Game 2: All quiet on the Far Eastern Front

Playing While, Ju Wenjun (China), a 1.d4 player, surprised her opponent with 1.e4. In the ensuing Berlin variation of the Spanish Opening, Aleksandra Goryachkina (Russia) achieved comfortable play after producing a novelty on move: 12.c6.

However, very quickly black appeared to have gone astray with 16. Bg5, giving white an opportunity for dynamic play with 18. g4, which Ju chose not to do, instead exchanging Queens and some pieces. Perhaps, both players are feeling the impact of yesterday's marathon 97-move game and are going for simpler, safer options. A quiet draw seemed inevitable and was agreed on at move 40, after three-fold repetition.


Goryachkina's ability to easily equalize in her first black game, further cemented her position as a formidable challenger.

After the game, Ju Wenjun felt satisfied with the result, believing that black came out well after the opening.


The players will enjoy tomorrow a rest day. The match will be resumed on January 8 with the third game, where Aleksandra Goryachkina will have the white pieces.

Zhao Guangsheng, Deputy General Director of Shanghai Sports Ministry, together with the Grandmaster Nigel Short, FIDE Vice-President, made the first symbolic move of Game 2.


Text: Michael Friedman
Photos: Zhang Yanhong, Lewis Liu, Michael Friedman
Photos in high resolution are available for the press at our official Flickr account.