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Kosintseva secures win of Grand Prix tournament in Nalchik one round before the end
Friday, 07 May 2010
060510_kosintseva-web.jpgTatiana Kosintseva has scored a successful debut in the FIDE Grand Prix tournament series. Having started from the third stage, in Nalchik, the Russian chess-player has achieved a convincing win by securing her first position one round before the closing. Kosintseva has scored 8 points in 10 rounds, while her immediate pursuers – Hou Yifan from China and Nana Dzagnidze from Georgia are 1.5 points behind. Cramling is currently in the fourth place with 6 points.

The key game of the 10th round was the one played by Kosintseva, the leader of the tournament, against Pia Cramling, who was one point behind. The Swedish grandmaster, playing with black, decided to surprise her opponent in the opening by choosing Rauser’s variant in Sicilian defence. The Russian chess-player, however, was well-prepared for such a turn and, having played a long last theoretical variant, developed an endgame with a small advantage. Cramling, probably hoping to find an opportunity to win, did not seek to equalize immediately. Such tactics on her part allowed Tatyana to strengthen her position and gain initiative. Approximately around the 40th move, in a critical situation, Cramling failed to find stronger continuations, and Kosintseva led the game on toward victory. 060510_zal-web.jpgBy gaining the upper hand in the game against Elina Danielian, Nana Dzagnidze entered the top three of the tournament. In the Slav defense, playing with white, the Georgian chess-player managed to outwit her opponent in the opening and gain a huge advantage. Danielian wasn’t stubborn enough in defense, and Dzagnidze finished the game with a straight attack on the king.

Munguntuul Batkhuyag, playing with Black, defeated one of the leaders, Zhu Chen from Qatar. Having captured a pawn in the opening, White played on very slowly and allowed black to regroup and launch a powerful attack on the king. The Mongolian player’s flawless action in the endgame brought her a victory on the 49th move.

Baira Kovanova, playing with white, wrested a win from Zhao Xue in an extremely dramatic game. The Chinese chess-player equalized chances in the Spanish game and soon was able to overtake initiative. White sacrificed a pawn but never received sufficient compensation. However, under time pressure, Xue missed several advantageous continuations and, to make thing worse, lost a piece. Kovanova delayed realization of extra material until the 76th move but eventually won and added another point to her overall score.

060510_dzagnidze.jpgLilit Mkrtchian, playing with black, gained a solid victory against Betul Yildiz from Turkey. In the Scheveningen variant of Sicilian defense, the Armenian chess-player organized a sweeping counterattack on the opponent’s king and forced her to resign on the 34th move.

Hou Yifan frayed many of her fans’ nerves in this round. Playing with Black against Humpy Koneru, the Chinese equalized the game with ease. Late on, however, she decided not to force a draw agreement and made a few bad moves which allowed the Indian chess-player gain initiative and create a rook endgame with one extra pawn. Black’s position was hanging by a thread after the 50th move but all ended happily for Yifan who managed to beat off all the attacks and score a draw.

The final, eleventh round is going to see the following games played in the leaders’ group: Mkrtchian vs. Kosintseva, Hou vs. Yildiz, Munguntuul vs. Dzagnidze and Cramling vs. Zhu Chen.
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