By Peter Long October 30, 2014
At 14, China’s Hou Yifan became the youngest ever holder of the Grandmaster title and two years later, when just 16, she was crowned the youngest ever Women’s World Champion.
But the fact is that Yifan has been breaking records since she was nine years of age when she became World U-10 Girls Champion and then at 13, China’s youngest ever National Champion!
Since then she has circled the globe playing almost non-stop in some of the most exotic places imaginable and with numerous victories to show, including the KL Open in 2010 where she surprised me by accepting my invitation to play (probably it did not hurt that her coach Ye Jiangchuan who is also General Secretary of the China Chess Association is someone I have known since 1984) and from a sponsor’s perspective, her winning the event boasting 17 grandmasters with a round to spare is the stuff publicists can only dream of.
2014 will be the last year that Yifan is categorised as a junior by FIDE (World Chess Federation) and she is now closing in on the ratings record held by the legendary Judit Polgar who has been ranked No. 1 among women chess players for an amazing 25 years.
Yifan and Judit only met once with the world champion taking the honours. Polgar, 38, recently announced her retirement from competitive play after a successful outing for the Hungarian men’s team at the Tromso Olympiad and the timing is probably right as the incredibly talented Yifan, 20, is just two points short of matching her rating which at one time no one believed would ever be surpassed.
Judit is clearly a talent for all time, a living legend who at her peak clearly belonged with the top 15 men, but she comes from a time when fewer women played (and mainly with their own sex).
She has always refused to play in women’s events so arguably her rating has benefitted as a result, Judit’s only exception to this rule being at the single Olympiad won by Hungary in 1988 when all three Polgar sisters led by big sister and mentor Susan, then the strongest of all, decided to make a point of their pre-eminence in women’s chess by playing together in competition with the other women players.
In contrast, Yifan plays in simply everything! Since becoming world champion she has become one of the game’s biggest ambassadors, essentially becoming a globetrotter and even going to some places one would not imagine chess is played! (This young woman is one of the nicest persons one could meet, completely without any airs, always accommodating even if the demands on her time are making it more and more difficult to meet each and every request made of her by so many!).
More amazing perhaps is that while Yifan has been a long time member of China’s national team and so plays, trains and works with her team mates as regularly as national assignments demand, she still has no personal coach. In fact, she is forced to share the likes of Ye Jiangchuan with all the others!
This was confirmed in an enlightening conversation on national chess development with Yifan facilitated by me at the request of the legendary Indonesian Grandmaster Utut Adianto, a top 20 player in his time, now a sitting twice elected Senator but very much active in promoting chess by serving as Deputy President of PERCASI (All Indonesia Chess Federation) and through his nationwide SCUA (Sekolah Catur Utut Adianto) network.
On top of that, China is still China, and the government takes a levy on prize money won. I remember well Yifan making the polite joke that she would have been happy to be Indonesian given the benefits their girls received!
It is clear that it is just a matter of time before she surpasses Judit’s ratings record but a more and very significant development is Yifan’s latest success! (Surprisingly, of the prominent English language chess news sites only Chessbase gave her result the coverage it deserved and was also not shy to state what it meant.)
The organisers of the Corsican Circuit had amazingly managed to get both Yifan and former World Champion (and again World Championship Candidate) Viswanathan Anand to take part in a knockout event and when the dust settled it was Yifan who emerged the winner, beating Sergey Fedorchuk who had put out Anand in the Semi-Finals by a score of 2-0!
Here is the final game -- our thanks to Chessbase -- one which shows off both her fighting spirit and wonderful resourcefulness.
Fedorchuk,Sergey A (2673) - Hou,Yifan (2673) [B72]
Corsican Circuit 2014 - Final Ajaccio (1.2), 22.10.2014
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6!? [Hou Yifan is well versed in her Sicilians, but it is not so common for her to start the game like this.]
3.Nc3 [An anti-Sveshnikov move, but I doubt the World Champion was planning to play that with the Black pieces.]
3...g6 [The accelerated Dragon becomes more feasible for top-GMs to play once the Maroczy has been avoided.]
4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Be2 [An old but relatively quiet line, Black is not supposed to have too many problems in this variation.]
[7.Bc4 0–0 8.Bb3 is still the most theoretically challenging line. Black has a few options at her disposal.]
7...0–0 8.f4 [8.0–0 d5 is already known to be equal.]
8...d6 9.Nb3 [This line has fallen out of popularity for a long time now. Black has more than one continuation that promises good play.]
9...a6 [9...Be6 10.g4 d5 11.f5 Bc8 12.exd5 Nb4 13.Bf3 is a famous and old game between Fischer-Reshevsky, 1961.; 9...a5! is more assertive.; 9...e5!?]
