Bf4 (51. Rf4 Rxf4+ 52. Bxf4 (52. gxf4 Kxd6 53. Ke3 Bf5 $11) 52... Ke6 53. Be5 Kd7 {and neither side can make progress.}) 51... Re8 $1 52. Bd2 (52. Ke1 $11 Ra8 53. Kf2) 52... Rf8+ 53. Rf4 Rxf4+ 54. Bxf4 Ke6 55. Ke1 Kd7 56. Be5 Ke6 57. Kd2 Kd7 58. Bc3 e1=Q+ 59. Kxe1 Kxd6 60. Kd2 Bh7 61. Ke3 Ke6 62. Kf4 Kf7 63. Kxg4 Bc2 64. Kf4 Bb1 65. g4 Bc2 66. g5 Bb1 67. Ke5 Bc2 68. Kd6 Bb1 {Another fighting draw!} 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
[pgn] [Event "FIDE WCC 2018"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [Date "2018.11.21"] [White "Ju, Wenjun"] [Black "Lagno, Kateryna"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E70"] [WhiteElo "2568"] [BlackElo "2556"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "136"] [EventDate "2018.11.03"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "RUS"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 {Lagno plays her usual King's Indian. She does not try to play it safe!} 5. Bd3 O-O 6. Nge2 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Bg5 h6 {6} 9. Bh4 exd5 10. Nxd5 (10. exd5 Nbd7 11. f4 g5 12. Bg3 Ng4 13. O-O gxf4 14. Bxf4 Nde5 15. Bc2 Ng6 16. Qd3 f5 {0-1 (39) Dragun,K (2609) -Adhiban,B (2671) Abu Dhabi 2016}) 10... g5 11. Bg3 Nxd5 12. cxd5 Bxb2 13. h4 $146 ({Predecessor:} 13. Rb1 Qa5+ 14. Kf1 Be5 15. h4 g4 16. Qc1 Kg7 {1-0 (41) Kuoppamaki,P-Simula,P Finland 1998}) 13... g4 14. Rb1 Bg7 $1 15. O-O Re8 16. Nf4 c4 (16... Nd7 $14) 17. Bxc4 $18 Rxe4 18. Bd3 (18. Qc2 $1 $18 Re5 19. Ne6 fxe6 20. Bxe5 Bxe5 21. dxe6) 18... Re5 $16 19. f3 {White has strong compensation, if not a winning attack.} h5 20. Be2 Qd7 $2 (20... Nd7 $16 {keeps fighting.}) 21. Rb4 $2 (21. fxg4 hxg4 {[#]} 22. Ne6 $3 fxe6 23. Bxe5 dxe5 24. Bxg4 $18) 21... Na6 22. Re4 Rxe4 23. fxe4 Nc5 24. e5 dxe5 ({Of course not} 24... Bxe5 25. Nxh5 Bh8 26. Qc1 {Where mate is inevitable.}) 25. Nxh5 Ne4 26. Be1 (26. d6 $16 {looks more promising as} Qxd6 27. Qxd6 Nxd6 {loses to} 28. Nxg7 Kxg7 29. Bxe5+) 26... f5 ( 26... a5 {with the idea of Ra6 offers better chances.}) 27. Nxg7 ({White should try} 27. Qc2 $1 $16 Qf7 28. Nxg7 Qxg7 29. Bd3 Nd6 30. Qc5 Qf6 31. Bb4 Ne8 32. Bb5 Ng7 33. d6 {with a dangerous initiative for White.}) 27... Qxg7 28. Bd3 {Bxe4 is the strong threat.} Bd7 ({Better is} 28... Nd6 $1 {where most of White's advantage will vanish thanks to the strong blockade on d6.}) 29. Bxe4 fxe4 30. Bg3 Rf8 31. Re1 Bb5 (31... Bf5 $16 {It is better to keep the bishop near the king.}) 32. Qb3 $1 $18 Bd3 33. d6+ Qf7 34. Qc3 Qe6 35. Qxe5 $2 { It is better to keep the queens.} (35. Qc7 Rf7 36. Qd8+ Kh7 37. Rc1 Bc4 38. Qg5 {and Black has too many weaknesses!}) 35... Qxe5 36. Bxe5 $16 {Endgame KRB-KRB} Kf7 37. g3 Ke6 38. Bf4 $1 b5 39. h5 a5 40. h6 b4 {White's pawns are still better. but Black seems to have enough counter play, and the presence of opposite color bishop adds to Black's drawing chances.} 41. Rc1 $1 a4 42. Rc7 { Strongly threatening Re7+.} b3 43. axb3 axb3 {White must now prevent ...b2.} 44. Re7+ Kd5 45. Rb7 {preparing for d7} e3 $4 (45... Kc4 46. d7 e3 47. Bxe3 Rd8 48. Bc1 Be4 49. Ra7 Kd5 {and Black wins the d7 pawn and eventually draws the game.