FIDE Grand Prix: Marie Sebag in the lead

10/8/2009 – After the comet-like start of Georgian GM Nana Dzagnidze a new star has risen in the Nanjing Women's Grand Prix. With a win over former Women's World Champion Zhu Chen it is now French GM Marie Sebag who is in the sole lead. She is followed by Dzagnidze and Chinese GM Xu Yuhua. Pictorial report with commentary by FM Geoffrey Borg.

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Round eight report

By FM Geoffrey Borg

Sebag, Marie
1-0
Zhu Chen
Xu Yuhua
1-0
Yildiz, Betul Cemre
Zhao Xue
½-½
Kovanova, Baira
Mkrtchian, Lilit
½-½
Dzagnidze, Nana
Shen Yang
0-1
Ju Wenjun
Fierro Baquero, Martha
0-1
Munguntuul, Batkhuyag

We have a new leader! Slowly but surely, GM Marie Sebag from France has overtaken GM Dzagnidze in first place. The standings and performance are reproduced in the table below :

#

Name

Rtg

FED

Pts

SB.

Rtg+/-

Ra

Rp

1

GM

Sebag Marie

2519

FRA

6

21.25

10.5

2441

2620

2-3

GM

Dzagnidze Nana

2535

GEO

19.25

4.8

2440

2577

2-3

GM

Xu Yuhua

2485

CHN

16.50

9.8

2444

2575

4

GM

Zhao Xue

2542

CHN

5

14.00

-2.8

2439

2515

5-6

IM

Mkrtchian Lilit

2469

ARM

18.50

5.0

2446

2511

5-6

WGM

Munguntuul Batkhuyag

2418

MGL

13.25

6.5

2450

2472

7-8

Ju Wenjun

2443

CHN

4

12.25

1.7

2448

2457

7-8

GM

Zhu Chen

2488

QTR

4

11.00

-5.4

2444

2434

9-10

WGM

Shen Yang

2453

CHN

17.00

-2.7

2447

2432

9-10

WGM

Kovanova Baira

2408

RUS

10.00

-1.7

2451

2395

11

IM

Fierro Baquero Martha

2386

ECU

2

8.50

-10.9

2453

2280

12

WIM

Yildiz Betul Cemre

2224

TUR

0

0.00

-20.9

2468

1680

The last three rounds will prove to be decisive now and none of the top four players can afford to drop half a point, so some slugfests are promised.


The facilities where the FIDE Women Grand Prix is being held are excellent


Press conference with some of the players


The spectators at the Women's Grand Prix in Nanjing


Now in second place: former tournament leader Nana Dzagnidze

Coming back to the games, the first game to finish reasonably quickly was Mkrtchian-Dzagnidze. They followed a Nimzo Indian line played in a game between Babula and Judit Polgar in 1992 and their game also ended in a draw by perpetual. So nothing new there, and Dzagnidze may rue this half point if she does not recover it in the last three rounds.


Can't believe she's in the lead: French GM Marie Sebag

Marie Sebag took the opportunity to take over the "yellow jersey" squeezing out a win over former world champions Zhu Chen. Following a transposition to a Philidor's Black had a good opening and middlegame but let the initiative slip and Sebag used the king's side to obtain a winning position.


In joint second place: former World Champion Xu Yuhua

Joining the pack was former World Champion Xu Yuhua. She extracted the fullpoint from the luckless Turkish player Betul Yildiz. White got nothing special against the Archangel variation of the Ruy Lopez and black actually had a slight pull. Nevertheless, Xu Yuhua's determination paid dividends when Yildiz did not take the opportunity presented to her on the 37th move in the game below.

Xu Yuhua (2485) - Yildiz,B (2224) [C78]
FIDE GP w Nanjing CHN (8), 06.10.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bb7 7.d3 Be7 8.Nc3 0-0 9.Bd2 d6 10.Ne2 h6 11.c3 Na5 12.Bc2 c5 13.Ng3 Re8 14.d4 Nc4 15.Bc1 Bf8 16.d5 Bc8 17.h3 Bd7 18.a4 Nb6 19.a5 Nc8 20.b4 c4 21.Nh2 Ne7 22.f4 exf4 23.Bxf4 Ng6 24.Be3 Nh7 25.Nf3 Be7 26.Nh5 Nf6 27.Nf4 Nxf4 28.Bxf4 Qc7 29.Kh1 Nh7 30.e5 Nf8 31.Qd4 Rad8 32.Rae1 Bc8 33.Re3 Qd7 34.Rfe1 dxe5 35.Bxe5 Qxd5 36.Qxd5 Rxd5 37.Be4

Here 37...Rxe5 38.Nxe5 Bg5 would have secured the draw, but Betul played 37...Rdd8 and lost in a few moves: 38.Bc6 Bd7 39.Bc7 Rc8 40.Bxd7 Nxd7 41.Bd6 1-0.


Still without points: WIM Betul Cemre Yildiz of Turkey

Zhao Xue was unfortunate not to join Xu Yuhua on 5.5 points as she had been pushing Kovanova throughout the game and had reached a winning position. Against a Queen's Indian Defense she pressured black to eventually win a key pawn on e6. A critical mistake on move 65 however turned the win into a theoretical drawn rook endgame. Shen Wang must have been disappointed since she was in control for much of the game.


Upcoming talent Ju Wenjun, who at Elo 2443 will be getting her first FIDE title

Ju Wenjun has an interesting style giving the impression of a coil ready to spring out. She plays a tight game and when her opponent makes a mistake she immediately seizes it. Shen will have to win a few games if she wishes to make an IM norm. I also understand that Ju Wenjun has qualified and applied for the WGM title.

Martha Fierro had a good opening with White in another Spanish but then started to drift and allowed Mungutuul to get a pawn on b2. White still preferred not to go for perpetual despite having several opportunities to do so. After missing a final opportunity to equalize with 38.Rc7! (see Diagram below) white could not save it any longer.

Fierro Baquero,M (2386) - Munguntuul,B (2418) [C77]
FIDE GP w Nanjing CHN (8), 06.10.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.a4 Bb7 8.0-0 d6 9.Nc3 b4 10.Ne2 h6 11.Ng3 Bc8 12.c3 0-0 13.d4 exd4 14.cxd4 Ba7 15.Be3 d5 16.e5 Ne4 17.Qd3 Be6 18.Bc2 Ne7 19.Nh4 b3 20.Bxb3 c5 21.Bc2 c4 22.Qe2 Nc6 23.Nf3 Nxg3 24.fxg3 Qd7 25.Kh1 Rab8 26.Bb1 Bf5 27.Qd2 Bxb1 28.Raxb1 Qg4 29.b3 cxb3 30.Rfc1 Qe4 31.Qc3 b2 32.Rc2 Nxe5 33.Nxe5 Rfc8 34.Nc6 Rxc6 35.Qxc6 Qxe3 36.Qxa6 Bxd4 37.Qf1 Qb3

38.Qd1? Qxa4 39.Rd2 Qxd1+ 40.Rdxd1 Rb4 41.g4 Kf8 42.g3 Ke7 43.Kg2 Kd6 44.Kf3 Kc5 45.Ke2 Kc4 46.Rf1 f6 47.Rf3 Bc3 0-1.


Mongolian WGM Batkhuyag Munguntuul, rated 2418

Martha explained to me that she still has not recovered the time difference, as prior to Nanjing she had been playing in Colombia and she is feeling very tired towards the fourth hour.

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