Magnus Carlsen salvages win against women’s world champion Hou Yifan at Tata Steel chess 2015
Magnus Carlsen takes advantage of a slip to record his fourth win in a row at the 2015 Tata Steel chess tournament against women’s world champion Hou Yifan

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen


The seventh-round battle at Tata Steel between world championMagnus Carlsen and women’s world champion Hou Yifan had a number of twists and turns before Hou miscalculated and ruined what had been a Herculean defensive effort.

The Chinese GM looked set to escape with a draw from what had been a hopeless position after Carlsen erred in the face of stiff resistance.

Here is the decisive moment.

Carlsen has just played 51.Qxh6:

Magnus Carlsen


Now Hou could have played 51…Qxe4! when 52.Qxe6 Qxd3 53.Qe8+ Rf8 54.

Qe6+ is a draw. 51…Qxe4! 52.Qd2 Qd5 intending e5-e4 is fine for Black, so Carlsen might have had to continue 51…Qxe4! 52.Rxe4 gxh6 53.Rg4+ Kh7 54.cxd6 Rd7 and the well-placed knight on c3 gives Black excellent chances to exchange the queenside pawns, after which the ending would be hard for White to win.

For example, 55.Nxe5 Rxd6 56.Nc4 Rd5 57.a3 h5 58.Rh4 bxa3 59.Nxa3 Ne2+ 60.Kh2 Nc1 61.b4 axb4 62.Rxb4.

Instead Hou miscalculated. The game continued from the board above: 51…Nxe4? 52.Qxe6 Nxf2 53.Nxe5 Nxh3+

How did Magnus continue? See board below:

Magnus Carlsen


Leader Vassily Ivanchuk drew with Anish Giri after the latter missed a fiendishly difficult win in what appeared a dead drawn queen and pawn endgame.

A tragedy. 31.Qc1 axb2+ 32.Rxb2 Rd8 33.Rd2 Rb8+ 34.Rb2 is a draw.

I. Saric – M. Vachier-Lagrave

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Be7 9.Qd2 0–0 10.0–0–0 Nbd7 11.g4 b5 12.Rg1 Nb6 13.Na5 Rc8 14.g5 Nh5 15.Kb1 g6 16.a3 Qc7 17.Nd5 Nxd5 18.exd5 Bd7 19.h4 Bd8 20.Nc6 Bxc6 21.dxc6 Qxc6 22.Bh3 Rc7 23.Qxd6 Qxc2+ 24.Ka1 Nf4 25.Bg4 b4 26.Rc1 Qb3 27.Bxf4 exf4 28.Rxc7 bxa3 29.Rg2 Bxc7 30.Qxc7 Rb8 31.Rd2 axb2+ 32.Kb1 Qa2+! 0–1

Scores: 1-2 Ivanchuk & Carlsen 5/7; 3-5 Vachier-Lagrave, So, Ding Liren 4.5; 6-7 Wojtazsek, Giri 4; 8-9 Caruana, Radjabov 3.5; 10-11 Saric, Aronian 2.5; 12-13 Hou Yifan, Van Wely 2.


54.Kh2! 1-0 There are no checks, and the knight on e5 forks king and queen. Note, it cannot be captured. Hou may have been relying on 54.gxh3 Qxc5+ 55.Kh1 Qxe5, which is good for Black and 54.Kh1 Nf2+ 55.Kg1 Nh3+ forces a draw.

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