Still no score in Khanty Mansysk


Spectators were greeted with a disappointing 17-move draw in game 2 of the womens' world championship final in Khanty Mansysk today. Both Stefanova and Ushenina spent a lot of time in the opening, and just at the moment when play should really have begun, they suddenly agreed a draw. The score is 1:1. 


Maybe the sense of responsibility brought both players to earth. Both have experimented in the opening, trying to catch one anotehr out. Thus, today, for practically the first time in her life, Antoaneta played the Slav Gambit, and Ushenina refrained from the principled 4...dxe4. Soon, the board resembled a position from the Noteboom, but the ex-world champion found nothing better than 11.Qg5, remaining all tension from the position.

Black castled, took on e4 and did not experience any problems at all. In addition, after 13...Nd6 the "bad bishop on c3" could have come into play. But she chose the accurate 13...Qc7 and 14...a4, which gave White a "Hamlet moment" - to castle or not to castle. Stefanova did not find the answer to thsi question, and after another long think, she accepted Ushenina's draw offer. 

But wasn't it a bit early? After 18.0-0 Bxf3 19.gxf3 Nd7 20.Bb5 Nb6 21.Qb3 Rd8 Black has enough play for a pawn, whilst White has no ideas with which to play for a win. It seems that Stefanova's opening choice was not very successful. 

Tomorrow is the third game, the last time Ushenina will have the white pieces..


(Text by Evgeny Atarov)