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Kosintseva maintains leadership in the Nalchik stage of Grand Prix
Wednesday, 05 May 2010
040510_kosintseva-web.jpgThree tours before the end of the third round of the Fide Grand Prix tournament held in Nalchik, Tatyana Kosintseva from Russia, having scored 6.5 out of 8 points, remains at the top of the table and is now ahead of her four immediate pursuers – Chinese Hou Yifan Pia Cramling form Sweden, Nana Dzagnidze from Georgia and Zhu Chen from Quatar – by 1.5 points.

On Tuesday, in the 8th round, Kosintseva drew the game against Betul Yildiz from Turkey. Playing black in Sicilian, Russian player rapidly gained initiative. However, she chose the wrong plan, and the odds shifted in White’s favor. Under time pressure White had a few opportunities to gain a position with solid winning chances but let them slip. The endgame that came about by the 38th move saw an equality of chances on both sides.

The Russian player’s major rival in the victory chase, Hou Yifan, was defeated in the game against Nana Dzagnidze. Ragozin’s variant of Queen Gambit in the opening, used by black, did not give any advantage in white to the Georgian chess 040510_dzagnidze-web.jpgplayer. However, Yifan assumed the offensive rather prematurely and presently had to retreat in defense. Dzagnidze remained forceful all through the second half of the game and did not leave her opponent a single chance.

Lilit Mkrtchian gained the upper hand in the game against Baira Covanova. Playing with white in the Sveshnikov variant of Sicilian defense, the Russian player did not create any significant difficulties for her opponent. However, Lilit’s following decisions weren’t very good, and the initiative shifted towards her opponent. As the game grew sharp under pressure, Black succeeded in equalizing the game, gaining initiative and launching a dangerous attack on the king which earned the Armenian player a victory.

Zhao Xue, having left the false start of the tournament behind, scored her second win in a row, this time playing Black against Munguntuul Batkhuyag from Mongolia. White’s play was far from solid in Alekhine’s defence, and it allowed black to gain the advantage of two bishops and develop a powerful play down the center. The Chinese chess player displayed utmost confidence, dealing with the tactical complications that ensued, and scored a win on the 36th move.

040510_mkrtchian-web.jpgPia Cramling, playing with Black against Humpy Koneru from India, attained a small advantage in Nimzo-Indian defense. Numerous exchanges led the way into the endgame in which the Swedish player’s immense advantage remained unchanged. But, at a certain point, Cramling made a mistake, and Koneru equalized the position. The players agreed to a draw on 74th move.

Zhu Chen, having excellently used a QGA, gained an immense advantage over Elina Danielian and had two pawns extra by 38th move, but that advantage was gradually lost. The protracted attempt to win the rook endgame, with three pawns against two on the same flan, was eventually a success. The Armenian player scored a draw on the 123rd move.

The 9th round of the tournament will be held on Wednesday, the 5th of May.
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