Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012 FIDE WWCC: Game 3 -- Stefanova Caught Flat-Footed!

Round 6 Match 01
Ushenina, AnnaUKR½½12
Stefanova, AntoanetaBUL½½01

From The Week in Chess:

Game 3 could not have gone better for Anna Ushenina who completely caught out Antoaneta Stefanova in a sideline of the Chebanenko Slav. Not only did Stefanova clearly not know the line but she also walked straight into the sharpest variation by rather naively playing 15...e5 rather than 15...Kh8 which was more restrained. It was all very gruesome after 17.Nxd5 and this win means a draw with black in game 4 will give Ushenina the title.

Oy!  So, is it all over now except for the shouting?  Will Ushenina play only for a draw tomorrow, knowing that's all she needs to secure the title for herself?  I'm wondering how Stefanova is going to respond to this do-or-go-home-with-less-$$$ situation. 

Before Game 3, Final.  Stefanova looks elegantly put-together -- love that faux fur shorty jacket/sweather she's
got on, and notice how color-coordinated her comfy low-heeled boots are with her slacks (NOT jeans).
She always looks serenely regal to me.  I love Ushenina's platinum blonde hair -- it suits her coloring to a T! 
She just looks like she's got a chip on her shoulder in this photograph.  Game face - yeah, she's got Game!
I'm also happy that Ushenina decided to retire her red sweater (how many times has she worn it during this championship, I wonder?), at least temporarily.  (Okay, I know you've all been noticing that too, but just didn't comment on it.  So, me bad!)  Today she wore a blue and white shirt.  Short sleeves in Siberia.  Rather reminds me of an NFL football player from the Packers playing at Legendary Lambeau Field in the play-offs in January -- when the windchill can drop well below zero and they pretend the cold doesn't bother them...

From the Official Website:

The current score is 2-1 in favor of the Ukrainian player.

In the third games of the Women’s World Championship final Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) played the Slav Defense. The Bulgarian went for the Chebanenko Variation (with 4…a6; also called the Chameleon Variation sometimes), which she didn’t use for a long time. Nevertheless, Ushenina was not caught by surprise. White played very well and got a small advantage. In an attempt to activate her pieces, Black carried out a pawn break in the center, which turned out very risky. White replied with an interesting tactical operation, trading two minor pieces for a rook and two pawns. Formally the material was still equal, however, White got a clear advantage: Black’s pieces were badly coordinated, and her king became weak.

Soon White advanced the passed pawn, and her position became overwhelming. Stefanova got into a time trouble and was unable to defend perfectly. Instead of seeking the vital counterplay on the kingside, she decided to play passively, which turned out to be a decisive mistake. Ushenina converted her advantage flawlessly, not giving her opponent any hope. Black resigned on the 37th move.

By winning this game Anna Ushenina took the match lead – 2-1. The fourth game (and the last one with a classical time control) is scheduled on Friday, November 30th. Antoaneta Stefanova plays White and needs a win to stay in the match.

Report from Chessbase, on Games 1 through 3.  Includes (at the end of the article) a board where you can play-through Game 3.


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