10.g4 [White’s attack on the kingside in these kinds of situations is usually somewhat slow. It is more visually impactful than dangerous.]
10...b5 11.g5 Nd7 12.Qd2 Nb6 [Black quickly transfers the knight to the queenside, hoping to put pressure there quickly.]
13.0–0–0 Na4! [This is the point. Now c3 is under attack and Black already has concrete threats.]
14.Nd4 Bb7?! [14...Nxc3! 15.Qxc3 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 e5! would have been a perfect way to continue the game. White’s structure is falling apart.]
15.Nd5 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 e5 17.fxe5 Bxd5! [An important strategical decision. White’s knight on d5 is far more useful for White than the bishop as Black is embarking on a dark-square attack.]
18.exd5 dxe5 19.Be3 Qd6?! [Letting Fedorchuk slightly off the hook.]
[19...e4! 20.Bd4 (20.c3 b4 is not a position that White can survive.) 20...Qxd5is a clean pawn.]
20.Kb1 Rac8 [Black still keeps some initiative. Notice that White has not had time to develop anything on the other flank.]
21.h4? e4?! [Missing a brilliant finish.]
[21...Rc3!! This unusual move wins on the spot. The point is that b4 is now clear for the queen, making the attack on the queenside far more dangerous. The rook is clearly taboo. 22.Ka1 (22.bxc3 Qa3 with unstoppable mate following up.) 22...e4 23.Rb1 Ra3!]
22.Bd4 Qxd5 23.Qe3 Bxd4 24.Rxd4 Qc5 25.c3 Rfd8 26.Rhd1 Rxd4 27.Rxd4 Re8 [At the end of the day White has survived the attack. He is down a pawn but can regain it in the next move; though he would still be a little worse.]
28.h5? [28.Bf3! Qf5 29.Bxe4 Qf1 30.Qc1 Qf2]
28...Qe5 29.h6 Nc5? [Already with both players in time pressure both players miss an important resource here.]
30.Bg4? [30.c4! White has the strong threat of Rd5, and its surprisingly difficult to stop!]
30...Kf8 31.a3 Ne6 32.Bxe6 Qxe6 33.a4 Qf5 [Black is now up a pawn. It is difficult to convert, but it helps when all you need is a draw.]
34.a5 Qf3! 35.Qxf3 exf3 36.Rf4 Re1 37.Kc2 Re2 38.Kb3 f2 39.Ka3 [39.Rf6]
39...f5! [A nice move! This clears the path for Black’s king as the pawn cannot be taken.]
40.b3 [40.gxf6 g5– ]
40...Ke7 41.Rf3 Ke6 42.Kb4 Kd5 43.Rf4 Re4 [43...Re4 44.c4 bxc4 45.Rxf2 cxb3 46.Kxb3 f4 is very hopeless.]
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.
- See more at: http://www.mmail.com.my/opinion/peter-long/article/already-the-greatest-woman-chess-player-ever#sthash.Htd1d65m.dpuf
Peter Long is Executive Director at the Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia-Pacific which advocates the use of chess in education and facilitates regional chess development. He also runs the Kuala Lumpur Chess Association where despite challenges of parents he remains passionate about young talent development. He can be contacted at email@example.com and Twitter: @PeterCBLong
中国和俄国国际象棋学派的争夺（二）China vs. Russia (2): Soviet chess technique by IM David Martínez
Is 16-year-old Vladislav Artemiev set to follow in the footsteps of Anatoly Karpov, Vladimir Kramnik and Mikhail Botvinnik? Spanish IM David Martínez continues his series looking at the Russian and Chinese schools of chess by examining three endgames in which the young Russian talent demonstrated extraordinarily good technique.
by IM David Martínez
Stay patient, create a weakness, fix it, then attack it. Classical concepts such as this one were at the heart of the Soviet School of Chess established by the Sixth World Champion, Mikhail Botvinnik. That “Soviet” technique attained its peak in the filigree technique of two later World Champions, Anatoly Karpov and Vladimir Kramnik, though of course it was also evident in Botvinnik’s contemporaries Vasily Smyslov and Tigran Petrosian.
We shouldn’t forget there’s also a lineage of dynamic players, exemplified by Alexander Alekhine, Mikhail Tal and Garry Kasparov, but the top young Russians led by Vladislav Artemiev and Aleksandra Goryachkina prefer a much more subtle and positional style of chess. Analysing their games – and we’re going to look at three involving Artemiev – you can’t help but feel the “Patriarch” – Botvinnik – would be very proud that his legacy has extended into the post-Soviet era.
