Tashkent 02: Zhao Xue and Koneru lead

9/20/2013 – Many exciting duels were seen today in Tashkent. Ju Wenjun-Lagno was a tactical melee in which the Chinese missed a killing blow at the end of the game. Muminova's poor time management cost her the game after she had soundly outplayed Khotenashvili. Koneru outplayed Danielian and now leads with Zhao Xue who beat Kosteniuk. Analysis by the players and report.

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The Tashkent Women's Grand Prix is currently being held in Uzbekistan from September 17th - October 1st. The tournament is part of the Women's World Championship cycle that will determine the next challenger for the world title. The twelve player round robin will feature the standard FIDE time control of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, with 30 minutes being added at that point and an additional 30 seconds per move through the entire game.

Round 2

Round 02 – September 19 2013, 14:00h
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495
½-½
Zhao Xue 2579
Khotenashvili, Bela 2514
½-½
Muminova, Nafisa 2293
Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307
0-1
Dronavalli, Harika 2475
Girya, Olga 2439
0-1
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496
Ju Wenjun 2535
1-0
Lagno, Kateryna 2532
Danielian, Elina 2470
½-½
Koneru, Humpy 2607

Ju Wenjun played too quickly at the critical moment and let the full point slip away

Ju Wenjun ½-½ Lagno Kateryna
A brilliantly sharp game in the Grunfeld Defence. The line is known theoretically as a sharp variation in which Black sacrifices an exchange to obtain counterplay against White's underdeveloped position. Lagno was able to counter every idea Ju Wenjun threw at her despite not being as familiar with the variation as the Chinese.

Kateryna: "I didn't prepare this line, Ju Wenjun has never played this before, so I didn't expect it at all. It's a quite sharp line, and I had previously lost here without any fight just because I mixed up the moves. Despite being a rapid game, I wasn't happy anyway, so I rechecked it at home once again, of course today I didn't remember anything, so I had to find the moves at the board. From 14. Be5 you have to know like 10 moves ahead, and somehow 17.Nd5 just shocked me! I was checking all the possible moves: 17...Nxd5 18.Bxd5 Bxd5 19.Qxd5 Rd8 20.Qxb7 Nd3+ 21.Ke2 Nxc1+ 22.Rxc1 Qxh2 but there is 23.Rh1 with winning position; 17...Nxc4 doesn't work because of check 18.Ne7+ Kh8 and 19.Rxc4; on 17...Nfg4 I didn't see anything after 18.h3."

In time pressure Lagno committed a horrendous mistake with 28...Nxf2??; but luck was on her side today as the Chinese player missed the win and blitzed out her answer which allowed a miracle saving resource. Instead of 29.Re2? the cool 29.Qc3! would've won the game as the knight on f2 is lost without allowing the perpetual that happened in the game. An entertaining and fighting game nonetheless.

These players definitely can't be blamed for not fighting!

Danielian made a couple of innacuracies and that was enough for her 2600 opponent to win the game

Danielian, Elina 0-1 Koneru, Humpy
Danielian played a classical setup against the Nimzo-Indian which yielded as much as one can expect from this system: the pair of bishops in an otherwise equal position. However the awkward move 18.e4?! improved the position of the knight on d5 by forcing it to f4, after which it simply became a monster. If one piece had to be singled out as the winning piece, it would have been this knight, as it exerted power through the entire game. Koneru won a pawn and despite not playing the most precise endgame, she was still able to convert a win.

Elina: "I think the game was close to equal, but at one moment I started to play very badly. First of all, 18.e4 was a mistake and that's where all my problems began: I should have played 18.Bb1 as I wanted. Maybe white is little bit better due to the two bishops."

Humpy: "Yes, the move 18.Bb1 looked very normal. Also I should have played better, like 38...c3 instead of Kd6, and then 39.Ke2 Nb2 40.Ne3 Kd6 (41.Nf5 Kc5 42.Nxg7 Kc4) 41.Nd5 Nc4."

