Improved Display By Muzychuk
By Arvind Aaron
Champion Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine put an improved display to draw World No.1 and challenger Hou Yifan of China in the World Women’s Chess Championship at Lviv on March 6, 2016. Like in game two which the Chinese won, game four also saw the same Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez.
Hou Yifan of China varied on move nine from game two and met with a sharp prepared line from the Ukrainian player. First, Mariya, as black opened the king side, then sacrificed minor pieces. Finally, she sacrificed a rook to earn a draw in 21 moves that came by repetition.
This strong preparation could leave the Chinese packing into a new opening option from game six. However, on March 8, 2016 Mariya herself gets white. Opening theory is the main strength of the players in the Soviet region and this could be the game that could turn the match around.
The new twist in the fourth game could help the host player to look up with hope although she is in a 1.5-2.5 deficit with six games still to be played in the match.