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Tehran WWC 4.2: Dzagnidze crushes Harika

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 22/02/2017

It was a really sad day for Harika. All she had to do was hold the fort with the black pieces. Easier said than done—Dzagnidze played with flawless intent as she methodically dismantles the Indian hope. They go into tiebreakers now as the match has ended 1-1. Three players have already reached the semis. Illustrated report.

Tehran WWC 4.2: Dzagnidze crushes Harika

Photos by David Llada

It was a dark day for Indian fans as Harika barely had any say in the game, except at one point.

Harika used up a lot of time thanks to a Dzagnidze's surprisingly solid opening choice. One would have imagined the Georgian going gung-ho to get the point in a must-win situation in the mini-match. Not Dzagnidze with her experience. She figured out a way to lull Harika into time pressure early in the game.


Objectively speaking, the game wasn't over—Harika had a golden opportunity to simply draw and advance to the semi-finals.

Black to move.

As our guest analyst, 16-year-old Aakanksha Hagawane, pointed out, it is incredibly difficult to find such ideas and convince yourself to play them.

Akanksha is the current World U-16 Girls Champion. She is also a former National Under 13 Champion; National Sub-Junior Champion; U-16 Commonwealth champion for two consecutive years (2015 and 2016); Asian champion in Under 16 in 2015 (classical and rapid); Bronze in classical and rapid at Asian Championship U-14.


Here is her analysis of the game:

[Event "FIDE Women's World Championship 2017"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.02.21"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Dzagnidze, Nana"]
[Black "Harika, Dronavalli"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A14"]
[WhiteElo "2525"]
[BlackElo "2539"]
[Annotator "Aakanksha Hagawane"]
[PlyCount "133"]
{We saw a fantastic game played by Harika yesterday, today she just needed a
draw to enter the semi-finals. While Dzagnidze would obviously try hard to win
with white.} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 {On the previous encounter Harika had opted
for the g6 setup and suffered a setback so it is not a surprise that she came
up with different setup similar to Tarrasch.} 3. b3 d5 4. Bb2 Be7 5. g3 O-O 6.
Bg2 {Nana has adopted a safe setup with double fianchetto.} c5 7. O-O Nc6 8. e3
{And this is a strange decision by Nana—very cautious and inviting black to
go for Benoni kind of structure after d4} b6 9. d4 (9. Nc3 {is mostly played.})
9... cxd4 10. Nxd4 Bb7 (10... Nxd4 11. Qxd4 Ba6 12. Nd2 Rc8 $11 {Black has
developed all the pieces and Harika must have felt at home with her type of
position- completing all the development and waiting for an opportunity to
strike.}) 11. Nc3 Nxd4 12. Qxd4 Bc5 13. Qd3 Ba6 14. Rfd1 Rc8 15. Qb1 (15. Qc2
Qe7 16. cxd5 exd5 17. Qf5 $16 {and white is getting the d5 pawn.}) 15... Qe7
16. a3 (16. cxd5 {doesn't work because here the knight is not supported} Bb4
$11) 16... Rfd8 ({Engine suggests} 16... Ng4 17. h3 Nxf2 18. Kxf2 Qg5 19. Re1
Bd6 $14 {white is slightly better but looks interesting for black.}) 17. cxd5
exd5 18. Nxd5 Nxd5 19. Rxd5 Rxd5 20. Bxd5 Rd8 (20... Bxe3 $3 21. fxe3 Qxe3+ 22.
Kh1 Qf2 {is equal but it's hard to find the accurate moves when the clock is
running low.} 23. Be4 h6 24. Be5 Qe3 25. Bf4 Rc1+ 26. Qxc1 Qxe4+ 27. Kg1 Bb7
28. Kf2 Qg2+ $11) 21. Qe4 Qxe4 22. Bxe4 {The dust has settled and now, White
has a comfortably advantageous pawn ending where she can press to eternity.} g6
23. Bf6 Rd6 24. Bc3 Rd7 25. a4 Bf8 (25... f5 {kicking the e4 bishop and
creating a path for king to e6 via f7. However, White still is ahead by a mile.
}) 26. Bd4 Bg7 27. Rd1 Bb7 28. Bxb7 Rxb7 29. Kf1 Rc7 30. Ke2 Bxd4 31. Rxd4 Rc2+
32. Rd2 Rc3 33. Rb2 b5 34. axb5 Rc5 35. Kd3 Kf8 36. e4 Rxb5 37. b4 Ke7 38. f4
Rb6 39. Kc4 f6 40. b5 Rb7 41. Ra2 Rc7+ 42. Kb4 Kd8 43. Ra6 {As
Rubinstein-Lasker, 1909, proved: this is the best square for rook in such
positions.} Re7 44. Kc5 Ke8 45. Kd6 Rb7 46. Ke6 Rxb5 47. Kxf6 Rb7 48. e5 Rf7+
49. Kg5 Rf5+ 50. Kg4 (50. Kh6 Rh5+ 51. Kg7 Rxh2 52. Rxa7 $18 {is a simpler win}
) 50... Rf7 51. h4 Kf8 52. h5 Kg7 53. Kh4 Kh6 54. Ra4 Kg7 55. g4 Kh6 56. hxg6
hxg6 57. Kg3 Kg7 58. Ra6 Kh7 59. Kf3 Rb7 60. f5 g5 61. Ke4 Kg7 62. Rg6+ Kf8 63.
f6 a5 64. Rh6 Kg8 65. e6 a4 66. f7+ Kg7 67. Rh7+ {As far as my knowledge goes,
Harika's attempt to try a new opening setup against Nana backfired and landed
into opening problems as early as move 15. Usually the isolated d5 pawn (or d4
pawn in white's case) offers black excellent counterplay on the c and e file
however today before Harika could think about any counterplay she was pushed
into defensive position and she couldn't recover. The only chance for some
survival was on move 20 where Harika could have sacrificed the bishop for two
pawns and complicate the game and there was a possibility she might have got a
draw. However it was just a practical possibility and it is really unfortunte
that a sharp player like Harika missed it. As they say chess is a tragedy of
one move after this possibility was missed Harika didn't get a second chance
and Nana showed flawless techniqe to wrap up the game in 67 moves. We must
note that the remaining part after move 22 was just a textbook lesson in the
style of all time great Capablanca. It was indeed a treat to watch the
perfect endgame play by Nana. The fight is not over and we are sure that
Harika will definitely strike tomorrow.} 1-0


Nana Dzagnidze's immense experience is making it count. Can Harika break the Georgian and advance to the semis?

But the biggest shocks was Ju Wenjun's surprising loss to Tan Zhongyi.

In the first game of their mini-match, Zhongyi had been pressing all along with white but faltered in the end to only draw. She was not so merciful in the second game where she defeated the top seed and the hot favourite with black!

Antoaneta Stefanov battled hard with white and had an advantage, but...

...a couple of inaccuracies by the Bulgarian allowed Anna Muzychuk to steal a draw. As she had already won the first game, she qualified to the semis.

The only former world champion left in the fray, Alexandra Kosteiuk, made the most of her white pieces and beat...

...the talented but inexperienced Ni Shiqun of China.

Style statement off the board.

The playing arena will witness the only tiebreaker there is to play today. Harika will be competing in her fourth consecutive tiebreak matches.


Watch and Download to your ChessBase, all the games from Round 04


Also read:

  1. Interview: N. Ramaraju on Chess
  2. Sharjah 02+04: Mamedyarov joins MVL at the top
  3. Tehran WWC 4.1: Harika bulldozes through Dzagnidze

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