05 July 2014

Commentary: Lopota Women's Grand Prix - Round 3

Going backwards in time a short while from the round 5 trio of English games, in round 3 of the Lopota Women's Grand Prix we see Antoaneta Stefanova on the Black side of an unusual and unbalanced Slav.  White's 4th move choice cannot be recommended on its merits, but it is a decent try at a surprise move designed to avoid regular book lines.  The database shows that it appears to have been used this way a number of times in the past, with success largely predicated on a large rating gap in White's favor.  In this case, it did not work out so well for White.

Before fully getting out of the opening phase, Zhao Xue decides to enter into a series of complications, allowing Black's queen to take the rook on a1 in the hopes of trapping it.  However, White's pieces are awkwardly placed and Black is able to extricate herself in the end, keeping the exchange as her reward.  Black then makes the decision to exchange off her minor pieces, freeing her king and allowing her to mobilize her extra rook.  White's attempt to make progress with her passsed b-pawn comes to naught and Black's king triumphantly penetrates to escort her a-pawn to victory.

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