Tactics Quiz: Women's World Championship

Test your tactical skills with these puzzles from the Women's World Championship Match, GM Hou vs.  GM Muzychuk. Hou is currently undefeated and leading by 2 points after 7 rounds. Update: GM Hou Yifan won the match after nine rounds, with 6/9. Muzychuk, despite being the underdog by over 100 rating points, showed impressive tactical ability as well.

Tactic #1

GM Yifan Hou vs. GM Mariya Muzychuk

Position after 28...hxg6

White to move.

Level: Easy

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"The pin is mightier than the sword."

-Fred Reinfeld

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[White "Yifan Hou"]
[Black "Mariya Muzychuk"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C80"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "3n1rk1/6r1/R1p2qp1/1pbp4/6Q1/2P3B1/1PB2PKP/3R4 w - - 0 29"]
[PlyCount "7"]
[EventDate "2016.03.01"]29. Rxd5 Bxf2 30. Bb3 {The black king has no where to run.} Ne6 ({If} 30... Kh7
31. Qh3+) 31. Rd6 {Simple and effective.} (31. Be5 {was also possible.}) 31...Bc5 32. Qxe6+ 1-0[/pgn]

Tactic #2

GM Mariya Muzychuk vs. GM Hou Yifan

Position after 33. Bc2

Black to move.

Level: Intermediate

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"The passed pawn is a criminal who should be kept under lock and key. Mild measures, such as police surveillance, are not sufficient."

-Aron Nimzowitsch, My System

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[pgn][White "Mariya Muzychuk"]
[Black "Yifan Hou"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C50"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "4r2k/1pp1rp2/p2b1n2/5P1p/P3p1pN/2P2PP1/1PB1R1PK/4R3 b - - 0 33"]
[PlyCount "11"]
[EventDate "2016.03.01"]33... exf3 34. Rxe7 Rxe7 35. Rxe7 ({If} 35. Rf1 {White is still in trouble
because of her weakened kingside and Black's active pieces:} Re2 36. Bd3 Re3
37. Bc4 f2 38. Rxf2 (38. a5 Bxg3+) 38... Bxg3+) 35... f2 {A key zwischenzug
(in-between move). White can't prevent the pawn's promotion.} 36. Rxf7 f1=Q 37.
Ng6+ Kg8 38. Rxf6 Bc5 0-1[/pgn]

Tactic #3

GM Hou Yifan vs. GM Mariya Muzychuk

Position after 18. Qc2

Black to move and draw.

Level: Advanced

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“Never play for the win, never play for the draw, just play chess!”

–GM Alexander Khalifman

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[White "Yifan Hou"]
[Black "Mariya Muzychuk"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C83"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r2qk3/2p1bpp1/p5B1/1p1pP3/3P2p1/5Pnr/PPQ2R2/RNB3K1 b q - 0 18"]
[PlyCount "7"]
[EventDate "2016.03.01"]18... Bc5 $1 {Clearing the way for Black's queen to enter the attack.} 19. Qxc5
Rh1+ 20. Kg2 Rh2+ 21. Kg1 (21. Kxh2 {loses to} Qh4+ 22. Kg2 Qh3+ 23. Kg1
Qh1#) 21... Rh1+ {White's king cannot escape the perpetual check.} 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

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