Tashkent 04: Russians rebound

9/22/2013 – The Russian ladies were able to climb the scoreboard as they were the only ones to win in today's round. Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated Bela Khotenashvili while Olga Girya did the same with Nafisa Muminova. With four other draws, Koneru keeps her half point lead over Harika while Lagno and Zhao Xue are still on the chase with 2.5/4. Report and analysis.

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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 4

Without any real changes at the top, the two Russian girls used today's round to their advantage by climbing a little on the scoreboard. Many draws were seen today, and as usual time pressure cost a few players the chance to obtain a full point.

Round 04 – September 21 2013, 14:00h
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495
1-0
Khotenashvili, Bela 2514
Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307
½-½
Zhao Xue 2579
Girya, Olga 2439
1-0
Muminova, Nafisa 2293
Ju Wenjun 2535
½-½
Dronavalli, Harika 2475
Danielian, Elina 2470
½-½
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496
Koneru, Humpy 2607
½-½
Lagno, Kateryna 2532

Koneru, Humpy ½-½ Lagno, Kateryna
Humpy probably got less than she expected from the opening as Lagno was able to equalize rather easily in this versino of the Pirc. The players repeated moves rather early in the game as Humpy protected her first place rather than try to create unnecessary complications.

With this solid draw Humpy is still half a point ahead of Harika

Kateryna: "The position was equal at the end, I think White should have played 6.e5 immediately: 6.Bb3 wasted an important tempo. It was important to play 8.h3, otherwise if 8.0-0, I reply 8…Bg4 and she doesn't have enough time to hold the pawn on e5. It was important to keep the knight on f3. I didn't see any improvement for me, or for my opponent"

Lagno's "+1" keeps her a point away from the leader

Danielian, Elina ½-½ Stefanova, Antaoneta
An even game from start to finish. This variation of the Slav promises White a slight edge with the pair of bishops, but little more. Here White was able to obtain an extra pawn, but with the crippled pawn structure it was difficult to use. The players fought down to a position in which the only pieces remaining were two kings and two bishops for either side.

Elina: I had a slightly better endgame because of a pair of bishops and space advantage, but my opponent was defending perfectly, otherwise it could be very difficult ending for black. And in time trouble I pushed 32.e4, and I am not sure whether it is too optimistic or not, but I thought it is interesting. And it was just equal at the end.

Maria Emelianova: : "Did the opening bring any surprises to any of you?"

Elina: "Well, as for me we had played already so many times!"

Antoaneta: "Yes, actually over twenty. And every time we are trying to play something new, so you never know what will be in the next game. Until some point we were following the game of Alexey Dreev, and then Elina very quickly played 11.Ra4 and 13.c5, and I had to be precise to not to lose any material.

Elina: "I think 18…b6 was just the best plan, otherwise I play Ra1 and b4 and it should be trouble for Black."

Ju Wenjun ½-½ Dronavalli, Harika
The Chinese player obtained everything she wanted from her minority attack on the queenside, a staple plan in these types of Karlsbad structures. However she was unable to do much with it and she traded too many pieces, which allowed Harika to defend without too much trouble. With better technique it's possible that Black's position was defensible nonetheless, but it would certainly have caused the Indian player many more problems.

Harika: "I thought I was suffering a bit in the middle-game and felt relieved when she started to exchange pieces. She was a bit surprised with my second move, so when she started to think here, I felt confident. However it seemed for me that I didn't put my pieces on the right squares. I was trying to find the opportunity like 16...Bg4 17.Nd2 c5 with 18.dxc5 d4 19.exd4 Qxd4 20.Nde4 Rxe4 21.Bxe4 Qxc3 22.Qxc3 Bxc3, but when I calculated this position I realised that I have to play slower. I expected here 21.Bf5, or even first check on h7. Maybe it's still fine, but I was not happy with the knight on c5. But after we changed pieces on c5, Black have some kind of fortress, which is not so easy to break."

Girya, Olga 1-0 Muminova, Nafisa
Muminova seemed to be at a little bit of a loss in this Ragozin variation. The specific line chosen by Girya has been played many times and it seems to favor White currently. With the extra benefit for her that the local player went for this awkward 13...Qa4?! Girya was able to establish a strong pawn center and claim a serious advantage. Things went downhill from there for Muminova and eventually with strong play the Russian nets her first win of the tournament.

Olga: "I didn't understand 16…Bd7. I think she had to play 16...Na4 17.Bxa5 Nxb2 with 18...Nf6.

