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Thursday, 09 Jan 2020 15:44
WWCC Game 4: Ju Wenjun breaks the ice


The reigning Women's World Chess Champion scores the first win in the match. After four games, Ju Wenjun leads by 2½-1½ against Aleksandra Goryachkina. 

Gui Jinsong, director of Mass Sports Department of Shanghai Sports Bureau, and Liu Changle, party branch secretary of Shanghai Board and Card Games Administrative Center, made the first symbolic move in game 4.

Ju Wenjun, playing white, reverted to her usual 1.d4 and both players appeared to be well within their preparations in the ensuing Slav Defense. 

With the game moving so quickly, it remained unclear who was better prepared and who was bluffing by playing at a blistering pace. Aleksandra Goryachkina's unnatural 22...Kxf8 further illustrated the point of how comfortable and prepared she either was or wanted her opponent to believe.

Ju had an opportunity to increase pressure with a strong 26.Rc6, but chose to exchange the rooks, opting for playing a pleasant endgame with just queens and bishops. The white queen dominated the board on white squares, while black had to be patient and careful.

The game seemed to be heading toward another draw but then Goryachkina—not content with sitting back—unadvisedly exchanged bishops on move 34, creating a long-term weakness on c5.

In the ensuing endgame, Black had to find a precise plan of defense, such as advancing her f-pawn to f5. Goryachkina wasn’t able to find it, and Ju Wenjun, despite some hesitation was able to calculate the precise moment to exchange queens and transposed into a winning pawn ending.

After the game, Goryachkina said that she lost the thread of the game, but she couldn’t quite pinpoint exactly where and accepted that her position just kept getting worse and she couldn't recover.

Ju was happy and relieved to finally get the full point, and praised Goryachkina's valiant defense.

Tomorrow (Friday), is a rest day. Play will be resumed on Saturday, January 10, with the 5th game of the match.

Official website: https://wwcm2020.fide.com

Text: Michael Friedman

Photos: Zhang Yanhong, Lewis Liu, Michael Friedman

Contact: press@fide.com

Photos in high resolution are available for the press at our official Flickr account.