The Women’s World Championship in Tehran is nearing its climax with one finalist already known – GM Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine. Her sister, Mariya, who chose not to enter as a result of the hijab controversy, said that she respected her sister’s decision to take part as it had always been her dream to be world champion. In football terms she is now only one game away from achieving this but in this tournament that one game might in reality be nine….If she has any advantage over her opponent in the final, it will be in the number of games played. In none of her matches hitherto has Anna been stretched beyond the classical format including a 2-0 victory in the semi-final. On the other hand, one of her possible opponents, WGM Tan Zhongyi of China, has already played twenty-one games of various lengths including victory in an armageddon finish in Round 2 and a 1.5-0.5 win over the favourite Ju Wenjun in the quarter-final. Her semi-final match with GM Harika Dronavalli of India is tied at 1-1 after the two classical games. Harika herself has had no easier time, having played twenty games so far with the prospect of another possible seven before either player reaches the final. On that basis you have to fancy Anna’s chances although you can’t question Harika’s resilience. Having lost the first game in the semi-final and knowing a draw in the second would not be enough, she was faced with having to win a knight and bishop ending. If you want to see how to achieve this but don’t fancy playing through 162 moves, you might want to start the following game at White’s move 116 when Black gives up her last piece and the fun begins.
White: Harika Dronavalli (2539) Black: Tan Zhongyi (2502)
Women’s World Championship 2017