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Wesley So vs Yifan Hou
Tata Steel Masters (2015), Rotterdam NED, rd 5, Jan-15
Queen's Gambit Declined: Ragozin Defense (D38)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: clever how black keeps the loose white pawn on the board, using it as a shield.
Jan-15-15  MindCtrol9: Black had a good game and I think the attack to the white King had something more, my impression of course.
Jan-15-15  visayanbraindoctor: I think this is a remarkably energetic effort by GM So. From a defensive position, he turns around the middlegame and enters a long endgame where is tries every option to squeeze out a win. Note how he delays capturing Black's f3 pawn and prioritizes activating and centralizing his King, a classic endgame rule. Hou almost collapses but manages to find the right moves at the end.

I like it when So plays like this.

This is the first game So and Hou have played out of the Asian circuit. All their games have been drawn.

Jan-15-15  lainulo: wesley tried hard but the lady would not give him any opening to infiltrate her territory. Wesley had no choice but to soften his stance in the end.
Jan-15-15  iking: ANALYSIS by CRO777

cro777: The game Wesley So - Yifan Hou was a high quality chess! The Ragozin system (4...Nb4) is Hou's main weapon against the Queen's Gambit (she played more than 40 games in this variation). This system seems to be a positional opening like the Nimzo-Indian Defence, but at the same time it is rather ambitious. The players followed the game Aronian-Anand (Bilbao 2014) until move 14.Nb3.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg5 h6 <Recently, at the U.S. Chess League in the game of the week Lenderman against Wesley opted for 5...Nbd7 which is the main alternative >

6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.e3 0–0 8.Rc1 dxc4 9.Bxc4 c5 10.0–0 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Bd7 12.Ne4 Qe7 13.Qh5 Nc6 14.Nb3 Be8

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15.a3 <A tactical struggle begins!> f5 16.Qe2 Bxa3 17.bxa3 fxe4 18.Nc5 Ne5 19.Ba2 Nf3+ 20.Kh1 Qh4

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According to GM Alejandro Ramirez this was a strange game: "A Ragozin turned into a strange structure where Hou Yifan's attack on the kingside (which came out of nowhere) netted her an extra pawn, but with a dubious pawn structure."

21.gxf3 Bh5 22.Bxe6+ Kh8 23.Bg4 exf3 24.Qb2 Bxg4 25.Rg1 Rf7 26.Qd4?! <Wesley didn't respond quite accurately (the correct move was 26.Rc4) and now Hou's position is preferable> h5 27.Nd3 Rd8 28.Qe4 Qe7 29.Qxe7 Rxe7 30.Nf4 Kh7 31.Rc5 g6 32.h3 Bf5 33.Nxh5 Bxh3 34.Kh2 Bf5 35.Nf6+ Kh6 36.e4 Rf8 37.e5 b6 38.Rd5 Kg7 39.Kg3 Be6 40.Rh1 Bg8 41.Kf4 Rc8 42.Rd4 b5 43.Re1 a5 44.Kxf3 Rc3+ 45.Kf4 Rxa3 46.Nxg8 Kxg8 47.e6 Ra4?! <In time pressure Hou made a mistake. The rook exchange went to a worse endgame for Black> 48.Rxa4 bxa4

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The position seemed promising for Wesley. Excellent defensive play by Yifan Hou in a study-like endgame.

49.Ke5 Kg7 50.Kd6 Kf8 51.Rc1 Re8 52.Ke5 a3 53.Kf6 a2 54.Ra1 Rb8 55.f4 Rb4 56.f5 gxf5 57.Rxa2 Rh4 58.Rd2 Rh6+ 59.Ke5 Rh1 60.Kd6 Ke8 61.Rg2 Rd1+ 62.Ke5 Rh1 63.Rg6 Ke7 64.Rg7+ Ke8 65.Kf6 Rh6+ 66.Ke5 Rh1 ½–½


Jan-16-15  lennard0815: could it be possible, that the psychological side dosen't allows some kind of man, play accurat chess against woman? for me, So could have played better than he shows in this match!
Jan-16-15  1971: Very entertaining, flowing game. 14...Be8 and 15. a3 begin an aesthetic tactical sequence that went from kingside attack to a tense endgame. I wonder how far the players saw? Hou Yifan is a great talent and I'm looking forward to seeing more of Wesley So who has a nice intuitive feel for the game.
Jan-17-15  KingchecksQueen: Wesley was very careless with 15) a3 , instead of the obviously threatened Queen move. Unforgivable. He deserves to lose this game. This is a lesson for him.
Jan-17-15  shintaro go: Idiot. He almost won in the end if not for accurate defending by Black.
Jan-18-15  SugarDom: <KingchecksQueen: Wesley was very careless with 15) a3 , instead of the obviously threatened Queen move. Unforgivable. He deserves to lose this game. This is a lesson for him.>

What the heck are you talking about? 15.a3 is the top computer move.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pulo y Gata: This was a fine effort for both players with Hou launching a dangerous attack and Wesley parrying it to turn the tables later on-with equally admirable defensive resourcefulness from Hou. A very instructive game up to endgame.

Wesley spurned some drawing lines in the endgame and tried very hard to take the full point. This is the revelation about his play in this event, he is not just drawing "drawish" positions, he is squeezing for more. He has not achieved the level of Carlsen's grip, but he seems to be consciously heading to that direction. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, the old cliche goes, and Wesley is openly expressing his admiration of Carlsen's chess ("I have studied his games closely...He's my favorite player."), maybe he will reach the same level of endgame mastery or maybe surpass his idol? Time will tell.

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