Women's World Championship 2015

Mon, 2015-03-30 22:24 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "WCh Women 2015"]
[Site "Sochi RUS"]
[Date "2015.03.17"]
[Round "1.8"]
[White "Yuan, Yuanling"]
[Black "Muzychuk, Mariya"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B15"]
[WhiteElo "2257"]
[BlackElo "2526"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "91"]
[EventDate "2015.03.17"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{Many of you will know about the Women's World Championship taking place in
Sochi under the knockout format - at the time of writing the semi-finals are
underway with Muzychuk, Harika, Cramling and Pogonina still vying for the
title. The tournament has a lot of valuable lessons for the aspiring player
and in this post I'm going to share the most important of these. Lesson 1:
When in a clearly better/winning position, make sure to look for the
opponent's active/forcing moves as well! It's easy to get absorbed in our own
attacking ideas when we are in control, but we must anticipate the opponent's
plans as well to maintain this control.} 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4
Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Nf3 (6. c3 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. Qc2 Re8+ 9. Ne2 {is a much
more flexible White setup.}) 6... Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O Bg4 9. h3 Bh5 10. Be4
Na6 11. c3 Nc7 12. Qd3 Bg6 13. Bxg6 hxg6 14. c4 Qd7 15. Be3 g5 $1 {Black has
shown a good understanding of the position (she is usually doing well in this
variation when the ...g5 break can be played) and soon outplays her
lower-rated opponent.} 16. Nd2 g4 17. hxg4 Qxg4 18. Ne4 Be7 19. Ng3 g6 20. Qe4
Qd7 21. Rad1 Kg7 22. d5 cxd5 23. cxd5 Nb5 $2 (23... Bd6 {was the correct way
to blockade the passed pawn, with good play.}) 24. Qf3 $2 (24. d6 $1 Nxd6 25.
Qf4 {would have been very strong as it is hard to escape the pin, e.g.} Rfd8
26. Bd4 {and there is heavy pressure on Black's position with Nh5! and Qg5
being the immediate threat.}) 24... Rh8 $2 25. Ne4 $2 (25. d6 $1 {was still
strong.}) 25... f5 (25... Rh7 $5 {intending ...Rh8 looked good.}) 26. Ng3 Rh4
$1 27. Bf4 $2 Rah8 28. Rfe1 Bd6 {After some adventures, no doubt the result of
the tension that comes with this World Championship format (where one bad move
could end your whole tournament), Black has a winning position - White's
knight is tied up to prevent ...Rh1 mate, the White king is very weak and
Black's pieces dominate. Now it's just a matter of hitting the ball in the
back of the net.} 29. Bg5 Rg4 30. Bc1 Qc7 $6 {Black is still much better but
is starting to drift.} (30... f6 $1 {threatens ...Rgh4 without allowing the
defence Bg5. It also prepares ...Nd4 now that the long diagonal is closed, and
it's hard to see how White defends against this multitude of threats.}) 31. Rd3
$2 (31. Ne2 {was called for.}) 31... Rgh4 $1 32. Bg5 Rg4 $4 {As mentioned,
when you have the initiative it is easy to forget that the opponent can try to
counterattack, and White, being on the defensive for so long, also forgot
about this possibility. Of course, time trouble can also be a big factor.} (
32... Rh2 $1 {was the clearest way to win, threatening ...Bxg3 and ...Rh1 when
the White king will simply be too exposed.}) 33. Bd2 $4 (33. Nxf5+ $1 gxf5 34.
Qxf5 {threatens both the rook and mate with Qf6 (Re8 or Rh3 follow) and
thereby forces} Rxg5 35. Qxg5+ Kf8 {when the rook and two pawns trump the
minor pieces because Black's king is unsafe, e.g.} 36. Rc1) 33... Qd8 {Not the
engine's first choice, but a fairly natural continuation to bring the queen
into the attack.} 34. b3 $2 (34. Nf1 {was a more tenacious defence when Black
doesn't yet have a forced win; if} Nd4 $2 35. Bc3 {is holding.}) 34... Qh4 35.
a4 Nc7 {This retreat still keeps a huge advantage, but} (35... Bc5 $1 {would
have won on the spot as} 36. Kf1 ({or} 36. axb5 Rxg3 $1 37. Qxg3 Qh1#) 36...