}) 46. Rxb3 $18 Ke4 {[#]} 47. Kg2 $1 {First right move....} e2 {[#]} 48. Rb4+ $4 {This throws away everything.} (48. Rb7 $1 $18 e1=N+ 49. Kf2 Nf3 50. Re7+ Kf5 51. h7 Kg6 52. d7 Bf5 53. Re8 Bxd7 54. Rxf8 Kxh7 55. Rf7+) 48... Kd5 $11 {Black is safe now.} 49. Kf2 {Threatens to win with Rb7.} Re8 $1 {The key move!} 50. Bd2 (50. Ke1 Ra8 51. Bd2 Ra1+ 52. Kf2 Rf1+ 53. Kg2 Be4+ 54. Rxe4 Kxe4 55. d7 Rf8 56. h7 Kd5 57. Bb4 Ke6 {[#]} 58. Bxf8 e1=Q 59. d8=N+ Kf5 60. h8=Q Qe2+ {with perpetual! What a game! you hardly ever see three consecutive promotions in a game of chess! What a feat for final of the world women chess championship!}) 50... Rf8+ 51. Bf4 (51. Rf4 Rxf4+ 52. Bxf4 (52. gxf4 Kxd6 53. Ke3 Bf5 $11) 52... Ke6 53. Be5 Kd7 {and neither side cannot progress.}) 51... Re8 $1 52. Bd2 (52. Ke1 $11 Ra8 53. Kf2) 52... Rf8+ 53. Rf4 Rxf4+ 54. Bxf4 Ke6 55. Ke1 Kd7 56. Be5 Ke6 57. Kd2 Kd7 58. Bc3 e1=Q+ 59. Kxe1 Kxd6 60. Kd2 Bh7 61. Ke3 Ke6 62. Kf4 Kf7 63. Kxg4 Bc2 64. Kf4 Bb1 65. g4 Bc2 66. g5 Bb1 67. Ke5 Bc2 68. Kd6 Bb1 {Another fighting draw!} 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
[pgn] [Event "FIDE WCC 2018"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [Date "2018.11.22"] [White "Lagno, Kateryna"] [Black "Ju, Wenjun"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B31"] [WhiteElo "2556"] [BlackElo "2568"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2018.11.03"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "RUS"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 {in the last Classical game of this mini-match, the players get inspiration from Caruana-Carlsen match and go for the Rossolimo in Sicilian!} g6 4. O-O Bg7 5. Re1 e5 6. a3 Nge7 {Botvinnik's favorite set-up. The sixth world champion used to employ this set-up from the White side.} 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Bc4 (8. b4 d6 9. Rb1 Nd4 10. bxc5 dxc5 11. h3 Nxb5 12. Nxb5 b6 13. d3 Nc6 14. a4 Kh8 15. Bb2 {1-0 (46) Najer,E (2663)-Dubov,D (2709) Moscow 2018}) 8... d6 9. d3 h6 10. Nd5 (10. Be3 Kh7 11. b4 f5 12. exf5 (12. bxc5 f4 13. Bd2 dxc5 14. Rb1 b6 15. Nd5 g5 {doesn't offer much to White.}) 12... Bxf5 (12... gxf5 13. Ng5+) 13. Nd5 {With a double-edged game.}) 10... Kh7 11. c3 f5 12. exf5 gxf5 $146 (12... Bxf5 13. b4 Be6 14. Nxe7 Qxe7 15. Bxe6 Qxe6 16. bxc5 dxc5 {0-1 (37) Boleslavsky,I-Taimanov,M Lugansk (Voroshilovgrad) 1955}) 13. b4 $6 { Preparing the move b5, but it is too toothless. I doubt if neither side is playing for the result they need. Both ladies are playing the most principled moves.} (13. Ng5+ Kg6 14. Nh3 f4 15. d4 Bxh3 16. gxh3 Kh7 {with a crazy unclear position!}) 13... Ng6 14. b5 Na5 15. Ba2 $1 Be6 16. Qa4 $2 {First major inaccuracy! The queen does not belong to this square.} (16. Bd2 b6 17. a4 Rc8 18. Qe2 Qe8 19. h4 Qf7 20. h5 Nh8 21. c4 {With an unbalanced position where I prefer to be Black.}) 16... b6 17. Bd2 Rg8 18. Rad1 ({Not} 18. Nxb6 $2 Bxa2 19. Rxa2 (19. Nxa8 $2 Bb3 $19 {And the queen gets trapped.}) 19... axb6 $19) 18... Qd7 19. Nh4 $2 {[#]} (19. c4 {was a must.