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Women's World Chess Championship 2016 match Mariya Muzychuk vs Hou Yifan

by Boris Schipkov

The Women's World Chess Championship 2016 match Mariya Muzychuk versus Hou Yifan took place in Lviv (Ukraine) 1st-17th March. 10 games.
Hou Yifan is the Women's World Chess Champion. Mariya Muzychuk - Hou Yifan 3-6. Ten games were planned, but Hou Yifan got 6 points in 9 games, therefore the match ended after nine games. The winner of the match is the first player to reach 5.5 out of 10 scores.
World Champion Hou Yifan with the crown, gold medal and cup Hou Yifan, Closing Ceremony, Lviv 2016
World Champion Hou Yifan with the crown, gold medal and cup, the Closing Ceremony, 17th March 2016. Photos by Vitaliy Hrabar

Game 9: Hou-Muzychuk 1-0. The Sicilian Defence, the first time in the match. Yifan chose a calm line 10.f3. White had a slight advantage. 28.g3! was a strong move. After 37.Kf2 Hou Yifan had a big edge in the endgame due to the powerful c5 and d5 pawns, and won the game.
Hou Yifan vs Mariya Muzychuk, Game 9 and Photos: Women's World Chess Championship, Lviv 2016

Game 8: Muzychuk-Hou 1/2. An original opening after 1.d4, 3.g3, 4...b5. Mariya seized the centre with 13.e4 and obtained a small advantage. A draw in 44 moves.
Mariya Muzychuk vs Hou Yifan, Game 8: Women's World Chess Championship, Lviv 2016

Game 7: Hou-Muzychuk 1/2. The Spanish Game, again the Open Variation. Yifan preferred 9.Nbd2. White had slightly better chances in the ending due to the better pawn structure. But after the dubious 51.b4?! (51.Rf3= was better) Black grabbed a pawn in the rook endgame and tried to win. A draw in 81 moves.
Mariya Muzychuk vs Hou Yifan, Game 7: Women's World Chess Championship, Lviv 2016

Game 6: Muzychuk-Hou 0-1. The Italian Game. Mariya played 7.Bg5 (7.h3 in game 1). 10...Nh5 is a novelty, unclear. But after 11.a4 a6 we see the position from the game Jakovenko-Bok, Gibraltar Masters 2015. 14.Ne3 is a novelty, Mariya sacrificed a pawn, but Yifan preferred 14...Ne7 to control the d5 and f5 squares, with counterplay. Better were 18...Nxg3, and 19.f6! to take the g4-pawn and free the knight. White had a small edge in the middlegame. But in the endgame Black was better, because White's knight was on the rim. Mariya made a mistake, 33.Bc2? and lost after 33...exf3! and 35...f2!.
Mariya Muzychuk vs Hou Yifan, Game 6: Women's World Chess Championship, Lviv 2016

Game 5: Hou-Muzychuk 1/2. Interesting. Yifan preferred 1.c4, the English Opening. 8...Na6 is a novelty, with counterplay. The endgame was drawn.
Hou Yifan vs Mariya Muzychuk, Game 5 and Photos: Women's World Chess Championship, Lviv 2016

Game 4: Hou-Muzychuk 1/2. The Spanish Game, again the Open Variation as in game 2. Yifan preferred 9.c3 (9.Be3 in game 2). A sharp fight! 13...Nxd4! is a novelty, unclear. In the game Caruana - Wei Yi, Wijk aan Zee 2016 Black played 13...Qd7. Mariya sacrificed two bishops! However, a draw by perpetual check.
Hou Yifan vs Mariya Muzychuk, Game 4 and Photos: Women's World Chess Championship, Lviv 2016

Mariya Muzychuk against Hou Yifan, Game 3, Women's World Chess Championship
Before the match: Women's World Chess Champion Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine, Challenger Hou Yifan of China (Ex World Champion). Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar

Game 3: Muzychuk-Hou 1/2. Surprise! Mariya played 1.d4, but Yifan was ready for this. The Catalan Opening. The position after 16...Nhf6 was in the game Wen Yang - Yu Yangyi, CHN-chT 2014, a draw in 21 moves. 17.a4 is a novelty. White had a slight advantage. A draw in 36 moves.
Mariya Muzychuk vs Hou Yifan, Game 3 and Photos: Women's World Chess Championship, Lviv 2016

Game 2: Hou-Muzychuk 1-0. The Spanish Game, a theoretical duel in the Open Variation. 15...Rad8 is a novelty. White had two bishops. Better were 16.Bg3, 17...Na5, 26.Rf1, 27...Bxg3. Yifan obtained a small advantage with the strong 18.Bg3, with the idea of f3-f4-f5 with the initiative on the kingside. White attacked with 25.f5 and won.
Hou Yifan vs Mariya Muzychuk, Game 2: Women's World Chess Championship, Lviv 2016

A press conference after the game: Mariya Muzychuk and Hou Yifan. Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar
A press conference after the game 1: Mariya Muzychuk and Hou Yifan. Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar
"Beautiful girl, you're a lovely picture
Beautiful girl, you're a gorgeous mixture..."
"They may be blondes or brunettes
They are hard to resist
You surpass them like a queen..."
A song from the movie "Singin' in the Rain", "Beautiful girl" by Nacio Herb Brown (music) and by Arthur Freed (text).

Game 1, March 2nd, 2016: Muzychuk-Hou 1/2. The Italian Game. Mariya thought and played 6.c3, then seized space on the queenside with 18.b4. But Yifan had sufficient counterplay. The rivals traded pieces, had only queens and pawns in the endgame. A draw.
Mariya Muzychuk vs Hou Yifan, Game 1 and Photos: Women's World Chess Championship, Lviv 2016

The Opening Ceremony, Lviv Opera House, 1st March 2016.
Women's World Chess Championship Mariya Muzychuk vs Hou Yifan, Lviv 2016. Opening Ceremony
Schedule, games: March 2, 3; 5,6; 8,9; 11,12; 14; 16; tie-break 18, Potocki Palace. The Closing Ceremony, 17th March 2016.
Games WWCC 2016 MH (9, pgn)
All Games of the Women's World Chess Championship 2016 Mariya Muzychuk vs Hou Yifan
The time control: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.
Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine, born September 21, 1992) is the 15th Women's World Chess Champion. Hou Yifan (China, born February 27, 1994) is the 13th Women's World Chess Champion.
Site: http://lviv2016.fide.com/

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© 2000-2016 Boris Schipkov