Nd4 {threatens ...Qh1 with mate and therefore White must give up material.})
36. Bc3+ f6 37. Kf1 Rf4 $1 38. Qd1 Bc5 $1 39. Rf3 {Black has made a number of
consecutive threats and in such a situation it's easy to overlook White's new
threat...} Qg4 $4 {An unfortunate blunder, turning the course of the game
completely.} (39... Rd8 {prevents the d6 threat and picks up the d5-pawn.
Black's winning chances would be extremely high then.}) 40. d6 $1 {A killing
move, threatening Re7 as well as the knight.} Rxf3 41. Re7+ Kf8 42. gxf3 Qh3+
43. Ke2 Qg2 44. Be1 {Now it is Black's king that will be mated.} Ne8 45. Qd5
Nxd6 46. Qe6 {After this mishap, Muzychuk won the next game, cruised through
the playoff and as we know made it to at least the semi-finals.} 1-0 
[Event "WCh Women 2015"]
[Site "Sochi RUS"]
[Date "2015.03.19"]
[Round "1.2"]
[White "Goryachkina, Aleksandra"]
[Black "Mkrtchian, Lilit"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E01"]
[WhiteElo "2456"]
[BlackElo "2443"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2015.03.17"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{Lesson 2: It doesn't matter how good your position is in an Armageddon game
if you have no time on the clock to convert it. For Armageddon games in this
Championship, players didn't receive any increment until move 61. So when
Black had only seconds left on the clock by move 18, the game was effectively
decided almost irrespective of the position on the board.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6
3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bb4+ 5. Nd2 O-O 6. Ngf3 dxc4 (6... b6 7. O-O Bb7 {is the
simplest route to equality as with White's knight on d2 there isn't a great
way of exerting pressure on Black's centre.}) 7. Qc2 c5 8. dxc5 Qe7 9. O-O Nc6
10. Nxc4 Bxc5 11. Nce5 $1 ({or} 11. Nfe5 $1 {with the same ideas.}) 11... Nxe5
12. Nxe5 Bd6 13. Nc4 {White has handled this unusual Catalan in excellent
fashion and has a standard advantage based on Black's difficulty activating
the c8-bishop.} Bc5 14. Bf4 (14. Bd2 {was a safer square for the bishop.})
14... Nd5 $1 {A good move, but this and the next few moves were played much
too slowly.} 15. Rac1 Nxf4 (15... b6 $1 {and ...Bb7 would equalise as Black
manages to catch up in development.}) 16. gxf4 Rb8 17. Ne5 (17. Rfd1 {first
was objectively better, when Black can hardly move in light of} Bd7 $2 18. Ne5)
17... Bb6 18. Rfd1 f6 19. Nc4 Bc7 20. e3 {Objectively speaking, White's edge
is very small, but the time situation made the game already resignable for
Black.} b5 (20... Bd7 $142) 21. Nd2 (21. Ne5 Bxe5 22. fxe5 fxe5 23. Qc7 {would
have been very strong, but there's no need to drastically change the position
when the opponent is about to flag.}) 21... Bb6 22. Qb3 Bb7 $2 (22... Kh8 23.
