Chess

Alexandra Kosteniuk and Mariya Muzychuk advance to the Semi-final

The Quarterfinals of the Women’s World Championship were concluded on November 14 with two tie-breaks: Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated Anna Muzychuk, and Zhansaya Abdumalik lost to Mariya Muzychuk.

Kosteniuk played the first game with White and obtained a promising position after the opening. Then Black managed to activate her pieces and got a strong counterplay. However, being under heavy time pressure, Muzychuk made several mistakes, giving Kosteniuk a decisive advantage.

Muzychuk started the second game with 1.f4 and got an overwhelming advantage already in the opening. However, with very tenacious defense Alexandra managed to hold a difficult endgame. Looking for possible winning chances, Muzychuk avoided a number of drawing lines, and Black even got an edge. In the end Kosteniuk secured a draw from the position of strength and advanced to the Semi-final with the overall 1.5-0.5 win.

Mariya Muzychuk started the tie-break with a Black victory: Abdumalik failed to convince in the opening and then was gradually outplayed in the endgame. In the return game Abdumalik managed to create a complicated battle. Muzychuk sacrificed a piece, but her compensation proved insufficient. With some adventures in the mutual time trouble Abdumalik converted an extra piece, and the players proceeded to “10+10” stage.

The first 10-minute game was highly dramatic. Zhansaya Abdumalik was defending for the entire game and was very close to a draw. In the endgame R+N vs R she had the right to claim a draw according to the 50-move rule, despite being mated in two moves. However, instead of claiming a draw, Abdumalik resigned.

However, Zhansaya demonstrated her fighting spirit and came back in the second game. The match continued by two more blitz games with faster time control.

Mariya Muzychuk won the first 5+3 blitz as White, then got a much better position as Black and forced a draw by perpetual, thus advancing to the next stage.

 

Semi-final pairings:

 

Alexandra Kosteniuk-Ju Wenjun

Mariya Muzychuk-Kateryna Lagno

 

All players who had advanced to the Semi-final except for the future champion automatically qualified for the 2019 Women’s Candidates Tournament.

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