Chess Tactics: Zhao — Batsiashvili, 2016

Zhao Xue
Zhao Xue at the 2016 Baku Olympiad. Photo: 2019 FIDE Women’s Grand Prix

Zhao Xue was born in Jinan, China in 1985. She earned her Grandmaster title in 2008 and reached a peak rating of 2579 in 2013.

Zhao has won three team and three individual gold medals representing China at the Women’s Chess Olympiad, and three team and two individual golds at the Women’s World Team Championship.


Nino Batsiashvili
Nino Batsiashvili. Photo:

Nino Batsiashvili was born in Batumi, Georgia in 1987, and earned her Grandmaster title in 2018. She was part of Georgia’s gold medal team at the 2015 Women’s World Team Championship.

Perhaps most famously, she drew World Champion Magnus Carlsen in the opening round of the 2015 Qatar Masters Open.

The two ladies get into an uncompromising battle, where Zhao prevails. If you’re looking for a livelier way to defend the Queen’s Gambit, consider the Vienna Variation as Black chooses here. It’s a real mainline, but almost never seen below master level … which means lots of points can be harvested by a well-prepared player.

Black’s knight has wandered too far. White to play.



When the Smoke Clears …