Still Even More Proof that Girls Can't Play Chess

Xie Jun defeated Alisa Galliamova in match for World Chess Championship by 8 1/2 to 6 1/2. The first half of the match was played in Kazan, Tartarstan, Russia, the second half in Shenyang, China.

My report on the match with pictures (fully clothed) is at
The complete games in PGN are at

The games were exciting and hard fought. Xie Jun seems to have consistently played the best chess.

However, Galliamova made herself look foolish in game 14 when she reached a position of rook, bishop pawn and rook pawn against rook, which is a known book draw, and she did not know the drawing technique. Galliamova lost because she put her king on the rook file, whereas it must remain on the bishop file to hold the draw. This was an incredible error for a player rated 2556 by FIDE.

In this position, Alisa Galliamova, as black, played Kb8, an obvious error as the king must remain on the "c" file to hold the draw.

In 1966, rising young California master David Blohm reached a dead drawn rook and pawn ending against me. I had two pawns and he had one but it was a hopeless draw. Then, to show his utter disdain for me, Blohm gave me his sole remaining pawn, just to prove that he could draw me because my two pawns were the queen's rook pawn and the queen's bishop pawn.

Unfortunately for Blohm, his theatrics proved to be his undoing, as my pawns and king were favorably placed and I won the game.

However, a 2500 player like Galliamova should have no trouble understanding that this is a draw and the reason why. (One reason is that often when the black king is on c8 and white has a pawn on c7, black can sacrifice his remaining rook for a stalemate draw.)

Here is the game. After 66 bxc4, the position is 2k5/7R/8/P7/1KP3r1/8/8/8. Black, Galliamova, had a draw with for example 66. ... Rg5. Instead, she made the worst possible moves, marching her king to a7 and putting her rook prematurely behind White's pawns. Can anybody recall a 2500 player playing the endgame so badly?

Xie Jun should have never allowed this. Her move 65. a5?? was clearly a blunder because it allowed black to reach the well known book draw. Instead, she could have played 65. Rh1, Rh2, Rh3 or perhaps best yet Rh5 forcing Black's knight to move. In each case, if Black captures the knight, White moves her rook to the c-file and recaptures the knight with the rook, leading to an easy win.

After 65. Rh1, Black would have had a lot of checking moves starting with Nc6+ or Nd3+ but there is little doubt that Xie Jun would eventually get out if the checks and win.

Sam Sloan

[Event "FIDE WCh (women)"]
[Site "Shenyang CHN"]
[Date "1999.07.21"]
[Round "14"]
[White "Xie Jun"]
[Black "Galliamova,Alisa"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2528"]
[BlackElo "2556"]
[EventDate "1999.07.05"]
[ECO "B80"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 d6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Be3 a6 7. f3 Be7 8.
Qd2 O-O 9. O-O-O Nc6 10. g4 Nd7 11. h4 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 b5 13. g5 b4 14. Ne2
Qa5 15. Kb1 e5 16. Be3 Nc5 17. Nc1 Be6 18. Bh3 Rad8 19. g6 Bxh3 20. gxh7+
Kh8 21. Rxh3 f5 22. Bg5 Qc7 23. Qxb4 fxe4 24. fxe4 Rb8 25. Qc4 Qb7 26. Nb3
Bxg5 27. hxg5 Nxe4 28. Rh5 d5 29. Qa4 Rf2 30. g6 Qc7 31. Rc1 Rg2 32. Qxa6
Nf6 33. Rh3 Rxg6 34. Qd3 Rg4 35. a3 d4 36. Rf1 Rg2 37. Nd2 Qb7 38. Nc4 Qd5
39. Qf3 Qxf3 40. Rfxf3 Rg1+ 41. Ka2 Re8 42. Rf5 Re1 43. Nd6 Rf8 44. Rh4 Re2
45. a4 g6 46. Rg5 Nxh7 47. Rxg6 Rxc2 48. Re6 Rb8 49. Nb5 Kg8 50. Rxe5 d3
51. Rd5 Nf6 52. Rxd3 Kf7 53. Rf4 Rb6 54. Rdf3 Ke7 55. Rf2 Rxf2 56. Rxf2 Ke6
57. Ka3 Nd7 58. Rh2 Kd5 59. Rh5+ Kc6 60. Kb4 Kb7 61. Rh7 Kc8 62. b3 Rg6 63.
Na3 Ne5 64. Nc4 Rg4 65. a5 Nxc4 66. bxc4 Kb8 67. Kb5 Rg1 68. Kb6 Rb1+ 69.
Kc6 Ra1 70. Rh8+ Ka7 71. Kd6 Rd1+ 72. Kc7 Rg1 73. c5 Rg5 74. Kd6 Rg6+ 75.
Kd7 Rg7+ 76. Kc8 Rg2 77. c6 Rd2 78. Rd8 Rc2 79. c7 Rc1 80. Kd7 1-0