}) 19... Bh8 (19... c4 $1 $19 {seems to be close to over.} 20. Nxg6 (20. Bxc4 Nxc4 21. Qxc4 Rac8 { and Black wins a piece.}) 20... Bxd5 21. dxc4 Be6 {And the knight on g6 is trapped.}) 20. Nxg6 Rxg6 21. Qh4 Rag8 {And now ... Qf7 would win.} 22. g3 Qf7 23. c4 Bf6 $4 ({Black should play} 23... f4 $17 {Now Rg4 threatens to win the queen.} 24. Bxa5 Bf6 25. Nxf6+ Rxf6 26. Bb1 Kh8 27. h3 fxg3 28. fxg3 Qg7 29. Bd2 Qxg3+ 30. Qxg3 Rxg3+ 31. Kh2 Rxh3+ 32. Kg2 Rg6+ 33. Kf2 Rh2+ {with inevitable colossal material loss for White. Even though the line is rather forced, there are so many difficult moves in this line for Black. Thus, Ju Wenjun's mistake is understandable!}) 24. Nxf6+ $11 Rxf6 25. f4 Rg4 $36 { Black is still fighting for initiative.} 26. Qh3 Rfg6 {Strongly threatening ... exf4.} 27. Rf1 $6 (27. Qf1 {would have secured White's king and queen.}) 27... Qg7 28. Kh1 $4 {losing blunder.} (28. Qh5 {Keeps the balance to a good extend.}) 28... Bc8 29. Qh5 (29. d4 exd4 30. Rg1 Bb7+ 31. Rg2 d3 {loses on spot.}) 29... Bb7+ {Black mates.} 30. Kg1 {[#]} Rxg3+ $1 {And Ju Wenjun equalizes the match score.} 31. hxg3 Rxg3+ 32. Kf2 Rg2+ {And we have the tiebreaks.} 0-1[/pgn]
[pgn] [Event "FIDE WCC 2018"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [Date "2018.11.23"] [White "Ju, Wenjun"] [Black "Lagno, Kateryna"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B06"] [WhiteElo "2568"] [BlackElo "2556"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2018.11.03"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "RUS"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. d4 d6 {In a must win situation, Lagno plays an off-beat line.} 2. Nf3 g6 3. e4 Bg7 4. Bc4 e6 5. O-O Ne7 6. a4 (6. Re1 a6 7. c3 O-O 8. Be3 Nd7 9. Nbd2 h6 10. Nf1 d5 11. exd5 Nb6 12. Bd3 Nbxd5 13. Bd2 Nf5 {1/2-1/2 (54) Nihal,S (2572) -Adhiban,B (2668) Douglas 2018}) 6... O-O 7. c3 Nd7 8. a5 {White is slightly better. She has more space on the queenside.} Rb8 $146 (8... c5 9. Be3 Qc7 10. Qe2 a6 11. Nbd2 Nc6 12. Nb3 b5 13. axb6 Nxb6 14. dxc5 Nxc4 15. Qxc4 dxc5 16. Nxc5 {1/2-1/2 (49) Jaderholm,B (1827) -Stockfelt,J (1335) Naantali 2014}) 9. Qe2 b6 10. axb6 axb6 11. Bf4 Bb7 12. Nbd2 h6 13. h4 Nf6 14. Bg3 d5 15. exd5 Nfxd5 16. Be5 Nf5 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. g3 Nf6 19. Ba6 Ba8 20. Bd3 Nd6 21. Rfd1 Nd7 22. Ne4 Nf5 23. Ned2 g5 (23... Nd6 $5) 24. hxg5 hxg5 25. Be4 Qf6 ({Better is} 25... Nd6) 26. Bxa8 $16 Rxa8 27. Rxa8 Rxa8 28. Kg2 Rh8 29. Rh1 (29. Ne4 $16 Qh6 30. Nexg5 {is simply a pawn up. Though, the Black's pieces on the h-file look scary in a rapid game.}) 29... Rxh1 $11 30. Kxh1 Nd6 31. Ne5 {White has a secure position.} Qh6+ 32. Kg2 Nf6 33. Ndf3 Nfe4 34. Nh2 Qg6 $4 {[#] A Painful finish for Lagno and a dramatic finish for the spectators. I doubt Black could create any real winning chances, yet it is definitely anguishing to lose the chance for the crown due to a queen blunder.} (34... Nf6 $11 ) 35. Nxg6 1-0[/pgn]
