WGM Hou Yifan (2557) - GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (2510)
WCC Final ,Game 3, 16.09.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.h3
This time Hou Yifan choose the more usual and establish anti Marshal . In game 1 he choose the less popular 8.a3 and lost terribly. If white play 8.c3, he will probably faced the famous Marshall Attack with 8...d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 where black sacrifice a pawn for active play. White usually have problem on d3 square whereas on the Anti Marshall 8.h3 - the d3 square is not weak.
8...Bb7 9.d3 d5 Black still play the ...d5 push anyway. However i think with white already play h3 and d3, the move is not so dangerous and inf fact, black pawn sacrifice may prove insufficient. However after done some checking, i found that Levon Aronian played this move against Grischuk in the 3rd round of he 2007 World Championship in Mexico City,...so it must be good ! 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxe5 Grischuk played 11.c3!? in the aforementioned game 11...Nd4 the main point is that after 11.Nxe5 Black does not capture on e5 -as what always happen in the Marshall Attack)but play 11...Nd4! 12.Nd2 probably a new move. Theory gave 12. Nc3 or 12.Nf3 as the main line 12... Re8 13.c3 Nxb3 14.Nxb3 c5 15.Qh5 g6 16.Qf3 f6 17.Nxg6!? This is not really a sacrifice because white will get back the piece after 18.c4 . The good thing about the sacrifice is White has create serious weakness in black king side pawns. 17... hxg6 18.c4 Qd7 19.cxd5 Bxd5 20.Qg3 g5 21.Be3 Rac8 The live connectioned on ICC is having a problem i think. The move stuck here for a long time. Now i'm following the game fro the official site 22.Qg4 Qxg4 23.hxg4 Bd6 24.Rac1 Kf7 25.Nd2 Be5 26.Rc2 Be6 27.Ne4 c4 28.dxc4 Rxc4 29.Rxc4 bxc430.Rd1 ?! a passive move. Now white will certainly lost her b pawn. White should have play 30.Bd4 Bxg4 31.Nxg5+ Kg6 (31...fxg5 32.Bxe5) 32.Bxe5 fxe5 33.Ne4 Rb8 34.b3 cxb3 35.axb3 Rxb3 36.Nc5 31...Rb8 32.b3 cxb3 33.axb3 Rxb3
Now white has serious problem. Black have a strong passed pawn on a file and the bishop pairs. I think at this point, Yifan should think how to draw the game. 34.f3 Bxd4+ 35.Rxd4 Be6 36.Rd6 a5 37.Nc5 Rb1+ 38.Kf2 Bf5 39.Ra6 Rb5 40.Ne4 Bxe4 41.fxe4 The first time control have just been reached. Yifan probably have to take a break, wash her face and think how to draw this endgame! 41...Rb2+ 42.Kf3 Ra2 43.Kg3? 43.Ke3 is nessecary 43...a4 44.Kf3 a3 45.Kg3
Ra1 46.Kh2 a2 47.Kg3 Ke7 48.Kh2 Kd7 49.Kg3 Kc7 50.Kh2 Kb7 51.Ra3 Kb6 52.Ra8 Kb5 53.Rb8+ Kc4 54.Ra8 Kd4 55.Ra4+ Kd3 56.Kg3 Ke3 57.Kh2 Kf4 White is in zugzwang, she has to give the e4 pawn ! However, according to endgame theory, in a rook + pawns vs rook + pawns endings where one side has an extra outside passed pawn and his rook is infront of the pawn, the win is much more problematic - Batsford Chess Endings.
58.e5+ Kxe5 59.g4 Kd5 60.Kg2 Kc5 61.Ra8 White king have to remain in g2 or h1 because after 61.Kf2?? Rh1 62.Rxa2 Rh2+ the skewer ; or 61.Kf3 Rf1+ 62.Ke2 a1=Q winning 61...Kb4 62.Ra6 Kc4 63.Ra3 Kd4 64.Ra6 Ke5 65.Ra4 Ke6 66.Ra8 Ke5 67.Ra4 Re1 68.Rxa2 Kf4 69.Rf2+ Kxg4 70.Rxf6 Re2+ 71.Kg1 Kg3 72.Rf1 ½-1/2 a "lucky draw" for Hou Yi Fan !!!
photo from kosteniuk.com