Qxb5 e5 {gives Black some counterchances with her bishop pair for the pawn.})
23. Bxb7 Rxb7 24. Ne4 {Typically for these Catalan positions, the knight
completely dominates the b6-bishop which is hemmed in by the White pawns, and
Black also has some clear structural weaknesses and difficulty challenging the
open files.} a6 25. f5 Re8 $2 26. Nd6 {Now it's over on the board as well.}
Rbb8 27. Nxe8 Rxe8 28. Qxe6+ Qxe6 29. fxe6 Rxe6 30. Rd7 f5 31. Rc8+ 1-0 
[Event "WCh Women 2015"]
[Site "Sochi RUS"]
[Date "2015.03.20"]
[Round "2.6"]
[White "Gunina, Valentina"]
[Black "Girya, Olga"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E06"]
[WhiteElo "2528"]
[BlackElo "2459"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[EventDate "2015.03.17"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{To be fair, we should show examples of things the players in the tournament
did well, especially since such instances are in the clear majority. Lesson 3:
In a worse position, it can be practically very unsettling for the opponent to
change the nature of the position. If you are getting positionally ground down,
make a bid for counterplay, or if you are coming under a big attack, try to
bail out into a worse endgame. It's even better if you can whip up a sudden
attack on their king!} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O
dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. Qxc4 b5 9. Qc2 Bb7 10. Bg5 (10. Bd2 {is the main move, when
Kramnik recently tried the unusual} Be4 11. Qc1 c6 $5 {successfully against
Giri.}) 10... Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Rc8 12. Bxf6 Nxf6 13. Nb3 c5 14. dxc5 Be4 15. Qc3
Bd5 16. Rac1 Bxb3 17. Qxb3 Bxc5 18. e3 Qb6 {White's opening has led to a very
safe position without much risk.} 19. Rc2 Rc7 20. Ne5 Rfc8 21. Rd1 g6 22. Rcd2
Be7 23. g4 $6 {White gets impatient and in trying to keep winning chances,
only weakens her position.} (23. a4 {would maintain the balance, and the
opposite-coloured bishops and symmetrical pawn structure make a draw quite
likely.}) 23... Rc5 $1 24. Nd3 Rg5 25. h3 h5 26. gxh5 Rxh5 {Now White is
coming under some pressure as her king is weaker.} 27. Nf4 Rhc5 (27... Rg5 $5 {
may have been more practical to avoid the coming shot.}) 28. Nxg6 $5 {
Objectively this move is not the best, but the shock of this combination led
to Black immediately blundering.} fxg6 29. Rd6 Bxd6 $4 {Now the game is
effectively decided.} (29... Qc7 30. Qxe6+ Kf8 31. Rxa6 Re5 32. Qc6 Qxc6 33.
Bxc6 {leaves Black with a clear advantage with the knight clearly outdoing the
three pawns, though with only two pawns remaining this edge probably isn't
enough to win against optimal defence.}) 30. Qxe6+ Kh7 31. Rxd6 Rc1+ 32. Kh2
Qc7 33. Qxf6 {The material balance has been restored and Black's king is
fatally weak. Even Be4/Bd5 can be played later to bring another piece into the
attack.} Rc2 34. Qxg6+ Kh8 35. Qh5+ (35. Qf6+ Qg7 36. Qh4+ Qh7 37. Rh6 {was
the fastest win but it doesn't matter anymore.}) 35... Kg8 36. Bd5+ Kg7 37.
Qh6# 1-0 
[Event "WCh Women 2015"]
[Site "Sochi RUS"]
[Date "2015.03.21"]
[Round "2.3"]
[White "Muzychuk, Anna"]
[Black "Goryachkina, Aleksandra"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B12"]
[WhiteElo "2552"]
[BlackElo "2456"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "141"]
[EventDate "2015.03.17"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{Lesson 4: When playing a somewhat lower-rated player, aim for positions where
you have a space advantage - this way it will be much easier for you to use
your superior understanding/technique to outmanoeuvre the opponent.} 1. e4 c6
2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. c4 {I dabbled with this shortcut as a junior before
realising it's absolutely nothing for White if Black takes on c4 before White
gets in c5.} e6 5. Nc3 Ne7 6. Be3 Nd7 7. c5 Bg6 (7... b6 8. b4 a5 9. a3 axb4
10. axb4 bxc5 11. bxc5 f6 12. f4 g5 $1 {is the ideal approach, undermining
White's centre before it can be supported by the pieces. After} 13. exf6 Nxf6
14. fxg5 Ne4 {Black has more than enough compensation for the pawn.}) 8. f4 $6
{Objectively a mistake, but Black does not find the answer to White's
strategically ambitious approach.} f6 $6 (8... b6 9. b4 a5 10. a3 axb4 11. axb4
bxc5 12. bxc5 Nf5 13. Bf2 Nxd4 $1 14. Bxd4 Bxc5 {gives Black very promising
compensation for the piece; it's essential to destroy White's space advantage
promptly.}) 9. Nf3 Nf5 10. Bf2 fxe5 11. fxe5 Be7 12. Be2 O-O 13. O-O Nh4 (13...
b6 14. b4 a5 15. a3 Bh5 {was the correct way to exert pressure on White's
centre, though I would still take White's position after} 16. Qd2 {. It is not
easy to significantly improve Black's piece placement, and we'll see in the
game that even exchanges do not resolve Black's problems.}) 14. b4 Nxf3+ 15.
