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Cramling and Hou vs. Kosintseva: still hoping to gain on leader
Thursday, 06 May 2010
Two rounds prior to the close of the 3rd round of FIDE Grand Prix among women in Nalchik, Tatiana Kosintseva retains leadership. In the 9th round the Russian chess-player drew the game against Zhu Chen from Qatar and scored her 7th point. Hou Yifan from China and Pia Cramling from Sweden are one point behind. They both have scored victories in this round – in games against Baira Kovanova from Russia and Betul Yildiz from Turkey.

Pia Cramling completely outplayed her opponent, Betul Yildiz, in the English opening. The Sweish chess-player missed some very strong continuations in middlegame and gave Betul a good chance for salvation. The Turkish player overlooked an easy draw in the rook endgame and failed to maintain a difficult but theoretically drawish position.

050510_kosintseva-web.jpgHou Yifan, playing White against Baira Kovanova, gained no advantage in the Spanish game. More than that, her position was very dangerous in middlegame. As for Baira, she possibly failed to control her nerve under time pressure and made a series of bad moves in a good position which led to the loss of a piece and a defeat on the 37th move.

Tatiana Kosintseva, playing white against Zhu Chen, had to face a rare variant in the Spanish game and failed to gain initiative in the opening. An almost equal endgame quickly followed and continued till the 53rd move when the players agreed to a draw.

Elina Danielian from Armenia lost again, and it seems this tournament has turned out rather unlucky for her. Her offender in this round was Munguntuul Batkhuyag from Mongolia. Playing with White in a difficult position that came out of the English opening, Danielian was too careless with her king, overlooked a couple of tactical stabs and was forced to resign on the 33rd move.

050510_hou-web.jpgHumpy Koneru is slowly gaining on the leaders. In this round, playing with Black, she won the game against Lilit Mkrtchian from Armenia. In Ragozin’s variant of QG, which is so popular at this tournament, Mkrtchian had a certain advantage but overlooked a few strongest continuations, and the position was equalized. However, despite the time pressure, Lilit, instead of going for an equal endgame, carried on looking for a win. She allowed her opponent to regroup her pieces and carry out the decisive attack on the king.

The duel of Zhao Xue and Nana Dzagnidze was quite fierce. It looks like the Chinese chess-player finally warmed up toward the close of the tournament, and Dzagnidze, who played with Black, had to carry on defending all through the game. After the Catalan opening the game stretched all over the chess-board. The Chinese had two bishops and advantage in space. Playing carefully, however, Dzagnidze managed to exchange all her opponent’s active pieces and equalize the position. An agreement to a draw was made on the 72nd move.

On Thursday, in the next to last, tenth round Kosintseva is going to play with white against Cramling, and Hou, with black, against Koneru.
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