Nalchik GP: Zhao Xue with 7.5/8 points, 2968 performance, +38 rating points

10/18/2011 – This is definitely her tournament: Chinese GM Zaho Xue conceded one draw, against the bottom seed in round seven, and went on to beat the top seed in round eight. This gave her a three-point lead over her nearest rival, compatriot Ju Wenjun, who could bury her hopes of catching the leader after a painful loss to tail-ender Batkhuyag Munguntuul. Big illustrated report after round eight.

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The third stage of FIDE Women's Grand Prix cycle 2011-2012 is being staged from 8th to 23rd of October in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, in the Hotel Sindika. The playing days are October 9-12, 14-17, 19-21, the rounds start at 15.00h Moscow time (13:00h CEST, 7 a.m. New York)..

Round seven report

Sunday, October 16, 2011

 Ti. Name Rtng  Ti. Name Rtng
GM Zhao Xue 2497 IM Kovalevskaya Ekaterina 2421
GM Kosintseva Nadezhda 2560 GM Zhu Chen 2490
GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2528 GM Lahno Kateryna 2554
GM Kosintseva Tatiana 2536 IM Munguntuul Batkhuyag 2467
WGM Ju Wenjun 2536 IM Galliamova Alisa 2498
GM Cmilyte Viktorija 2525 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2469

Chinese GM Zhao Xue conceded her first draw in this tournament, when she found herself in serious difficulty – for the first time since the beginning of this tournament. Bottom seed Ekaterina Kovalevskaya (RUS) had black and won the opening battle, gaining a clear advantage by move 20. But then she decided to trade down to a rook endgame which was impossible to win, even with her extra pawn.

After three consecutive wins Antoaneta Stefanova (above) suffered a defeat. Playing with white against Kateryna Lahno (UKR) the Bulgarian GM gave the initiative to the opponent in the middlegame got a difficult endgame which she was unable to save.

Battling for second place (with a happy smile): Ukrainian GM Kateryna Lahno

Viktorija Chmilyte (above) prevailed over Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia in an acute, dramatic duel. Having got the advantage from the opening, the Lithuanian GM handed the initiative to the opponent in the middlegame. But the former women's world champion was unable to use the chance, and in time trouble on move 40 she made a mistake and got a lost endgame.

Losing streak: former women's world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk

Top seed Nadezhda Kosintseva (above) dominated in her game against former women's world champion Zhu Chen, but could not convert the rook and knight vs rook endgame, although she tried for 33 moves.

In the above game Mongolian IM Batkhuyag Munguntuul saved a very suspicious position against her Russian opponent GM Tatiana Kosintseva, who missed the three-fold repetition in a winning position.

[Event "Nalchik WGP 2011"] [Site "Nalchik RUS"] [Date "2011.10.16"] [Round "7"] [White "Kosintseva, Tatiana"] [Black "Munguntuul, Batkhuyag"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B48"] [WhiteElo "2536"] [BlackElo "2465"] [PlyCount "135"] [EventDate "2011.10.09"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qd2 Nf6 8. O-O-O Be7 9. f3 O-O 10. g4 b5 11. g5 Nh5 12. Rg1 Bb7 13. Nxc6 Bxc6 14. Nd5 exd5 15. exd5 Bb7 16. d6 Bxd6 17. Qxd6 Qxd6 18. Rxd6 Rfe8 19. Bd2 Bxf3 20. Rxd7 Rac8 21. Bh3 Rcd8 22. Rf1 Bd5 23. Rxd8 Rxd8 24. Bg4 g6 25. Bc3 Be6 26. Bf3 Nf4 27. b3 Rc8 28. Kb2 Nd5 29. Bxd5 Bxd5 30. Rd1 Rd8 31. Bf6 Rd7 32. Re1 Kf8 33. Re3 Be6 34. Rc3 Ra7 35. Bd4 Ra8 36. Rc7 Rc8 37. Ra7 Rc6 38. Bf6 Bc8 39. c3 h5 40. h4 Ke8 41. Ka3 Bf5 42. Re7+ Kd8 43. Rxf7+ Kc8 44. Kb4 Bb1 45. a4 Bd3 46. axb5 axb5 47. Bd4 Re6 48. Kc5 Bc2 49. Kxb5 Bxb3 50. Rg7 Bc2 51. Kc5 Bf5 52. Kd5 Ra6 53. Re7 Bg4 54. c4 Bf3+ 55. Ke5 Rc6 56. c5 Bg4 57. Rf7 Bh3 58. Rg7 Bf1 59. Kd5 Bg2+ 60. Kc4 Bf1+ 61. Kb4 Bd3 62. Be5 Ra6 63. Bd6 Be4 64. Re7 Bc6 {First time.} 65. Rg7 Be4 66. Re7 Bc6 {Second time.} 67. Kc3 Ra3+ 68. Kb4 (68. Kb4 {and now Black can play} Ra6 {to repeat the position for a third time.}) 1/2-1/2