Bxf3 Bh4 $6 {Following the principle of exchanging when behind in space, but
trading Black's good bishop for White's bad one is a mistake.} 16. Qd2 Bxf2+ (
16... Rxf3 $5 17. gxf3 Qg5+ 18. Qxg5 Bxg5 {was Black's chance to change the
trend of the game - it is not clear that White can win such a position as the
bishop from g6 guards the key b1 square should White open the b-file with b5
and bxc6.}) 17. Rxf2 Rf7 18. Raf1 Qe7 19. g3 Raf8 20. b5 {White has a clear
advantage on account of the extra space over the whole board. She took her
time but eventually converted this into a win.} Bf5 21. Bh5 Bg6 22. Bxg6 hxg6
23. bxc6 Rxf2 24. Rxf2 bxc6 25. Nd1 Qd8 26. Kg2 Qb8 27. Qb2 Rxf2+ 28. Kxf2 Qf8+
29. Kg2 Qc8 30. Nf2 Qa6 31. Qc2 Nf8 32. Nh3 Qa5 33. Ng5 Qd8 34. h4 Qb8 35. Qb3
Qc8 36. Qb1 Qa6 37. Qf1 Qb7 38. a4 Qe7 39. Qb1 Qc7 40. Kg1 Qc8 41. a5 Nh7 42.
Qxg6 Nxg5 43. Qxg5 Qf8 44. Qg6 Qf3 45. Qxe6+ Kh7 46. Qh3 Qd1+ 47. Kh2 Qd2+ 48.
Qg2 Qxd4 49. Qe2 Qxc5 50. e6 Qe7 51. Qc2+ Kh6 52. Qc1+ g5 53. hxg5+ Kh5 54.
Qxc6 Qxg5 55. Qc2 Qe5 56. Qh7+ Kg5 57. Qg8+ Kh6 58. Qf8+ Kh7 59. Qf7+ Qg7 60.
Qh5+ Kg8 61. Qxd5 Qh7+ 62. Kg2 Qc2+ 63. Kh3 Kf8 64. Qd8+ Kg7 65. Qg5+ Kh7 66.
Qh5+ Kg7 67. Qg5+ Kh7 68. Qh5+ Kg7 69. e7 Qc6 70. Qe5+ Kh6 71. e8=Q 1-0 
[Event "WCh Women 2015"]
[Site "Sochi RUS"]
[Date "2015.03.22"]
[Round "2.2"]
[White "Gaponenko, Inna"]
[Black "Stefanova, Antoaneta"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C69"]
[WhiteElo "2384"]
[BlackElo "2522"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "102"]
[EventDate "2015.03.17"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{Lesson 5: The stronger player is more likely to appreciate long-term
advantages than their opponent and therefore it makes sense to head for
positions (especially endgames) where these advantages can be utilised.} 1. e4
e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Qf6 $5 {In my view one of the
simplest ways for Black to equalise, though just about any other move works
too.} 6. d4 exd4 7. Bg5 Qd6 8. Nxd4 Be7 9. Bxe7 Nxe7 10. Nc3 Bd7 11. Nb3 Qxd1
12. Raxd1 b6 {Some may be put off this position by White's better pawn
structure, but it isn't easy to turn it into a passed pawn and the unopposed
light-squared bishop is quite an asset (which is not easy to fully appreciate
unless you have studied a lot of Berlin endgames). Objectively the position
must be equal, but I would find it easier to play Black as their moves are
more obvious (an important factor in rapid/blitz).} 13. Rd2 O-O-O 14. Rfd1 c5
15. Nc1 f5 $1 16. N1e2 Nc6 17. f3 Rhf8 18. exf5 $6 {It is not unusual for
players in the 2300-2500 rating range to release piece/pawn tension early to
try and make the position simpler, especially when they feel under pressure.
Here this move only activates Black's bishop and leaves White facing real
problems.} (18. Ng3 fxe4 19. Ncxe4 {sees the exchange happen on White's terms,
when with} Be6 20. Rxd8+ Rxd8 21. Rxd8+ Kxd8 22. a3 {White has a decent
'anti-LSB' position.}) 18... Bxf5 19. Nd5 Rde8 20. Ng3 Bg6 21. c3 $6 {A slight
but significant concession, weakening the light squares.} (21. Kf2 Kb7 22. b3 {
would be better, as the pawns on light squares help reduce the power of the
unopposed light-squared bishop, while the knights are then more free to cover
the dark squares. Still, only Black can press here and} a5 $5 {intending ...a4
would be one way to do so.}) 21... Ne5 22. b3 c4 $1 {Now Black either
undoubles her pawn or gets a piece into d3, securing a stable advantage.} 23.
