FIDE Women’s Candidates: Slow but solid start of the semi-finals

The second semi-final encounter between Anna Muzychuk and Lei Tingjie was launched by two special guests today: Cedric Biscay, author of the Manga “Blitz”, and Stephane Lamotte,  Secretary General of the Organizing Committee for the Albert 1st Centenary Commemorations. Since there were two special guests, the move 1.d4 was played twice!

Anna Muzychuk opted for Gruenfeld Defence, in which the opponents followed a well-known theoretical path. White had more space and decided to take the initiative with the move 15.h4, a typical move in the Grunfeld structures, to open the h-file. Anna reacted correctly by introducing a sensible novelty 16…h6 to have an option of advancing her g-pawn when the White h-pawn gets to h5.

19.e5 played by White was certainly the critical moment of the game. Lei Tingjie made a committal decision restricting Black’s dark-squared bishop but abandoning the pawn control over the d5-square. In her post-game interview, Anna commented that it was a typical idea, and if White managed to get all the space in the center and on the kingside, she would be better. Fortunately for Black, she never was in too much danger. After the timely exchange of rooks with 21…Rb5, Anna solved all the problems and the game logically ended in a threefold repetition on the move 28.

Tomorrow, November 3, will be a rest day. The players will undoubtedly make the most out of it to recharge batteries and entertain us in the third game of the match, which will take place on November 4.

Official webstie:

Text: WGM Andreea Navrotescu

Photo: Michał Walusza