Xie Jun – Maia Chiburdanidze
Women’s World Championship, Manila (3), 1991
Ruy Lopez [C96]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6

In her book Chess Champion from China, Jun wrote: “I was pleased to see a main-line Ruy Lopez….” This is not surprising, because I can testify to Jun’s understanding of the white side of the Ruy Lopez from my own match against her in 1996.

5.0–0 Be7

In my match with Jun, I experimented with the Open variation, 5…Nxe4.

6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.h3

In this position, Black has numerous choices including 9…Nb8, 9…Bb7 etc.


This is the old main line.

10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Bb7

The main line continues with 11…Qc7.

12.Nbd2 cxd4 13.cxd4 exd4 14.Nxd4 Re8

Up to this point, both players had played relatively fast. Indeed, this position has been reached in countless games. However, Jun took her time here to decide between 15.Nf1, 15.b3, 15.a4 and the game move.


The idea is to gain a tempo to develop the dark-squared bishop to the ideal b2- square.

15…Nc6 16.Nxc6 Bxc6 17.Bb2 Bf8?

This natural move is typical for the Ruy Lopez, but it is passive and is the cause of Black’s upcoming problems. Black has much better chances to equalize with 17…Nd7 and 18…Bf6.


Despite the fact that the queen moves into a pin, this is an excellent move.

18…Rc8 19.Bb3

A great square for White’s light-squared bishop, aiming at f7. Having the bishop-pair, Black has no fears of the endgame arising after 19.Bxf6 Qxf6 20.Qxf6 gxf6.


According to Jun this is another mistake. Black’s best bet was 19…d5, although then White is also somewhat better, after either 20.Bxf6 Qxf6 21.Qxf6 gxf6 22.exd5 Rxe1+ 23.Rxe1 Bxb4 24.dxc6 Bxd2 25.Rd1 or 20.e5 Bxb4 21.exf6 Rxe1+ 22.Rxe1 Bxd2 23.Rd1.


White has finally mobilized all her pieces, mostly on ideal squares. Black has a passive position with a long term weakness on d6. Therefore, White is clearly better.


Opening the c file.


It was time to move the queen out of the pin.

21…d5 22.e5 Nd7

The tricky 22…Qd7 would fail to 23.Bc2 g6 24.Qxf6 Re6 (24…Rxc2? 25.e6) 25.Bf5.

23.Ne4 g6?

This is the final error. 23…dxe4? fails to 24.Rxd7. While 23…Qxb4 24.Ng5 Nf6 25.Re3 h6 26.exf6 hxg5 27.fxg7 Bxg7 28.Qxg5 Qf8 29.Rg3 is also hopeless. Black’s best option is 23…Qe6 24.Qf4 Bxb4, but White’s attack after 25.Re3 is quite dangerous anyway.


This is a simple, elegant combination based on the fork motif.


If 24…Qxd7, then 25.Nf6+.


This is a very important move to open the long diagonal for the final attack.


If 25…f6, White responds with another sacrifice: 26.Bxf6! Qxf6 27.Qf7+ Qxf7 28.exf7+.

26.Qd4 Kf7

Black would end up a piece down after the exchanges on g7: 26…Bg7 27.Qxg7+ Qxg7 28.Bxg7 Kxg7 as 29.Rd7+ forks.


This is a killer move.


27…h5 would save the pawn, but not the game after 28.Qh7+.

28.g3 1–0

Black resigned, as after 28…Qxh3 29.Qf6+ Kg8 30.Rd7, White’s attack is decisive.

Source: http://www.chesscafe.com/polgar/polgar.htm

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