Lei Protects Lead in Last Game in Shanghai

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It’s time to pack our bags and head to Chongqing! The challenger, GM Lei Tingjie, was able to protect her one-point lead in the match and take her 3½-2½ advantage back to her hometown after holding GM Ju Wenjun to a draw in the final game of the Shanghai portion of the match.


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courtesy Stev Bonhage/FIDE


The defending champion opted for an early exchange on the d5-square in her third straight Queen’s Gambit with the white pieces. Perhaps she did not have anything prepared against Lei’s Vienna from game four, or perhaps she did not want to face an even sharper variation with an early … Bf8-b4.

It is unlikely Ju will stick with the Exchange Queen’s Gambit Declined, however, given her deficit in the match. More likely, she is planning to take the two-day break to do some homework on the sharper variations, and she wanted to just “stop the bleeding” immediately after her first loss.


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The defending champion has been struggling to get an edge in this match (courtesy Stev Bonhage/FIDE)


Is there such a thing as home field advantage in a chess match? If so, Lei should be happy after “breaking serve” in Shanghai. While the players still seem equally matched, Ju has rarely gotten the upper hand against her friend and fiercest challenger yet.


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The challenger knows her work is far from over (courtesy Stev Bonhage/FIDE)


Today's annotations come from IM Nazi Paikidze, who will also be annotating games seven through nine.



Play resumes in Chongqing on Saturday, July 15, at 2:00 a.m. CST.

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