Nf1 (23. b4 $6 Bd3 {would be too ugly to contemplate.}) 23... Kb7 24. Nde3 cxb3
25. axb3 a5 $1 {A precise move, semi-fixing the White queenside pawns as
targets and also preparing the creation of a passed pawn. Notice how hard it
is for White to even start advancing the kingside majority because of Black's
piece pressure and the lack of stable posts for White's knights.} 26. c4 Kc8 $6
{Relaxing a little; I'd have gone for} (26... Bh5 {and then ...g5 to fix
White's majority and free the f8-rook for other purposes.}) 27. c5 $6 {It is
natural to try and go active as opposed to sitting and waiting, but here it
only helps Black create a passer.} (27. Nd5 {and Nc3 would take advantage of
Black's inaccuracy and then it would be hard for Black to create a queenside
passed pawn without liquidating both White's queenside pawns. Obviously if all
the pawns end up on one side of the board then even an extra piece may not
automatically give Black the win.}) 27... b5 28. Nd5 Kb7 29. Ra2 Nc6 {The
Black position is completely stable and both White's queenside pawns are weak 
(due to being split).} 30. Nc3 b4 31. Nd5 Bf7 32. Rad2 Re5 33. Nfe3 Ne7 {Black
is probably winning in this position because of the dominant bishop and the
fixed queenside pawns, but it's hard to say where over the last several moves
White went wrong - Black simply showed very good technique.} 34. Kf2 $2 {
However this makes it easy for Black.} (34. c6+ Nxc6 35. Nc4 {was the best
swindling try, though objectively insufficient too.}) 34... Nxd5 35. Nxd5 Kc6
36. Ne3 Bxb3 37. Rb1 Bg8 38. Rd4 Rxc5 39. Rg4 g6 40. Re4 Ra8 41. Ng4 Ba2 42.
Rb2 Bd5 43. Re7 b3 44. Ne3 Bg8 45. Rd2 a4 46. Rdd7 Kb6 47. Rd4 a3 48. Rb4+ Kc6
49. Ng4 a2 50. f4 a1=Q 51. Ne5+ Rxe5 0-1 
[Event "WCh Women 2015"]
[Site "Sochi RUS"]
[Date "2015.03.28"]
[Round "4.2"]
[White "Zhao, Xue"]
[Black "Pogonina, Natalija"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A58"]
[WhiteElo "2527"]
[BlackElo "2456"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "98"]
[EventDate "2015.03.17"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{Lesson 6: In a must-win game, it is best not to go 'all out' right away - far
better chances are offered by aiming for a complex strategic battle where the
opponent does not have an easy way to 'kill' the game with mass liquidations.
Lesson 7: If your opening worked for you in a recent game against the same
opponent and is sound, stick to it! If you have done your homework well, they
will not be able to improve on your analysis in such a short period of time
and furthermore, the opponent also has to prepare for the other systems in
your repertoire.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 {I wonder if Pogonina's choice
of this opening was based at all on my 2012 Benko game against Zhao Xue where
I achieved a winning position only to blow it in the end.} 4. cxb5 a6 5. bxa6
g6 6. Nc3 Bg7 $1 {This is the modern trend as everyone knows} (6... Bxa6 7. e4
Bxf1 8. Kxf1 d6 9. Nf3 Bg7 10. g3 O-O 11. Kg2 Nbd7 12. a4 $1 {to favour White.}
) 7. g3 (7. e4 O-O 8. Nf3 Qa5 {(threatening ...Nxe4)} 9. Bd2 Bxa6 {is the main
line, but Black has shown himself to be in decent shape here.}) 7... O-O 8. Bg2
d6 9. Nf3 Nxa6 (9... Bf5 {was my choice against Gene Nakauchi in this position,
eyeing ...Ne4 to liberate the g7-bishop (Black's best piece in the Benko).})
10. O-O Qb6 11. Nd2 ({Earlier in the match, Pogonina was also in a must-win
situation and used the Benko successfully:} 11. Re1 Nc7 12. e4 Nd7 13. a4 Ba6
14. Ra3 Rfb8 15. Qc2 Ne5 16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. Nd1 e6 18. Bd2 Bd4 19. Bc3 e5 20.
Bh3 Ra7 21. Bg4 Rab7 22. Be2 c4 23. Bxd4 Qxd4 24. Ra2 Ne8 25. Nc3 Rb4 26. Rd1
Qb6 27. a5 Qc7 28. Rda1 Nf6 29. Na4 Nd7 30. Nb6 Rb7 31. Ra4 Rxa4 32. Qxa4 Nxb6
33. axb6 Rxb6 34. Rc1 Qc5 35. b3 Bb5 36. Qa8+ Kg7 37. bxc4 Ba6 38. Re1 Qb4 39.