“I’m so glad I managed to draw the game, because I really wanted to stop this incredible series
of losses," said Tuul. "Anyway my mood is okay now, and I hope that it’s just the beginning.”

Round eight report

Monday, October 17, 2011

 Ti. Name Rtng  Ti. Name Rtng
IM Kovalevskaya Ekaterina 2421 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2469
IM Galliamova Alisa 2498 GM Cmilyte Viktorija 2525
IM Munguntuul Batkhuyag 2467 WGM Ju Wenjun 2536
GM Lahno Kateryna 2554 GM Kosintseva Tatiana 2536
GM Zhu Chen 2490 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2528
GM Zhao Xue 2497 GM Kosintseva Nadezhda 2560

"I hope that it’s just the beginning.” Fateful words by Batkhuyag Munguntuul after the previous round. In her game against second placed WGM Ju Wenjun the two girls played the first 20 moves of a Najdorf in less than four minutes. After a somewhat shakey start the Mongolian IM took over and has a very promising position. But she let her Chinese opponent back into the game, which should have ended in a draw. But then fate struck...

Tuul on the rise: Batkhuyag Munguntuul in her game against ...

... Chinese WGM Ju Wenjun, who could still theoretically catch the leader

[Event "Nalchik WGP 2011"] [Site "Nalchik RUS"] [Date "2011.10.17"] [Round "8"] [White "Munguntuul, Batkhuyag"] [Black "Ju, Wenjun"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B92"] [WhiteElo "2465"] [BlackElo "2536"] [PlyCount "135"] [EventDate "2011.10.09"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Kh1 b6 10. Be3 Bb7 11. f3 b5 12. a4 b4 13. Nd5 Nxd5 14. exd5 Nd7 15. c3 bxc3 16. bxc3 Bg5 17. Bxg5 Qxg5 18. Na5 Nc5 19. Rb1 Qe7 20. Rb6 Qc7 21. Nc4 Rad8 22. a5 f5 23. Qd2 Rf6 24. Rd1 f4 25. Qa2 e4 26. Rd4 e3 27. Nb2 Rdf8 28. Qc4 Qf7 29. Nd3 Nxd3 30. Bxd3 Re8 31. Be2 g5 32. Qb4 Bxd5 33. Rxa6 g4 34. Rxd6 gxf3 35. gxf3 Be6 36. Rd1 Rg6 37. a6 Qf5 38. Qb5 Qxb5 39. Bxb5 Re7 40. Rb6 { White was surely winning, but now she lets Black back into the game.} Bh3 41. Rxg6+ hxg6 42. Be2 Kg7 43. Rb1 Bc8 44. Kg2 Rc7 45. Rb6 {In what must be a defensible position Black now shows carelessness.} Rxc3 $4 46. a7 Ra3 47. Ra6 $1 {This is what Ju Wenjun missed!} Bxa6 48. a8=Q Ra2 49. Kh3 Rxe2 50. Qxa6 { Queen vs rook and pawn is winnable for the Mongolian IM.} Rf2 51. Kg4 Rxh2 52. Kxf4 e2 53. Qa1+ Kf7 54. Kg3 Rh5 55. Qa2+ Kf6 56. Qxe2 Kf7 57. Kg4 Kf6 58. Qa6+ Kf7 59. Qc8 Kg7 60. Qe6 Rh7 61. Qe7+ Kg8 62. Qf6 Rh6 63. f4 Kh7 64. Qf7+ Kh8 65. Kg5 Rh5+ 66. Kxg6 Rg5+ 67. Kf6 Rf5+ 68. Ke6 1-0

Chin up, Wenjun – you are still in clear second

Chinese GM Zhao Xue (above left) virtually sealed her victory by defeating top seed Nadezhda Kosintseva. The Russian GM weakened her position in the center and on the kingside, which was skillfully used by Zhao Xue. Sacrificing the exchange she seized the initiative and in tactical complications beat the opponent. Zhao is now leading the field by a full three points (with three rounds to go). Her nearest rival is compatriot Ju Wenjun.