Humpy's powerful knight allows her to be 2-0 and lead the tournament with Zhao Xue

Geoffrey Borg, FIDE CEO, makes sure everything runs smoothly and is to the players' liking

Kosteniuk, Alexandra 0-1 Zhao Xue
Kosteniuk used a relatively untried variation against the Berlin with 6.Bg5. The idea of this move is to quickly eliminate the pair of bishops: one of the major assets for Black in this kind of positions. However Zhao Xue equalized by simply making natural moves and eventually they reached an equal endgame. Equal does not mean drawn, though, and a mistake by Kosteniuk allowed the Chinese player to seize a serious initiative, win a pawn and convert her position.

Kosteniuk starts with 0.5/2 but she has plenty of time to recover

The players had the following opinion about the opening phase:

Alexandra: "The game was about equal, I was not sure about playing 13.a4 or not, because of 13…a5, so I played Rad1 just to wait."

Zhao Xue: "I didn't like 14.h3, maybe Nd4 was better, then if I play 15…c5 she could play 16.Rdd1 with a good position."

Alexandra: "I didn't want to exchange this knight, but maybe it was interesting."

Kosteniuk and Zhao Xue had a very interesting opening which they analyzed rather thoroughly

Khotenashvili, Bela 1-0 Muminova, Nafisa
Muminova showed nice opening preparation by following the game Giri-Naiditsch from this past October, currently one of the better ways of dealing with White's Catalan set-up. Khotenashvili played the move 11.a3, which is probably not so dangerous, and Black equalized without problems, and maybe even obtained a minimal edge. Little by little Muminova outplayed her higher rated opponent until she obtained a winning position. She could have played the surprising 32...Nh7 which would have trapped White's bishop on g5 (the players also mentioned in the post-mortem 32...Bd4 which is almost as good), but instead she played a few mediocre moves and allowed Khotenashvili back into the game. A 40th move mistake allowed White to simplify into a hopeless endgame for Black.

Bela: "After 11.a3 I wanted to play 12.b4, but it was difficult to play without a plan."

Nafisa: "I thought she would take on d6." Bela: "Yes, I spent a lot of time thinking about 17.Rxd6, but during the game I didn't like 17…Rxd6 18.Nxe5 Ng4 19.Nxd7 Rxd7. I missed 22…Bb3, and my position was very unpleasant."

Nafisa: "First I was going to play 27...Bb6 28.Bxf6 gxf6 (28...Rxf6 29.Nd5) 29.Ne3."

Bela: "Yes, after 29…Bd4 30.Nf5 Be6 it is lost."

Nafisa: "And of course the mistake was 39…Nc4, but I was already in big time trouble."

Muminova has shown that despite being the lowest rated player, she can outplay anyone. However she will have to keep a better control over her time situation.

Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan ½-½ Dronavalli, Harika
A relatively symmetrical game. Dronavalli's two knight's tango surprised Nakhbayeva, but she reacted naturally and eventually a draw was agreed in a lifeless position. Dronavalli sums up the game:

Harika: "I didn't like this passive move 6.Bd2 for White, because I got a very comfortable position after 7…e5 8.d5, and maybe I had a slight advantage afterwards, but I couldn't find anything in time trouble. If the position goes to an endgame, I think I will be worse because of my knight, so I have to maintain my pieces. Therefore I played just waiting moves. 22.Rb1 was a very good move, otherwise I could get the initiative by Qa8 and Ra2. Maybe I should have played 25…Ra2 instead of Ne7."

The players kept finding resources in the post-mortem despite the locked pawn structure

Girya, Olga ½-½ Stefanova, Antoaneta
This line of the ...a6 Slav is not the most dangerous, and although White's space advantage is persistent it is hard to do anything with it. Stefanova has experience defending these type of positions and she was able to do so again without any issue.

Antoaneta: "The whole game maybe was slightly better for White, but I didn't see any special improvement neither for Black or White. But of course 19…Be7 was a dubious move. Olga should have answered with 19.g3 and maybe Bg2."

