«You will win! If you need a draw, you'll win!» – a not quite logical, but pertinent observation of Miguel Najdorf.


How should you play when you have to win, and with Black? And that is only the first step - even if you climb that mountain, you have to do it again in the following game. And then, on top of all that, there are two more games to come, albeit only rapid games, where again you have to win one at least. I won't say it is impossible, as even in our dry and rational times, miracles do happen. One only needs to recall the final of the 2015 World Cup between Karjakin and Svidler. 

Masha (Marichka to her countrymen) Muzychuk is a very cheerful, positive person, but who could not feel the pressure on their shoulders? The many-time match and world championship winner slept soundly before Game 9, of course, but like a true champion, she had to be ready for a real battle in the last couple of games. 

So the game begins…

In Game 9, the Lvov team decided to change the record. We got a long-awaited Sicilian. After the obligatory build-up, the two armies began advancing on opposite sides of the board. …

Hou Yifan - Muzychuk

22.c4 g4 23.b4 f4

The forces meet! But whereas the majority of the white pieces are ready for the clash, Black is attacking with only her pawns. Later, Yifan controlled the position, never for a moment losing concentration, and never giving her opponent the slightest chance. And when Maria weakened her defences in the hope of counterplay, the white pawns advanced to the prize squares. 

42.d7 Rd8 43.c6 bxc6 44. Bxa6 c5 45.Bb7 c4 46.a6 Black resigned (1:0).

6:3. Hou Yifan wins with a game to spare. Finis? «How to say» – All of the Ukrainian fans and supporters of Maria Muzychuk are sure this is only the end of Act One. She wants revenge! 

Material: Sergey Kim