Stratospheric: 7.5/8 points, 2968 performance, 38 rating points gained – GM Zhao Xue

Alexandra Kosteniuk (above in round eight) celebrated her second victory on this tournament, beating IM Ekaterina Kovalevskaya with the black pieces. The game Katerina Lahno vs Tatiana Kosintseva ended in a draw, as did Viktorija Chmilyte against Alisa Galliamova.

Two painful losses in a row: GM Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria

The duel of two former women's world champions was the last game of the round to end. It was a Slav that became a Catalan, and it brought the second loss of Antoaneta Stefanova in a row, this time to Qatari GM Zhu Chen. “I made some strange moves In a time trouble," said Antoaneta shared. "After that I got a drawn endgame, which turned out to be quite complicated. We played for a long time and in the end I got into a time trouble again and missed everything”. Her opponent conceded: “I was very lucky in the end! To be honest I didn’t see how to win in that position”.

[Event "Nalchik WGP 2011"] [Site "Nalchik RUS"] [Date "2011.10.17"] [Round "8"] [White "Zhu, Chen"] [Black "Stefanova, Antoaneta"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D11"] [WhiteElo "2490"] [BlackElo "2528"] [PlyCount "183"] [EventDate "2011.10.09"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qb3 e6 5. g3 b6 6. Bg2 Ba6 7. cxd5 cxd5 8. Nc3 Be7 9. Bf4 O-O 10. Rc1 Bb7 11. Ne5 Nfd7 12. e4 Nxe5 13. dxe5 d4 14. Nb5 Nd7 15. O-O g5 16. Bd2 Nxe5 17. f4 Nd7 18. Nxd4 Nf6 19. Be3 gxf4 20. gxf4 Qe8 21. f5 Ng4 22. fxe6 Nxe3 23. Qxe3 fxe6 24. Rxf8+ Bxf8 25. Rc7 Rb8 26. Qg5+ Qg6 27. Qe5 Rd8 28. Qxe6+ Qxe6 29. Nxe6 Rd1+ 30. Kf2 Rd2+ 31. Kf3 Bxe4+ 32. Kxe4 Rxg2 33. Rc8 Kf7 $2 {Somewhat mysterious, this piece sacrifice.} (33... Re2+ {offered good drawing chances.}) 34. Nxf8 Rxh2 35. b3 h5 36. Nd7 Rxa2 37. Ne5+ {Knight for two pawns, with the black pawns on opposite sides of the board - not easy to win.} Kf6 38. Rf8+ Ke6 39. Nf3 Rb2 40. Nd4+ Kd6 41. Rf6+ Ke7 42. Rh6 Ra2 43. Rxh5 Kd6 44. Kd3 Ra1 45. Kc3 a6 46. Nc2 Rg1 47. Ne3 Rg3 48. Kd4 Kc6 49. Re5 Rh3 50. Kc4 Rh4+ 51. Kc3 Rh3 52. Kb2 Rh6 53. Ka3 Rg6 54. Rh5 Re6 55. Nc2 Re7 56. Nb4+ Kb7 57. Rh6 Rd7 58. Na2 Rc7 59. Kb2 a5 60. Nc3 Rc5 61. Na4 Rb5 62. Ka3 Ka6 63. Nb2 Rb4 64. Nc4 Kb7 65. Rg6 Ka6 66. Nd6 Ka7 67. Rg7+ Ka6 68. Rg8 Ka7 69. Rc8 Rh4 70. Rc6 Rh5 71. Ka4 Rg5 72. Rc8 Rg4+ 73. Rc4 Rg5 74. Rc7+ Ka6 75. Nc8 Rg4+ 76. Ka3 Rg6 77. Ra7+ Kb5 78. Rd7 Rg8 79. Na7+ Ka6 80. Nc6 Kb5 81. Ne5 Rg5 82. Re7 Rh5 83. Re6 Ka6 84. Kb2 Rh2+ 85. Kc3 Re2 86. Kd4 Kb5 $2 {This allows a tactical finish:} 87. Rh6 a4 88. Nc4 axb3 89. Rxb6+ Ka4 90. Kc5 Re5+ 91. Nxe5 b2 92. Rxb2 1-0

GMs Antoaneta Stefanova and Zhu Chen in the press conference

Current standings

Tuesday is a free day, the games of round nine will be played on Wednesday, October 19.


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