Vladislav Artemiev: Making the difficult look easy
Artemiev scored 8/9, for a 2869 performance, at the student round robin during this year's Moscow Open | photo: official website
Artemiev exemplifies Botvinnik’s methodical technique. With the white pieces he prefers a calm game and normally plays queen’s pawn openings, not looking for any great theoretical complications. He aims for solidity and a microscopic edge in the opening, which he’s then willing to try and exploit for hours on end, usually with great success! With Black he also plays for a win, not shying away from complications but playing the highly theoretical Najdorf and Grünfeld.
Let’s take a look at three “difficult” games for Artemiev, all wins in classical chess against higher-rated grandmasters: Denis Khismatullin and Maxim Matlakov (twice). In all three encounters you can observe the same pattern: Vladislav shuns complications in the opening, plays quietly but then slowly but surely ups the pressure until his opponent goes wrong. Three true positional gems.
Artemiev, at the time still only an International Master, qualified for the 2015 World Cup by scoring 7.5/11 at this year's European Individual Championship, losing a single game to the eventual winner, Alexander Motylev.
Finally let's return to the European Championship, and the vital last round game against 23-year-old Matlakov. After a marathon 129-move effort Artemiev managed to accomplish his mission and qualify for the World Cup, while his opponent, who started the day on the same number of points, sank to 53rd place.
You can learn a lot from observing the methodical approach young Artemiev uses to win these endings. He’s clearly assimilated much of the Soviet and Russian heritage, but before his career’s over we might instead be looking to his games to discover the secrets of “Russian” chess!
As we’ll see in the next instalment, though, the Chinese school takes a completely different approach.
The world’s largest chess team championship in history came to a close this month. The final results of the 177 teams in the open and 133 teams in the women’s section were completely surprising. Team ratings would have suggested the Russians taking the open and the Chinese victorious in the women’s, but just the opposite resulted. The Chinese open team, consisting of Wang Yue, Ding Liren, Yue Yangyi, Ni Hua and Wei Yi, some of whom had hardly been heard of in the West, took the lead after defeating Azerbaijan in the eighth round and never relinquished it thereafter.
The exhausting schedule at Tromso, Norway, turned predictions on their head. None of the top-rated teams won medals. Gold, silver and bronze team medals went instead to China, Hungary, and India, respectively. Judit Polgar of Hungary earned the silver for reserve player. Strangely Polgar, probably the strongest female player in history, announced her retirement at the age of 38 possibly to focus on her family. India’s bronze was unusual as it was won without former world champion Viswanathan Anand and their No. 2 player, Pendyala Harikrishna.
In the last three rounds, the US team did not fare particularly well. In round 9 it defeated Argentina. Alas, the team fell to France in the 10th and lost to Azerbaijan in the last round, ending in 14th place. Its final score was 7-4 and finished out of the running for a medal. Sam Shankland, a recent Brandeis graduate, won as an alternate in the first round, stayed on the team, and kept winning in a blaze of victories, ending with a score of 9-1 and winning the gold for the fifth place alternate position. He had a performance rating of 2831.
In the ladies’ section, Russia had upended China in their match, took the lead and held it to the end. China received the silver, Ukraine, the bronze. The US finished in eighth place.
A sleeper was former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria who won the first board gold medal. Michael Adams of England got the silver; Anish Giri of the Netherlands won the bronze. We followed, as well, the fortunes of the world champion Magnus Carlsen, who ended with a score of 6-3. He had a draw with Tomi Nyback of Finland and Levon Aronian of Armenia and had losses against Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany and Ivan Saric of Croatia. He did not play the last round, possibly choosing to rest for the Sinquefield tournament to be held in St. Louis on Aug. 27-Sept. 7. He will compete against Hikaru Nakamura, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, and Topalov.
Hou Yifan Commands Respect
by Arkadij Naiditsch
Hou, Yifan (2629) – Giri, Anish (2750)
Hans Suri Mem 2014 Biel SUI (1.3), 14.07.2014
Sicilian Defense [B51]
In the history of chess, only one woman has played on the highest level and this is Judit Polgar. At her best she even managed to enter the Top Ten. Hou Yifan, the current Women's World Champion and clearly the strongest female player after Polgar seems to do fine against men as well. Yifan is very close to entering the Top 100 and already proves this in the first round of Biel.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5
This is a very popular move at the moment. There have always been a few Top GMs who liked 3.Bb5, but especially after the games of Carlsen this move came into fashion.
And this is the most fighting reply for Black. The main line is clearly 3...Bd7 and now in the latest games White seems to push a bit after 4.c4!?, and strangely Black did not show a clear way to equalize so far.
The most principled. White also has moves like 4.0-0 or 4.c3.