UPDATE: There is a growing body of iopinioon that Black was lost after all. This still does not change the fact that Galliamova degfended exceptionally badly and that hwer position was completely lost after just two moves.

On 11 Sep 1999 05:18:27 GMT, in ikastan@sol.uucp (Ilias Kastanas) wrote:

Actually, the position is won for White.

Example - Drawn?

1...Rg5 2.a6 Kb8 3.c5 Rg1 4.c6 [4.Kb5 Rb1+ 5.Kc6 Ka8 6.Rc7 Rb2 7.Rb7 Ra2 8.Kd7 Rd2+ 9.Ke7 Re2+ 10.Kd7 Re7+ 11.Kc6 Re6+ 12.Kb5 Re1 13.Rc7 Rb1+ 14.Kc6 Rb2 15.Kd5 Ra2 16.a7 Rd2+ 17.Kc4 Rd4+ 18.Kb5 Rb4+ 19.Kc6 Rb6+ 20.Kd5 Rd6+ 21.Ke4 Rd4+]

4.Kb5 also wins, as it turns out; but 4.c6 is simpler.

4...Rb1+ 5.Kc5 Rc1+ 6.Kd5 Rd1+ 7.Ke4 Rc1 8.Rb7+

The WK should go the other way:

6.Kd6, Rd1+ 7.Ke6, Re1+ (useless is 7... Ra1 8.Rh8+, Kc7 9.a7!) 8.Kd7, Rd1+ 9.Ke8, Rc1 10.a7+, Ka8 11.Kd7

...winning with the c Pawn. Black can try 11... Rd1+, hoping for 12.Kc8?, Rd8+ 13.Kc7, Rc8+; but White plays 12.Kc7 (to answer 12...Rd8 by Kb6... c7...) 12... Rg1 13.Rh8+, K:a7 14.Kc8, Kb6 15.c7, Ka7 16.Kd8 1-0

Ka8 9.c7 Rc4+ 10.Kd5 Rc5+ 11.Kd6 Rc6+ 12.Ke5 [12.Kd7 Rd6+ 13.Ke7 Re6+ 14.Kf7 Rf6+ 15.Kg7 Rg6+] 12...Rc5+ 13.Kd4 Rc4+ 14.Kd3 Rc3+ 15.Kd2 Rc2+ 16.Kd3 Rc3+ 17.Kd4 Rc4+ 18.Ke5 Rc5+ 19.Kf6 Rc6+ 20.Kg7 Rg6+ 21.Kf7 Rf6+

The White King can not capture the Rook due to stalemate, there may be a better method for White but I would need to look up my endgame books :-)

In the original position, had the BK been on b7 and the WR on h6, 1...Rg5 would indeed have drawn (Gligoric-Smyslov, Moscow 1947) -- with some care; e.g. 2.Rb6+, Kc7! draws, while 2...Ka7? loses. As it is, boy or girl, the BK's confinement to the back rank is the kiss of death.


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