Game 11: Calm before the storm

Game 11 of the Women's World Championship Match ends in a draw after 40 moves. Defending champion Ju Wenjun is leading 6-5. In the final game on Jan 23, the challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina has White in a must-win situation.

With just two games remaining in the match, World Champion Ju Wenjun (playing white) today had a decision to make. Go for everything and finish Goryachkina off, or save some much-needed energy, and play calm and confident winning chess.

Goryachkina, who prior to losing Games 9 & 10, had not lost consecutive games in nearly two years, was not sure what her opponent would do either.


All of these questions were very quickly resolved. By move 20, the only intrigue left in the game was how quickly will the players reach the obligatory 40 moves. They managed to achieve this in just over an hour — by far the quickest game of this match. The first 10 games averaged 67 moves and nearly all were well into the fifth hour of play.


After the game, Goryachkina said that the rest day helped restore some much-needed equilibrium.

Game 12 Notes:

  • Playing white, Goryachkina needs a win to force tie-breaks.
  • Ju has had major problems with black the whole match. If this pattern continues, Goryachkina should be able to have serious chances to equalize.
  • Last game heroics aren't new to World Championship Matches. In modern history, Kramnik vs. Leko (2004), and more famously Kasparov vs. Karpov (1987) both ended in dramatic decisive games.


Text: Michael Friedman
Photos: Eteri Kublashvili & Michael Friedman
Photos in high resolution are available for the press at our official Flickr account.