Women’s European Championship, Chakvi (Geo) 21-05-2015 Position before Black’s 21st move. Something has gone wrong with the former Women’s World Champion’s opening and Stefanova now finds herself on the defensive. Probably she was now anticipating Black capturing the c-pawn and after 22.Rf1 try to get some counterplay based on her passed pawn.
A surprise shot! The White King suddenly becomes the target as Black’s pieces invade…
White really has no choice. Now apparently the absolute best ‘computer’ move is 22…Nb3, but Kashlinskaya stays loyal to her original idea…
Now tactical themes based on …Qb6+ and …Rc2+ come into play. White can not afford a single imprecision in the defence…
Attacking the Bishop on g2 If now 24.Bf1 Qc3! (threatening a check on e3) 25.Qf4 g5! 26.NxP Qc5+ etc. No better is 24.Bh1 Nf2! 25.Rdb1 Re1!! with forced mate! So White has little choice but to defend the Bishop:
Not a great place for the Queen, but the only move that allows White to put up meaningful resistance.
Forcing White’s next move. Note that 25.Rd4 goes off immediately to 25…Ng5!, when White’s pieces are overloaded
Just threatening to take the Knight on d4
If White plays 27.Kh1 (returning the extra piece, hoping to reorganize in the meantime) then 27…QxN 28.Rd1 Qf2! and the check on e1 will be decisive.
27.Qh4 would be answered the same way
Black cleverly uses multiple tactical themes to created threats and make progress. If now 28.BxR there would follow the forcing 28…QxN+ 29.Kg2 QxR (threatening mate on f1) 30.Bd3!? Qe5 31.Qc8+ Kg7 32.Qxb7 Qd4! 33.Be2 Ne4! and the Queen and Knight duo are unstoppable.
28.Qc8+ Kg7 29.Qc3!
And now the simplest winning plan is to simplify with 29…QxN+ 30.QxQ RxQ 31.Rd1 Kf6! when the ending offers no hope. (In the game Kashlinksaya played the less accurate 29…RxN , but won anyway in 64 moves.
Despite the 36-year old Stefanova having lost this game (round 3) she quickly recovered and now finds herself amongst the tournament leaders after 6 rounds with 4.5 points.