The first games of the Women’s World Championship quarterfinal ended in Khanty-Mansiysk
The ex-World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) lost her first game at the championship. She was defeated by Marie Sebag (France). The players selected a well-known opening variation, and Stefanova, playing Black, obtained a small advantage. However, she did not utilize all the benefits of her position and allowed White to make a break in the center. After that Stefanova lost the thread of the game and started making mediocre moves, while her opponent played flawlessly and increased the advantage. Being in a time trouble, Stefanova committed a blunder and soon resigned.
The game between Nadezhda Kosintseva (Russia) and Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) was extremely nervous and full of action. The players castled to the opposite sides of the board and began preparing for mutual attacks. At some point Ushenina, being under time pressure, made several inferior moves, and her position became much worse. Kosintseva even had a chance to win in one move, but missed the winning continuation. After the control the game ended in a draw by repetition, despite White still being a pawn up.
Zhao Xue (China) and Harika Dronavalli (India) played a good positional game. The Indian demonstrated an opening variation that was specially prepared for the championship, and equalized easily. The game quickly transposed to a symmetrical ending, where Black sacrificed a pawn for the initiative. However, White parried all threats, and the game ended peacefully.
Ju Wenjun (China), playing White, selected a very sharp variation against her compatriot Huang Qian. In the previous match Ju faced this line as Black against Natalia Zhukova, and probably liked White’s options. However, it seems she haven’t studied it well enough. White made an exchange sacrifice early in the game, but did not receive full compensation for it and were forced to defend. Black returned the exchange and kept an extra pawn, however, Huang Qian was unable to convert her advantage and eventually had to settle for a draw.
Marie Sebag (France) – Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) 1-0
Ju Wenjun (China) – Huang Qian (China) draw
Nadezhda Kosintseva (Russia) – Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) draw
Zhao Xue (China) – Harika Dronavalli (India) draw
Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar