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1The outside weather didn't improve for the tenth round and the players start displaying symptoms of acute tiredness, understandable for such long and tense tournaments. The round ended earlier than usual and many of the participants do not hide that their reserves of energy are close to the bottom, despite the pleasant geographical location and exquisite Georgian cuisine.
Hou Yifan's relatively short, but nevertheless entertaining, draw with Kosteniuk ensured the World Champion's clear tournament win with one round to go. By winning against Muzychuk, Ju Wenjun steps a bit closer to the already unreachable leader and trails now by 1,5 points.
After the unfortunate result of her yesterday's hyper-ambitious approach, Dzagnidze played a safe and relatively eventless draw against Dronavalli. This allowed Danielian (who won with Black against Zhao Xue), to free herself of the tie with the Georgian and occupy the clear third position.
Koneru's win against Muminova is a good example of how strong the Indian is, to fully recover after yesterday's shock, while Stefanova's draw with Khotenashvili preserves the Bulgarian's overall good performance.

Standings after tenth round:

Rank SNo.   Name Rtg FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Pts
1 3 GM Hou Yifan 2629 CHN * 1   1 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1
2 4 WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 CHN 0 * 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1   1 1 ½ 7
3 9 GM Danielian Elina 2460 ARM   0 * ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1
4 5 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 GEO 0 ½ ½ * 1 0 ½   ½ 1 1 1 6
5 1 GM Koneru Humpy 2613 IND ½ ½ 0 0 * 1 1 ½ ½ ½   1
6 12 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 BUL 0 0 ½ 1 0 *   ½ 1 1 ½ 1
7 6 GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 IND ½ ½ ½ ½ 0   * ½ 1 ½ ½ 1
8 7 GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 UKR 0 0 0   ½ ½ ½ * 1 ½ 1 1 5
9 8 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 RUS ½   ½ ½ ½ 0 0 0 * ½ 1 1
10 2 GM Zhao Xue 2538 CHN 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ * ½  
11 11 GM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 GEO 0 0 ½ 0   ½ ½ 0 0 ½ * 0 2
12 10 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 UZB 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0   1 *

Hou Yifan - Alexandra Kosteniuk 1/2

We have a winner and her name is Hou Yifan!

The Chinese drew her game against Alexandra Kosteniuk, which started out as a rather unorthodox English/Catalan hybride. It was was not the most spectecular game of the tournament and, if Hou Yifan had wanted to play for more, then perhaps:


19.Nc5 was a better try, although 19...Bxc5 20.bxc5 Bd5 surely doesn't look that scary for Black. In the game
19.Rfe1 b6 20.Nc3 Nc2 21.Rec1 Nd4 22.Re1 was a repetition both players could live with. After all her fighting games, Yifan truly deserves the first place and this draw shouldn't deceive her fans. In a long and tiring event, half a point is certainly a step forward and not backwards. Besides, humans are not robots and Alexandra can play chess, too!

Alexandra doesn't have the reputation of "chess ambassador" for nothing.
She is a worthy promoter of women chess! 

Ju Wenjun - Anna Muzychuk 1-0

Ju Wenjun used the, in this tournament ever so popular, English opening to combat Anna Muzychuk. But, using an idea played earlier by her second Emil Sutovsky, Anna was the first to surprise her opponent. She did so as early as move 7!


Here virtually everybody plays 7...Be7 but Anna chose the more dynamic 7...Bb6 8.c5 Bc7 with the idea of challenging the c-pawn with b7-b6 later on, while ending up with a central pawn majority.

35   40

An inaccuracy on Anna's part unabled her to achieve that and even allowed Ju Wenjun to take the pair of bishops without any concession:


Wenjun then continued building up the pressure in exemplary fashion: 23.Bf1! Na4 24.Rb1 Rbc8 25.Be3 Rc2 and now 26.b3! Nc3 27.Rbc1 Rxc1 28.Rxc1 Nxe4 29.Rc7 gave White a decisive advantage. She converted it without any major hiccups.

Wenjun's admirable concentration powers propelled her on 2nd position.
She has now +18 rating points and a new GM norm in the pockets!
But she cares less about diplomas and titles, all she wants is to play good chess.

Nana Dzagnidze - Harika Dronavalli 1/2


This game saw an opening that has been causing headaches for some time now on the highest level: the Lasker Defence. Its solidity has been tested over and over and today saw no change in the general trend: Black is holding. In short: Harika was very solid today and gave Nana hardly any chances to get a fight. Draw.

Because tomorrow won't look like today

Humpy Koneru - Nafisa Muminova 1-0

33   48

The tournament of Humpy Konery saw many ups and downs but her game against Nafisa Muminova was another up-moment.

Koneur- Mumi

On move fourteen, Humpy grabbed a big advantage with 14.c5! the point being that 14...bxc5 15.dxc5 Bxc5 exploits the stranded knight on a5 with 16.b4. That's why Nafisa chose 15...Nc6 but after 16.b4 it is clear that White's queen-side majority outways Black's central pawns. The position after move 30 tells the story of the remainder of the game:

Koneur- Mumi1

White pushed the pawns forward and they proved an unstoppable force. Nafisa had to resign a few moves later, when White's b-pawn was about to make a second queen.

Zhao Xue - Elina Danielian 0-1

Similar strong pawn-play was seen in the game between Zhao Xue and Elina Danielian.

34   20

Zhao - Dani

Here it was Elina that played the strong pawn push 14...c4! making use of the fact that the knight on f3 is temporarily undefended. After
15.Nf4 b5! Black's queenside pawns already looked menacing. Xue's position kept deteriorating when a few pieces were exchanged and Elina also managed to get domination over the light squares.

Zhao - Dani1

19...Bc8! 20.bxc4 bxc4 21.Bc3 Ne7! followed by Nf5 gave Black an overwhelming positional advantage. Xue did manage to reach an ending with opposite-coloured bishops but, given the two pawns deficit, that proved an easy win for Elina, who climbs to the 3rd position after this win. And tmorrow she will face the leader!

Antoaneta Stefanova - Bella Khotenashvili 1/2

Antoaneta Stefanova used the Veresov (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bf4) against Bella Khotenashvili. 

The opening that received a new boost as of late with Baadur Jobava
using it in many games, turned out fine for Bella.


On move 20, when the Georgian was ready to create counterplay either through the centre, by means of e6-e5, or on the queenside, with the minority-attack b5-b4, Antoaneta deemed wisely to initiate peace-talks with 20.Bg5 after which the players repeated 20...Bg7 21.Bh6 Bf6 22.Bg5. Draw.

After today's draw, Antoaneta is on +1, plus 10 rating points and shared 5-7
An unusual chess guest, ready to listen the GMs confessions

The last round scheduled tomorrow will start two hours earlier than usual, forcing the players to shift their usual program. At individual level, this may prove not easy, of course, but conditions are fair since they all face the same problem. Besides, all the participants are true professionals, ready to be up to the task.
Even though the fight for the first place has been closed, the encounter Elina Danielian - Hou Yifan deserves being followed with interest, as it could strongly influence the final configuration of the podium.

By Alina l'Ami

© FIDE Grand Prix 2014    |    |