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IMG 6379Grandmaster Evgeny Miroshnichenko reviews the last two games of the final.

Pogonina – Muzychuk
Game 3

It was obvious that Pogonina was better prepared. But it seems that the position goes to this new sharp line. Pogonina was playing these sharp moves very quickly. She seemed to be certain what she was playing. Muzychuk looked like she was choosing what to play: this line or that line.

Still I think 20.Qe3 instead of 20.Qe1 should be played. I did not check with computer yet, but it looked like it was better option. Then slowly black had got first comfortable position and then outplayed her opponent.

Natalia Pogonina: Tiredness begins to accumulate
 MG 5226Anastasia Karlovich: Natalia, it seems your preparation today was very deep. What was the last move you studied at home?

Natalia Pogonina: Yes, it was quite deep, however, I did not remember anything after 19...Ne4 20.Qe1. When you do a lot of preparation, it is easy to forget certain lines.

This is why I did not find the most principled moves. I should check where it went wrong when I return to my room. My knight got stuck on h3 and I could not bring it back. In the endgame my position was dangerous, but we eventually made a draw.

Mariya Muzychuk: It was a difficult game
IMG 5675Anastasia Karlovich: Mariya, tell us please about the game and how deep was your opening preparation.

Mariya Muzychuk: It was a difficult game with unbalanced material – three pawns for a piece. I did not expect 11.Ng5 from Natalia, as she never played it before, and I had to recall everything at the board. It took about half an hour, but I think I did not forget anything.

19.Nh3 was a first new move for me, I only examined 19.Nf3 previously. So I was out of my book, but I think my position was quite good. Three pawns should be enough for a piece.

The third game of the World Championship final match is drawn
IMG 5691The score is now 2-1 in Muzychuk's favor

The third game of the Women's World Chess Championship final match was played in the SCC Galactica (Sochi, Krasnaya Polyana) on April 4.

Natalia Pogonina had White. The players repeated their opening from the first game – the Meran variation of the Slav defense. On the move 11 White deviated from their previous encounter, implementing a modern and very aggressive plan. However, it did not surprise Mariya Muzychuk, who rather quickly selected the sharpest continuation, sacrificing a piece for three pawns.

White's maneuvers in the complicated middlegame between moves 20 and 30 were not very successful. For example, on the move 26 she had the tempting а2-а4 with the idea of transferring the queenside rook to the kingside with a stable advantage. Having missed several promising continuations, Pogonina ended up in an unpleasant and passive position.

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Muzychuk energetically developed the initiative. Utilizing weakened light squares in White's camp, she activated a rook and created a strong passed pawn. Pogonina managed to trade the queens, finally releasing her idle knight, and created central play to counter the a-pawn advance. On the 45th move White finally moved her knight for the first time in almost 30 moves.

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Soon the game simplified to a rook ending with an extra pawn for Black. It was drawn objectively, but White needed to play accurately. Pogonina made one mistake, but Muzychuk did not utilize it, and the game was drawn on the move 67.

The score is now 2-1 in favor of the Ukrainian. The fourth game is played on Sunday, April 5 at 3 pm Moscow time. Mariya Muzychuk has White.

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The final match consists of four games. If the score after four games is tied, the winner is determined on tie-break with quicker time controls.

Live stream with grandmaster commentary is available in two languages (Russian and English) on the official site of the championship ( and the Russian Chess Federation website (

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The players surprise each other
IMG_6164Grandmaster Sergey Rublevsky reviews the first two games of the final.

Pogonina – Muzychuk
Game 1

In this game we saw a fashionable line of the anti-Meran, quite a safe option for Black. Mariya made a new move 16…Be6; before that everybody played 16…Nd7, as far as I know. 16…Be6 is also okay, but is does not create new problems for White.

After Mariya retreated her bishop to c8 on the move 22, White got an advantage. Natalia had a very interesting idea 23.Nc1, intending to bring the knight to с5 and block the black pawns.

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