One of the main advantages of being FIDE CEO: a vantage point to get autographs

Pictures by Maria Emelianova

Replay round two games

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Schedule

Round 01 – September 18 2013, 14:00h
Danielian, Elina 2470
½-½
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495
Koneru, Humpy 2607
1-0
Ju Wenjun 2535
Lagno, Kateryna 2532
½-½
Girya, Olga 2439
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496
1-0
Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307
Dronavalli, Harika 2475
1-0
Khotenashvili, Bela 2514
Muminova, Nafisa 2293
0-1
Zhao Xue 2579
Round 02 – September 19 2013, 14:00h
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495
0-1
Zhao Xue 2579
Khotenashvili, Bela 2514  1-0
Muminova, Nafisa 2293
Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307
½-½
Dronavalli, Harika 2475
Girya, Olga 2439
½-½
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496
Ju Wenjun 2535
½-½
Lagno, Kateryna 2532
Danielian, Elina 2470
1-0
Koneru, Humpy 2607
Round 03 – September 20 2013, 14:00h
Koneru, Humpy 2607   Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495
Lagno, Kateryna 2532   Danielian, Elina 2470
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496   Ju Wenjun 2535
Dronavalli, Harika 2475   Girya, Olga 2439
Muminova, Nafisa 2293   Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307
Zhao Xue 2579   Khotenashvili, Bela 2514
Round 04 – September 21 2013, 14:00h
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495   Khotenashvili, Bela 2514
Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307   Zhao Xue 2579
Girya, Olga 2439   Muminova, Nafisa 2293
Ju Wenjun 2535   Dronavalli, Harika 2475
Danielian, Elina 2470   Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496
Koneru, Humpy 2607   Lagno, Kateryna 2532
Round 05 – September 23 2013, 14:00h
Lagno, Kateryna 2532   Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496   Koneru, Humpy 2607
Dronavalli, Harika 2475   Danielian, Elina 2470
Muminova, Nafisa 2293   Ju Wenjun 2535
Zhao Xue 2579   Girya, Olga 2439
Khotenashvili, Bela 2514   Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307
Round 06 – September 24 2013, 14:00h
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495   Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307
Girya, Olga 2439   Khotenashvili, Bela 2514
Ju Wenjun 2535   Zhao Xue 2579
Danielian, Elina 2470   Muminova, Nafisa 2293
Koneru, Humpy 2607   Dronavalli, Harika 2475
Lagno, Kateryna 2532   Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496
Round 07 – September 25 2013, 14:00h
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496   Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495
Dronavalli, Harika 2475   Lagno, Kateryna 2532
Muminova, Nafisa 2293   Koneru, Humpy 2607
Zhao Xue 2579   Danielian, Elina 2470
Khotenashvili, Bela 2514   Ju Wenjun 2535
Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307   Girya, Olga 2439
Round 08 – September 26 2013, 14:00h
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495   Girya, Olga 2439
Ju Wenjun 2535   Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307
Danielian, Elina 2470   Khotenashvili, Bela 2514
Koneru, Humpy 2607   Zhao Xue 2579
Lagno, Kateryna 2532   Muminova, Nafisa 2293
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496   Dronavalli, Harika 2475
Round 09 – September 28 2013, 14:00h
Dronavalli, Harika 2475   Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495
Muminova, Nafisa 2293   Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496
Zhao Xue 2579   Lagno, Kateryna 2532
Khotenashvili, Bela 2514   Koneru, Humpy 2607
Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307   Danielian, Elina 2470
Girya, Olga 2439   Ju Wenjun 2535
Round 10 – September 29, 14:00h
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495   Ju Wenjun 2535
Danielian, Elina 2470   Girya, Olga 2439
Koneru, Humpy 2607   Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307
Lagno, Kateryna 2532   Khotenashvili, Bela 2514
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496   Zhao Xue 2579
Dronavalli, Harika 2475   Muminova, Nafisa 2293
Round 11 – September 30, 11:00h
Muminova, Nafisa 2293   Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495
Zhao Xue 2579   Dronavalli, Harika 2475
Khotenashvili, Bela 2514   Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496
Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307   Lagno, Kateryna 2532
Girya, Olga 2439   Koneru, Humpy 2607
Ju Wenjun 2535   Danielian, Elina 2470

The games start at 11:00h European time, 13:00h Moscow, 5 a.m. New York. You can find your regional starting time here.

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs


Topics TashkentW
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