Goryachkina wins and leads FIDE Women's World Championship Match 2020
Aleksandra Goryachkina beat Ju Wenjun for the second time in FIDE Women's World Championship Match 2020 and for the first time she has taken the lead. The score is now 4½-3½. Goryachkina playing with white pieces opted for QGD Exchange variation. The Challenger Goryachkina played aggressively in the middlegame and the defending champion played quite passively. Ju's defence proved to be futile as Goryachkina created a center passed pawn after neutralizing black's center passed pawn with ease. With four games to go and the second stage being held in Russia, all signs seem to point towards the Challenger. She was able to make a comeback immediately after suffering a loss, can Ju do the same? Photo: Eteri Kublashvili / FIDE
Goryachkina leads the event for the first time
Aleksandra Goryachkina wins the 8th game and leads the Women's World Chess Championship by one point: 4½-3½. The World Champion Ju Wenjun only has four games left to overturn the score and retain her title..
Regardless of the outcome, it has become increasingly clear that Goryachkina is punching above her rating. In this match, she has demonstrated grit, patience, and perseverance of a 2600+ player. Will it be enough to become the next World Champion?
In today's QGD Exchange variation, Ju Wenjun, playing Black, opted for the unorthodox 8...Ne4.
Goryachkina - Ju, Game 8
It is unclear why Ju went for this line. At the press conference, Ju admitted that after 17.dxc5 she felt that the game was getting out of hand and she struggled to come up with an equalizing plan.
Goryachkina continued to push, while black seemed to always go for safer, more passive options when presented with an option to either play intuitively or defend. A good example of this was 25... Qg7, protecting a dead-weight h-pawn, instead of a much more dynamic and intuitive 25...Nd7 — a reflection of how Ju has played this match.
Game after game, around move 30, Ju has a choice between going with her gut and intuition, she seems to be choosing a much safer, less opportunistic option.
Presented with a golden opportunity, Goryachkina played extremely accurately. She was not perfect: 32.b5! would have ended the game on the spot, before the time control.
Nevertheless, 32.Be4 was good enough and Aleksandra was still winning. Goryachkina felt that after 37.e6 this was a game she was not going to let go.
The next game is a test for Goryachkina. For the first time in the match, she is now the hunted. The hunter, suddenly, this is her World Championship to lose. In a huge psychological shift, we will now see what Goryachkina is truly made of. Will she be nervous? How will today's result impact her opening preparation? What about Ju? Does she have it in her to play winning chess? A player known for aggressive, tactical brilliance, how will she react to being four games away from losing her title?
Game 9 will take place on January 19 at 3:30 p.m. local time, 11:00 a.m. IST
Source: FIDE Press Release
Live games and commentary
The games are slated to start at 15:30 local time, which is 11 a.m. IST. The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game plus 30 seconds per move, starting from with move one. Agreed draws before move 40 are not allowed.
Replay all games