[pgn] [Event "FIDE WCC 2018"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [Date "2018.11.23"] [White "Lagno, Kateryna"] [Black "Ju, Wenjun"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A08"] [WhiteElo "2556"] [BlackElo "2568"] [Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2018.11.03"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "RUS"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 c5 4. O-O Nc6 5. d3 g6 6. Nc3 Bg7 {Reversed King's Indian!} 7. e4 (7. Rb1 O-O 8. a3 {The modern Geller-Najdorf system reversed.} Bg4 9. b4 cxb4 10. axb4 Rc8 11. Bd2 a6 12. b5 axb5 13. Rxb5 b6 14. Qb1 Bxf3 15. Bxf3 Nd4 16. Rxb6 Nxc2 {1/2-1/2 (110) Zhao,J (2604)-Christiansen,J (2495) Riadh 2017}) 7... dxe4 8. dxe4 {LiveBook: 3 Games} Bg4 {The position is equal. But it is off the book, and still very rich!} 9. Be3 Nd7 $6 $146 {I am not sure if fighting for dark squares is the best strategy for Black.} (9... b6 10. e5 Qxd1 11. Raxd1 Nd7 12. e6 fxe6 13. h3 Bxf3 14. Bxf3 {0-1 (90) Sternik,R (1879)-Payzansky,A (1799) FICGS email 2010}) 10. h3 Bxf3 11. Bxf3 O-O 12. Bg2 Nb6 {Ju Wenjun keeps fighting for initiative rather than trying to equalize.} 13. Bxc5 Nc4 14. Nd5 (14. Qxd8 {looks sharper.} Rfxd8 15. f4 Rac8 16. e5 Nxb2 17. Rab1 Nxe5 18. Bxe7 Nec4 19. Bxd8 Bxc3 20. Bh4 Nd2 {with equal yet ultra-sharp ending.}) 14... Nxb2 15. Nxe7+ Nxe7 16. Qxd8 Rfxd8 17. Bxe7 Rd2 18. Rac1 (18. e5 Bxe5 19. Rae1 Nc4 20. Bxb7 Re8 21. Bg5 Rxc2 22. Bd5 {Offers White better chances thanks to the pair of bishop.}) 18... Rc8 19. Bg5 Rdxc2 20. Rxc2 Rxc2 21. Rc1 Rxc1+ 22. Bxc1 $11 {Endgame KBB-KBN} Bd4 {It is time to liquidate the game and make a draw, but ... ..} 23. Bf1 $6 {loses a pawn.} (23. Bxb2 $11 Bxb2 24. Bf1) 23... Nd1 $15 24. Kg2 Nxf2 25. Kf3 Nd1 26. Bc4 Nc3 27. Bd2 $6 ( 27. Bb2 $1 {Forces an opposite color bishop ending!} Nb5 28. Bxb5 Bxb2 29. Bc4 {with a rather primitive draw.}) 27... Na4 28. Bd5 b6 29. Bf4 Nc3 30. Bb3 Kg7 31. e5 a5 32. e6 fxe6 33. Bxe6 b5 34. Bc7 Kf6 35. Bd7 $2 {Now White is in serious trouble.} (35. Bg8 $11 {keeps the balance.} a4 36. Ba5 Nb1 37. Bd5) 35... a4 $2 {throws away the advantage.} (35... Nxa2 $6 36. Bxb5 Nc3 37. Bc4 $11 a4 38. Bd6) ({Better is} 35... Ke7 36. Bc6 a4 {White's bishops are more awkward than powerful. Though White has a miraculous save here:} 37. Ba5 Nxa2 38. Bxb5 a3 39. Bc4 Bc3 40. Bxa2 Bxa5 41. g4 Kd6 42. Ke4 {And White has a fortress.}) 36. Ba5 $4 {[#]} (36. Bd6 $11) 36... Nxa2 $19 {Strongly threatening ...a3.} 37. Bxb5 $2 (37. Ke4 {nothing else works.} Bc3 38. Bd8+ Kg7 39. Kd3 Be5 40. Bxb5 a3 41. Be7 Nc1+ 42. Kc2 a2 {And White still loses.}) 37... a3 {Black is clearly winning.} 38. Ke4 Bb2 39. Bc4 {[#]} Nc1 $1 {For the second time in this game, Lagno missed Black's knight move the back rank!} 40. Bd2 a2 41. Bxa2 Nxa2 42. Kd3 Bc1 43. Ba5 Ba3 44. Kc2 Bb4 45. Bd8+ Be7 46. Ba5 Nb4+ 47. Kd2 Bd6 48. g4 Nc6 49. Bb6 Ke5 0-1[/pgn]

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[…] Lahno advanced to the finals in the 2018 Women’s World Championship (a 64-player knockout), finally losing to Ju Wenjun in a tightly contested match. She enters Kazan as the #2 rated […]

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