Grand Prix leader Zhao Xue scores her first win in Nalchik
Tuesday, 04 May 2010
The 7th round of Women’s Grand Prix in Nalchik started off with a silence minute – the participants of the tournament stood in memory of FIDE’s ex-president, Florencio Campomanes. The sorrowful news did not affect the competitive spirit in a bad way – four games out of six ended victoriously.
The Grand Prix leader, Zhao Xue, who suffered three discouraging defeats at the start of the tournament, has finally scored her first win. In the 7th round Xue won the game against Elina Danielian from Armenia. In the accepted Quinn’s gambit, at the end of the opening, Black developed a pretty solid play with mutual chances. However, it chose the wrong plan which worsened its position considerably. Danielian was forced to give up her queen on 21st move. The realization phase that followed was carried out by Xue without a hitch.
Vice-champion of the world, Hou Yifan, playing with white against
Munguntuul Batkhuyag from Mongolia, scored her fourth victory in a row.
The Chinese player displayed her strength in the Spanish game once
again. Having outplayed her opponent in the opening, Yifan only had to
make proper use of her palpable advantage, which she eventually did and
with much confidence too, crowning the game with an
attack on the enemy king.
The leader of the tournament, Tatyana Kosintseva, playing white against
the rating favorite, Humpy Koneru, failed to gain material advantage.
Playing the Chelyabinsk variant of the Sicilian defense, the Russian
player sacrificed by an exchange but did not get full compensation in
return. At one point the Indian player had an opportunity of ensuring a
better endgame for herself but missed it. Tatyana led the game to a
Pia Cramling, playing white, used a fairly unusual formation in the
English opening which apparently left her opponent, Baira Covanova from
Russia, quite surprised. White gained solid advantage already by the
16th move and continued to build the pressure. Black’s attempt to risk
counterplay only helped speed the game up toward the denouement. The
Swedish player scored a win on the 36th move.
Zhu Chen from Qatar totally outplayed
her opponent – Betul Yildiz from Turkey – in the endgame which emerged
during the Philidor defense on the 18th move. Chen captured a pawn on
the 33rd move and carried on to secure an easy win.
Lilit Mkrtchian failed to make use of the huge advantage she had over
her opponent, Nana Dzagnidze from Georgia. Similarly, the endgame arose
pretty rapidly in this game, and the advantage of white was undeniable.
Despite Dzagnidze’s stubborn defense, black’s position continued to be
complicated up until the 38th move. After the time control and a few
mistakes Lilit had only a small scrap of her advantage remaining.
However, she decided to cease her attempts to gain a victory and agreed
to a draw on the 55th move.
Tatyana Kosintseva with 6 points out of 7 has preserved her top position
in the standings list after the seventh round. Hou Yifan is one point
behind. Pia Cramling and Zhu Chen are a tie for the 3rd and 4th place,
with 4.5 points each.