Tan Takes Down Shuvalova: 'Tan Was Just Impenetrable'

Tan Takes Down Shuvalova: 'Tan Was Just Impenetrable'

| 25 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Tan Zhongyi defeated IM Polina Shuvalova in their round of 16 match of the FIDE 2022 Women's Speed Chess Championship on Friday. Tan's solid play, board awareness, and speed proved to be too impervious even for Shuvalova's excellent blitz skills. 

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 FIDE Women's Speed Chess Championship on You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on The games can also be followed from our Events Page.

Live broadcast of the tournament, hosted by GM Irina Krush and WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni.

Blitz 5|1: Tan 6-3 Shuvalova

Despite the two players having very similar FIDE ratings of just over 2500, the SmarterChess Stats by predicted Shuvalova's chances to win as 89% percent, due to her impressive blitz rating of 2783, and Tan's unexpectedly low bullet rating of 1837. 

Tan won the first game by breaking into Shuvalova's position with one piece after another.

Shuvalova struck back the next game with a zwischenzug tactic, gaining an exchange for a pawn, and then converting in the ending. 

Unfortunately for Shuvalova, this was her only win in the 5+1 segment. Tan was consistently hard to defeat and able to convert her own small advantages into victories. One example is game four where Tan won an extra pawn and carefully traded into a winning endgame. 

The 5+1 closed out with a double-edged battle in the time scramble that ended in Tan's favor, giving her a three-point lead.

Blitz 3|1: Tan 4.5-4.5 Shuvalova

Tan won the first 3+1 game with insightful attacking play against Shuvalova's kingside and center weaknesses.

Game three was an example of Shuvalova's fighting spirit. Initially, she blundered a pawn, allowing Tan dangerous attacking chances. With her kingside structure in shambles and Tan's queen breathing down her king's neck, Shuvalova responded with a look of determination in her eyes and began to play amazing defense, starting with ...Rh6 and ...Kf7. 

She continued to cover all the weak squares around her king and push Tan’s pieces back. Once she had the chance, Shuvalova countered with her own kingside attack.

In response to letting this winning position slip into a loss, Tan showed great resilience, retaliating with three wins in a row, including king attacks where she did not let Shuvalova escape. 

Commentator IM Irina Krush shared her assessment on what made playing against Tan so difficult for Shuvalova: "When you play a match against someone, in order to win it, you have to find someone's weak spot ... The problem is I just don't see Tan's big weaknesses."

I just don't see Tan's big weaknesses.

-GM Irina Krush

Despite this, Shuvalova fought back and picked up the last two games of the 3+1 portion, pulling the score back within three points.

Bullet 1|1: Tan 6.5-2.5 Shuvalova

The bullet segment kicked off with a fascinating game. Although Tan ultimately won the game, Shuvalova displayed incredible speed in recovering from her clock reaching 0.1 seconds, requiring Tan to convert her endgame edge on the board.

Shuvalova was in the driver's seat the next game, but as the position fizzled to equal, she seemed to forget about the clock and lost by time.

In game five, Tan gained a better position, a time advantage, and soon trapped Shuvalova's rook. This victory effectively sealed the match victory with a five-point lead with just 10 minutes to go.

Krush summed up the keys to Tan's match victory: "Tan's experience certainly showed in this match. Good opening preparation. Good overall chess skills. Sharp in calculation. Few blunders. The few games that she lost, she recovered. It was hard to see where Shuvalova was going to beat her. Even though Shuvalova's a good blitz player, for sure ... Tan was just impenetrable."

Tan was just impenetrable.

-GM Irina Krush

Tan earned $2,115.74 in prize money for her victory while Shuvalova took home $509.26 for her efforts.

All Games - Round of 16

Women's Speed Chess Championship Bracket

The FIDE 2022 Women's Speed Chess Championship is an online event where titled women players will play a series of blitz and bullet matches for a share of the $70,000 prize fund. The qualifiers for the event took place on May 24-27, with the main event starting on June 13 and ending on July 21.

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