Tan Beats Goryachkina, Qualifies For Women’s Candidates Final

Tan Beats Goryachkina, Qualifies For Women's Candidates Final


GM Tan Zhongyi defeated GM Aleksandra Goryachkina on Saturday in the fourth game of their Women’s Candidates semifinal in Khiva, Uzbekistan. In doing so, Tan qualified for an all-Chinese final vs. GM Lei Tingjie, which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2023.

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You can watch the 2022-2023 FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament on our Twitch channel. Games from the event can be viewed on our events page.

Pool B’s semifinal of the Women’s Candidates Tournament saw an identical scenario as the one in Pool A a month ago, where the first three games were drawn and then the player with the white pieces decided matters, just before a tiebreak would kick in. And again, it was the Chinese player who prevailed.

It came somewhat unexpected, as both players had been showing extremely solid chess up to that point. The day before, they had drawn a very quiet game that started as Bogo-Indian (3.Nf3 Bb4+). Goryachkina, likely caught off-guard, chose a healthy but not overly ambitious setup for her pieces which allowed Tan to completely equalize by move 20. In the second half of the game, not much happened.

Afterward, Goryachkina said: “I don’t have much to say. Indeed, she played very quickly, but if I am unable to cause any problems, there is not much to think about.”

Aleksandra Goryachkina chess
Aleksandra Goryachkina. Photo: Timur Sattarov/FIDE.

Saturday’s game started with the Cambridge-Springs Variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined, and also here, Black seemed absolutely fine out of the opening. A fourth draw, leading to a tiebreak on Sunday, seemed imminent.

But then the key moment for the whole match. Goryachkina spent a bit under four minutes for her completely natural 17…Rac8 move, which happened to be a novelty as well. Just five minutes later, Tan demonstrated that there was a problem with it: she played the excellent 18.c5! and suddenly all the tactics worked in her favor.

Goryachkina had to give a piece for two pawns, and she could temporarily shut down Tan’s bishop on the kingside, but the Chinese GM decided the game in her favor surprisingly quickly.

After a Chinese B team won the World Team Championship recently, it’s yet another big success for China. With two Chinese players in the final, and a Chinese reigning champion, the women’s world title has been secured for at least another three years.

Tan Zhongyi Aleksandra Goryachkina
The start of game four, won by Tan Zhongyi. Photo: Timur Sattarov/FIDE.

The 2022-23 Women’s Candidates Tournament is an elite event featuring eight top female players, who compete in a knockout format for a share of the €250,000 prize fund and the right to play in the Women’s World Championship match against Women’s World Champion Ju Wenjun.

Pool A was won by GM Lei TingjiePool B took place November 29-December 10, 2022 in Khiva, Uzbekistan. The prize fund was 70,000 euros, while another 110,000 will be at stake in next year’s final. The time control was 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. A draw offer before move 40 was not allowed.

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