4...cxd4 5.Qxd4 a6
5N2/PPP2PPP/RNB1K2R w KQkq - 0 6"]
Quite an interesting and rare move. We would be in the main lines after 6.Bxd7 Bxd7 7.0-0 and now White's idea is usually connected with the c4 move.
6...Ngf6 7.0-0 e5
Giri is already planning a pawn sacrifice, which just looks too dangerous. The simple 7...e6 8.c4 b6 9.Nc3 Bb7 would lead us to hedgehog structures where the white queen is not so perfectly placed on d4. Anyhow, he might be in time to regroup and get some small plus.
It is clear that Black had planned the d5 move before playing e5.
4QN2/PPP1BPPP/RNB2RK1 w kq - 0 10”]
It seems as if Giri does not take his opponent too seriously. There was no reason for Black to take such rushed actions. After 9...Nxd5 10.Qd3 N5f6, Black's position is maybe a bit worse, but White has nothing too spectacular.
The queen takes a perfect position on d2, not only to protect the d5-pawn, but as well to prepare the c4-b4 pawn pushes.
So Black is a full pawn down and in case White will be in time to play something like b4-Nc3-Bb2 the game could already simply be over. Black needs to react very quickly here.
This is probably the best try for Black, as at least the knight is going to take a great position on e5.
White's position is clearly better, but Black has many tricks; for example, connected with Nfg4-Qh4 or Qc7 with the idea of playing Ng4 next. White needs to be careful.
8/PP1QBPPP/RNB2RK1 w - - 0 13"]
Another strong decision by Hou Yifan, the move in the game is much stronger than something like 13.Nc3. Now White will have the idea of playing c5-d6 to totally kill all of Black's hopes.
13...Ba7 14.Nc3 Bg4
Black continues to try and create some complications. Maybe a slightly better try to save the game could have been 14...Nd3 15.Nc2! (15.Bxd3 is premature since after 15...Bxd4 16.Be2 Be5 the black bishop on e5 gives Black some attacking chances.) 15...Nxc1 16.Raxc1 and of course White is a full pawn up and has a much better position, but Black's bishop-pair could give him some theoretical chances to survive the game.
1P1Np1b1/2N5/P2QBPPP/R1B2RK1 b - - 0 15”]
Another very good move by White based on an exact calculation. White is using the moment that the pawn on d5 can't be taken to get the bishop on a7 completely out of the game.
15...Nxd5 didn't really help since after 16.Nxe4 White is just a clear pawn up.
Of course the structure must be kept.
This is not the best move order. To get a better version Black should have played 16...Bb8 before taking on d5. Black is provoking the bishop to b2. 17.Bb2 Nxd5 18.Nxe4 Bxe2 Of course White is a clear pawn up, but Black might keep some fighting chances.
And now we see the difference to 16...Bb8, White has another move to play rather than 18.Bb2.
Hou Yifan is playing a perfect game. There is no reason for White to exchange the bishop on e2, which is controlling the knight e5.
P4P2/3QB1PP/R1B2RK1 w - - 0 19"]
A mistake never comes alone. Giri makes another clear miscalculation, but I must admit that it is difficult to find a good move in a bad position. 18...Bh5 would lead to the same result as in the game, since after 19.Nf5 the threat of playing Qxd5 gives White enough time to put the knight to d6.
The last important move of the game. Black is losing material.
19...Nxe2 20.Qxe2 would lead to the same position as in the game via a different move order.
20.cxd6 Nxe2 21.Qxe2 Qxd6 22.Nb5
I guess this is the move Giri blundered.
22...Qb6 didn't help since after 23.Be3 Black is losing the g4 bishop.
The most simple. White has a big material advantage and the attack too!
23...Nf3 24.Qxf3 Qxa1
P4Q2/6PP/q1B2RK1 w - - 0 25"]
Precision until the end. White wants to play Bc5 next, putting pressure on the f7-pawn. The game is totally over.
25...Qf6 26.Qxf6 gxf6 27.Nc7
The white knight is coming to d5.
27...Rad8 28.Bh6 and the f8 rook has no squares.
A great game by Hou Yifan who perfectly capitalized on the mistakes of her opponent. I guess with this win she gained a lot of respect from the top players, who will not try to play against her as with a little girl, sacrificing pawns for a doubtful initiative.
Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich
Photos by Fan Lulu and Liang Ziming
Round 9 all great fight for the end
Round 8 more for white
Round 7 more for white
Free day players visited local school
Round 6 more for white
Round 5 draw most one white lost
Round 4 more for white
Round 3 more for black
Round 2 for white
Round 1 for black!
MANNY PACQUIAO CUP ASIAN CONTINENTAL CHESS CHAMPIONSHIPS - 17 May - 27 May 2013 Official site Live pgn results