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Composure is the key
RublevskyGrandmaster Sergey Rublevsky, the official commentator on the Russian stream, reviews the Semifinals of the World Championship in Sochi.

I started my live commentary during the Semifinals and was honestly surprised by the quality of play on the first day. I have no idea how the players regained energy after exhausting tie-breaks.

On the next two days the level of chess started to deteriorate quickly, which was inevitable sooner or later. Let us start in chronological order.

Both matches were hard-fought and were decided on tie-break, but took different routes to reach that stage.

Mariya Muzychuk: Is this really my happy day?!
 MG 5001The young Ukrainian Mariya Muzychuk became the second finalist of the World Championship, defeating Harika Dronavalli 2.5-1.5. Despite visible tiredness she agreed to give an interview to the official site.

Anastasia Karlovich: Mariya, congratulations with getting to the final! Was it a hard day?

Mariya Muzychuk: All my tie-breaks were hard, and not only here. I never have easy tie-breaks! Today it started well, I won the first game as Black and thought it would be easier with White. However, my opponent surprised me with her opening, so I had to trade one of my bishops, spent a lot of time and miscalculated in an unclear position.

– Did you have an advantage at some point during that game?

– I am sure I did, and maybe it was a pretty big advantage, but it is hard to play perfectly when you don't have time.

Natalia Pogonina: One needs very good nerves to endure it
IMG 5543The last Russian participant of the World Championship defeated Pia Cramling on tie-break and will now play in the final match for the chess crown. We met Natalia shortly after her dramatic victory in the second rapid game.

– Natalia, congratulations with advancing to the final match! Could you tell us please how you managed to defeat Pia?

– I did not expect the move order that happened in the first game, and after 9.e4 was playing on my own. I knew the general ideas, but not the concrete lines.

My trainer told me later that she could sacrifice a pawn with a big advantage. I saw that sacrifice, but thought, well, I will consolidate and defend somehow, and a pawn is a pawn... But she didn't go for it, and then there was the move repetition and a draw.

Pia Cramling: I am very happy before each next match
21168 468401959973570 1205485606980528021 nPia Cramling was eliminated in the semifinal of the Women's World Championship, but is still happy with her overall performance and the choice of the venue.

With emotions still running high minutes after finishing the tie-break, Pia started talking about the games even before we had a chance to start the recorder.

Pia Cramling: You know, in the first game I made some mistake, and the position immediately became equal. Maybe when she played 9...b6, I should not take on d5, this was my mistake.

Goran Urosevic: Maybe e4 was very ambitious?

Pia Cramling: Perhaps, I don't know. But it’s possible to play 9.e4. Just 9...b6 I have not seen before. So she surprised me and I made mistake.

Natalia Pogonina (Russia) and Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine) will meet in the final match of the World Chess Championship in Sochi
 MG 4853The tie-breaks of the Women's World Chess Championship Semifinals were played in SCC Galactica (Sochi, Krasnaya Polyana) on March 31.

The matches Pia Cramling (Sweden) – Natalia Pogonina (Russia) and Harika Dronavalli (India) – Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine) continued with quicker time controls following 1-1 draws after the first two classical games.

In their first 25-minute game Cramling and Pogonina continued the theoretical discussion in the Queen's Gambit started in the first classical game. The Swedish player was first to deviate and got a slightly better game. Later, however, Cramling hesitated and gave Pogonina time to rearrange pieces. Realizing that she is losing the initiative, Cramling forced a draw by move repetition.

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