Chess: Xie Jun on track to keep her title

Click to follow
XIE JUN of China, the women's world champion, is well on course to retain her title, having begun with two wins against her challenger, Nana Joseliani.

The second game was a model strategic win, carrying out a subtle plan with remorseless logic.

With 8. a4 and 9. a5, White inhibits Black's usual Q-side advance. As a side-effect, White's a-pawn needs protection and Black is given the chance to play the conventional freeing move of d5, but pursuing that goal was perhaps her first mistake.

After spending four moves preparing d5, she found herself obliged to concede the bishop pair as soon as she played it. After that, White Q- side space, pawn majority on that wing and bishop pair formed the foundations of victory.

Black's game was always difficult, but 30 . . . Rd7 was a mistake. If Black is to obtain any counterplay with her own pawns, she needs the rook to support them.

Once rooks were off the board, White's winning plan was easier to conduct without distraction. Black's 37 . . . Nb8 lessened her possibilities of resisting. It is easy to see why she thought the knight more active on d7, but keeping it on c6 would have held up the pawns more effectively.

White ended the game in powerful style. 41. Kxb5] and 42. c5] set up the finish and 46. Ba6 completed it. Black must lose her bishop for the c-pawn, and her game is hopeless.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Xie Jun ----------------------------------------------------------------- Black: N Joseliani ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 e4 c5 24 Rd1 Rxd1+ 2 Nf3 d6 25 Kxd1 Rc8 3 d4 cxd4 26 Re1 Kf7 4 Nxd4 Nf6 27 Kc1 g6 5 Nc3 a6 28 f3 Re8 6 Be3 e5 29 Rd1 Re7 7 Nf3 Qc7 30 b4 Rd7 8 a4 Be7 31 Rxd7+ Bxd7 9 a5 0-0 32 Kd2 Be6 10 Be2 Nc6 33 Bd3 Ke8 11 Bb6 Qd7 34 Bc5 Kd7 12 Nd2 Nb4 35 Be2 Kc7 13 Na4 d5 36 c4 Bc8 14 c3 Nc6 37 Kc3 Nb8 15 Nc5 Bxc5 38 b5 Nd7 16 Bxc5 Re8 39 Be7 b6 17 Bf3 dxe4 40 Kb4 axb5 18 Nxe4 Qxd1+ 41 Kxb5 bxa5 19 Kxd1 Rd8+ 42 c5 Nb8 20 Ke1 Nxe4 43 Bd6+ Kb7 21 Bxe4 f5 44 Bxb8 Kxb8 22 Bc2 Be6 45 Kb6 Be6 23 Bb6 Rd7 46 Ba6 1-0 -----------------------------------------------------------------