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Ju's missed opportunity in Game 3 of FIDE Women's World Championship Match 2020

by Shahid Ahmed - 09/01/2020

Game 3 was a hard fought draw which lasted for over five and a half hours, but the most important part is Goryachkina got an edge out of QGD Semi-Tarrasch opening. She couldn't manage to capitalize, instead presented Ju with an opportunity to make a comeback. Unlike previous game, this did not require Ju to take any unnecessary risks, it was a simple calculation. It is evident that the pressure of World Championship is making the defending champion miss these. Ju managed to defend well and in the end the game ended up in a drawn Rook and Pawn ending. A draw was agreed after 85 moves. Game 4 will take place on 9th January. Photo: Lewis Liu / FIDE

Game 3 was a hard fought draw

Goryachkina was determined to win but Ju was persistent with her defence | Photo: Lewis Liu / FIDE

Ju Wenjun, playing Black, countered Aleksandra Goryachkina's Queen's Gambit with the Semi-Tarrasch Defence, transforming the duel into a comfortable, yet somewhat passive gameplay for herself.

Goryachkina - Ju, Game 3

Ju got a passive position out of the opening

The current champion failed to come up with a plan to fully equalize and by move 23, Goryachkina enjoyed a considerable advantage. However, a momentary slip with 23.Bd3 presented Ju with an opportunity to completely flip the table, which was not played.

Can you find out what Ju missed after 23.Bd3 ?

It was as if Ju was so focused on defending an inferior position, that she simply missed her one chance to get out of it. Having also opted against 18.g4! In Game 2, the world champion seems to be wary when it comes to dynamic and tactical play.


White continued to dictate play and few moves later, following the thematic break on d5, Goryachkina won a pawn.

Find out how white can win a pawn here after 30...Rcd8

For a moment, it felt we would see the first decisive game of the match. However, the Russian played inaccurately in a moderate time-trouble, before the first time control transformed the game into an easy save for the world champion. Just like in Game 1, the challenger continued to push for another 40 moves, until the players agreed on a draw on move 85.

Ju must feel relief to be tied in this match after not playing her best game, especially with black, but at the press conference, she said that she is content with three draws. On her part, Goryachkina added that she feels good about dominating her opponent in two out of the first three games, yet is also frustrated having not capitalized on her chances.


A difficult stretch of games is coming for Goryachkina where she will have black pieces in the next 3 out of 4 games.

Goryachkina is ready to play mind games | Photo: Michael Friedman / FIDE

A 'Keep Quiet' sign at the playing venue | Photo: Lewis Liu / FIDE

Wang Lianyun, President of the Shanghai Xiangqi Association makes the symbolic first move | Photo: Lewis Liu / FIDE

Shan Xiali, Preident of Shanghai Chess Academy made the symbolic first move of Game 3 | Photo: Lewis Liu / FIDE

Time is ticking | Photo: Michael Fridman / FIDE

Game Four will take place on January 9 at 3:30 p.m. local time, 1 p.m. IST


Source: FIDE Press Release

Live games and commentary

The games are slated to start at 15:30 local time, which is 1 p.m. IST. When the match moves to Vladivostok, games will start at 8 p.m. IST. The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game plus 30 seconds per move, starting from with move one. Agreed draws before move 40 are not allowed.

Commentary by GM Nigel Short & WGM Zhang Xiaowen - Part 1 | Video: FIDE
Commentary by GM Nigel Short & WGM Zhang Xiaowen - Part 2 | Video: FIDE

Replay all games


First six games will be played in Shanghai, China | Photo: Official site

The next six games will be played in Vladivostok, Russia | Photo: Official site


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