Kosteniuk and Hou in the WWCC final Print
Friday, 12 September 2008 19:40

Koneru had the courage and determination to repeat the Spanish Breyer variation in the first tie break game today. However, she cleverly diverted from the previous c5 and Nh5 moves and selected a continuation with Re8. When Hou closed the center with 16 d5, Koneru got a chance to take the initiative by pushing with 17...c6. Nearing the final phase of the game, the time pressure has been increased - first of all on Koneru. She let the White Queen to break into the Black camp 34 h4 h5 35. Qf3 Ke7 (here Bd4 could have prevented Qe3) 36. Qe3 Qd4 37 Qh6 Be4 and misplaced her King with 38 Qh7 Kd6? (Ke8 ensures the draw) 39.c5 and White won.

In the second rapid game, both players had time troubles although it was more threatening to Hou. Under time pressure, Hou made the first mistake. Although Koneru had many chances to win rather quickly, she has not found immediately the best move (Qc6) and the time trouble reached her, too. Finally with only a few seconds left on both sides, she closed the game with mating her Chinese opponent.

While Hou Yifan (China) easily won the first Blitz game in Queen Indian with Black after Koneru made a mistake, the second Blitz brought a more intense fight until the 25th move. Koneru was to play for winning and took some risky actions which were defended by her opponent. White made a "typical" Blitz game move 23 Bc5 (instead of the better Nf6) and the game followed 23... Bg5 24 Qb4 Be3 25 Kh1 and Black seemingly refused the attack. However, Koneru made another blunder with 25...Qh4?? (while Bc5 equalizes). Thereafter, the young Chinese girl was unstoppable and won the right to play in the final at 41st move.

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