Kf1 Bxc4 40. Bxc4 Qxc4+ 41. Kg2 Rb1 42. Qa5 Qd3 43. Kh3 Rb2 44. Qc7 Rxf2 45.
Qxd6 Qc3 46. Rb1 Qc8+ {0-1 (46) Zhao,X (2527)-Pogonina,N (2456) Sochi RUS 2015}
) 11... Nc7 12. Nc4 (12. b3 Ba6 13. Bb2 {seems better, with objectively a
small edge for White as Black has no real targets.}) 12... Qb4 13. Ne3 Ba6 (
13... Ng4 $1 {was more precise, when Black can bring the knight to e5 if White
doesn't blink.}) 14. Rb1 Nb5 15. Bd2 Nd4 {Black has very nice piece play for
the pawn and in a quick game the side with the initiative always has the
easier time.} 16. Re1 (16. Nc2 {deserved attention, intending to trade the
troublesome d4-knight at some point.}) 16... Rfb8 17. b3 Nd7 $1 {Another
typical knight manoeuvre, bringing the knight to the strong e5 square.} 18. Qc1
Qb7 19. Nc4 Ne5 20. Nxe5 Bxe5 21. e3 Nb5 (21... Bd3 $5 22. exd4 cxd4 23. Ne4
Rc8 24. Qd1 Bc2 25. Qe2 Bxb1 26. Rxb1 Rxa2 {would have led to a quite
interesting position.}) 22. Nd1 $2 Bg7 $2 (22... Na3 $1 23. Qxa3 Bd3 24. Qc1
Rxa2 {is a strong tactic that went overlooked by both players - the threat is .
..Rc2 trapping the queen and} 25. Nc3 Rc2 {picks up the knight.}) 23. a4 Nc7
24. Bc3 Bxc3 25. Nxc3 Bd3 26. Rb2 Qb4 {It is important that Black didn't let
White blockade with her knight on b5 - otherwise Black wouldn't get all this
queenside play.} 27. Rd1 Ba6 $6 (27... Bc4 $1) 28. Rdd2 {Now White has
consolidated, although it is not easy to make use of the extra pawn.} Ra7 29.
Na2 Qa3 30. Qc2 Rab7 31. Nc1 Qb4 (31... c4 {is objectively best, but not
appropriate for a must-win game as after} 32. b4 c3 33. Rb3 Qxa4 34. Rxc3 Qxb4
35. Rd4 {the pawns are all on one side of the board.}) 32. Ra2 Qa5 33. Qd1 Rb4
34. h4 h5 35. Kh2 Ne8 36. e4 Nf6 37. f3 $6 {White has made a few concessions
and therefore ...c4 is particularly well timed here.} c4 $1 38. bxc4 Bxc4 39.
Ra1 Rb2 {The white king is very weak and without much time on the clock the
chances of fully neutralising the Black initiative are small.} (39... Nd7 $5)
40. Rxb2 $2 (40. Rc2 $1 {was the correct defence, refusing to let the other
rook into the attack.}) 40... Rxb2 41. Qd4 $2 (41. Nd3 $1 Rd2 42. Qe1 Bxd3 43.
Rd1 Rxg2+ 44. Kxg2 {was the only way to stay in the game, but the chances of
finding this with no time on the clock are meager.}) 41... Rc2 42. Qe3 Qb4 {
Now the Black pieces decisively invade - the immediate threat is ...Rxg2! and
Qb2.} 43. Nd3 Bxd3 44. Qxd3 Rxg2+ 45. Kxg2 Qb2+ 46. Kh3 Qxa1 47. Kg2 Qxa4 48.
Qc3 Qa2+ 49. Kh3 Qf2 {I hope you found these lessons valuable and can
successfully apply the learnings to your own games! Until next time :)} 0-1