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FIDE Women's World Championship Match 2020 resumes with a draw in Game 7

by Shahid Ahmed - 16/01/2020

The second stage of the FIDE Women's World Championship Match 2020 started at Vladivostok, Russia today. Game 7 ended up in a draw after a five-hour long battle spanning 67 moves. Goryachkina went for Berlin Defence for the third time, but Ju was not in a mood to play the same, so she opted for Anti-Berlin system. Neither side was able to extract anything. The game eventually reached into a double rook endgame which liquidated into a drawn King Pawn endgame. Only five games in the classical format. Game 8 will take place on 17th January at 3:30 p.m. local time, 11:00 a.m. IST. Photo: Eteri Kublashvili / FIDE

Vladivostok stage starts with a draw

The 7th game of the Women's World Championship, played in Vladivostok, ends in a draw. Ju Wenjun playing with white pieces, put some pressure on Goryachkina, but the challenger defended well and was never in serious trouble. The score is now 3½-3½ with five games left.

First of many handshakes at Vladivostok, Russia | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili / FIDE

Ju, playing with white pieces, probably needed to have a game in which she would be playing for only two results - a win or a draw, with little chance of losing. With a 4.d3 Anti-Berlin variation of the Ruy Lopez, Ju achieved just that - a very comfortable position with a sizable space advantage and minimum risk. Goryachkina (playing Black) was reduced to sitting back: however, her position didn't have any obvious glaring weaknesses.

Ju - Goryachkina, Game 7

Position after 8.Qe1

Nevertheless, it must have been extremely unpleasant for Goryachkina to be at the board for so long, maneuvering without any real counter-play. The challenger had to show a lot of character to defend a bland position without giving in. Such positions are often lost when a player on the passive side loses their patience. She defended extremely accurately, especially after the knights came off the board.

Will Goryachkina be the last woman sitting? | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili / FIDE

Goryachkina probably got some relief after Ju played 37.Nf5. With just four minutes on the clock, Ju could not work out all the complications that could have arisen from the more dynamic alternatives such as 37.h4. D­espite 4 hours and 40 moves of steady domination, Ju never appeared to have a clear path to victory.

Position after 37.Nf5

Games 4-7 were going to be a real test for the challenger. Despite only having one white and losing Game 4, she emerged from this stretch even, as have demonstrated her class, and readiness to be on the biggest stage.

The handshake at the end of the game | Photo: Michael Friedman / FIDE

There are still five games left in the match and it is a bit early to be thinking about play-offs. However, given how tight the games have been so far, it seems very likely for the match to go the full distance.

Wang Xue Chun, Deputy General Council of China in Vladivostok, made the first symbolic move of Game 7 | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili / FIDE

FIDE Vice-President Nigel Short continues his commentary, now with Eteri Kublashvili | Photo: Michael Friedman / FIDE

Game Eight will take place on January 17 at 3:30 p.m. local time, 11:00 a.m. IST


Source: FIDE Press Release

Live games and commentary

The games are slated to start at 15:30 local time, which is 11 a.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 & WFM Eteri Kublashvili - Part 1 | Video: FIDE
Commentary by GM Nigel Short & WFM Eteri Kublashvili - Part 2 | Video: FIDE

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


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