SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The following is from the 1st round of the Women’s World Chess Championship currently underway in Turkey. Study the diagram below before looking at the game continuation. Try to figure out what you would do if you had the White pieces. Good luck and enjoy!
GM Hou Yifan
This position arose from a popular variation of the Caro Kan that often sees opposite side castling. Here the pawn storms by both players seem roughly the same, but it is White’s move –and as is logical in such cut and thrust play–this makes all the difference. Yifan can now take the pawn on g5 with the Knight and gain the initiative, but instead she finds a brilliant sacrificial idea that allows her to build up her attack unchecked:
23. Bxb4!! Bxb4 24. Rxg5
This is Yifan’s idea. If the Black Queen retreates (say to d6) then White wins by direct attack by doubling on the g-file: 24…Qd6 25.Rhg1 g6!? (what else? 25…Rfb8 26.Rxg7ch Kf8 27.Ng5! is a massacre) 26.Rxg6ch!! fxg6 27.Rxg6ch Kf7 28.Ng5ch! etc
Yifan and Serrano playing on the right
24… f5 25. h6
Now the King can not make a run for it because of the h-pawn: 25… Kf7 26. Rxg7 Ke8 27. h7 Rh8 28. Rg8 Ke7 29. Qg5ch etc.
25… Rf7 26. hxg7 Rxg7 27. Rhg1!
Once more the doubling theme! Black is surprisingly helpless
27… Bf8 28. Rxg7 Bxg7 29. Qh6 Kaput!
Black could resign here with confidence, but instead tried to make a desperate run for it. White won on the 35th move.