Nafisa: "Yes, after 18.Be5 White are very good. Maybe I should play 18…Ne8 with f5.

Olga: "I saw that my 28.Qb2 was a mistake at the last moment: after 28...dxe4 29.Qxb7 Qxb7 30.Rxb7 Nd5 black are fine" (e.d. Black's close to lost in that position, so it's unclear why Girya thought 28.Qb2 was a mistake)

Girya's first win is a big confidence boos as she faces the second seed of the tournament, Zhao Xue, with black after the rest day

Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan ½-½ Zhao Xue
Zhao Xue's handling of this Nimzo-Indian structure was certainly not stellar. After uncrippling her opponent's pawns by taking on d4 (something done almost exclusively when Black can take on c4, as otherwise White's pair of bishops becomes too active) the Chinese was forced into the defensive rather quickly. White's powerful knight on f5 coupled with the bishop on d4 gave her strong pressure on the queenside. This pressure netted Nakhbayeva a pawn and she could've swiftly finished off her higher rated opponent with the move 28.Rxd4! which devastates Black's position with simple tactics. Instead of winning instantly the Kazakh blundered her advantage away with 28.e5? and Zhao Xue secured the half point in a slightly worse endgame.

Zhao Xue will use her rest day to gather herself and come back stronger to the tournament. At 2.5/4 she is not out of the leaderboard but she has yet to play the top half of the event.

Guliskhan: "From the opening I had a better position, and I knew that I had a big advantage but I didn't see an immediate win. After yesterday's game I was just trying to play solid and make accurate moves, because the most difficult thing to do is to win a won position… "

Xue: "I chose the wrong plan: I had to play 14…Nd7 instead of Rc8. And 27…Rg6 was a mistake, 28.Rxd4 is winning by force. My opponent was playing well, but I was lucky. I am happy that tomorrow is a rest day, because I really need it."

Nakhbayeva was playing quite solidly, but she didn't calculate when she had a killing blow

Kosteniuk, Alexandra 1-0 Khotenashvili, Bela
The d3 Spanish systems have become fashionable lately. The game was very tense with both players fighting back and forth for different strategical goals. Eventually it was Kosteniuk that pulled through as she punished Khotenashvili's mistake of 31...Bf5?! with a beautiful 32.Bb3! This unexpected move, despite losing defense of the attacked d3 pawn and seemingly putting all of White's pieces under attack, is actually very strong and was well calculated. Kosteniuk proceeded to devastate her opponent's king position and her attack netted her three pawns, much more than enough to easily win the endgame. A very nice game!

Alexandra: "For some reason I spent a lot of time trying to understand what is going on after 16.Bb3 cxb4 17.cxb4 Nxb4 18.d4, and I can't play 18.Rc1 because of 18…Nc5; I couldn't find anything for me here, so I played 16.a3. And I was rather surprised to see the kinght going to b6, I was expecting it going to e6, but this is also possible. The idea is all about the centre: White is trying to prepare d4, and Black - d5. 

Evgeny Miroshnichenko: "After 28…h5 you could have played 29.c4 immediately, and if 29…Bg2 then 30.f3"

Alexandra: "Maybe, but I was so happy to be able to protect my pawn on g2, that I even didn't calculate that! And 30…Qf6 was the best move, after that I wouldn't have anything, - maybe even worse. Probably 30…Be6 is a main mistake. And later on 32…Nd6 was stronger: of course I still must be winning, but it would be more difficult.

Kosteniuk played without a doubt the best game of the day

Tomorrow is a rest day in Tashkent.

Pictures by Maria Emelianova

Standings

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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
0-1
Koneru, Humpy 2607
Round 03 – September 20 2013, 14:00h
Koneru, Humpy 2607
1-0
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495
Lagno, Kateryna 2532
1-0
Danielian, Elina 2470
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496
0-1
Ju Wenjun 2535
Dronavalli, Harika 2475
1-0
Girya, Olga 2439
Muminova, Nafisa 2293
1-0
Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307
Zhao Xue 2579
0-1
Khotenashvili, Bela 2514
Round 04 – September 21 2013, 14:00h
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2495
1-0
Khotenashvili, Bela 2514
Nakhbayeva, Gulishkan 2307
½-½
Zhao Xue 2579
Girya, Olga 2439
1-0
Muminova, Nafisa 2293
Ju Wenjun 2535
½-½
Dronavalli, Harika 2475
Danielian, Elina 2470
½-½
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2496
Koneru, Humpy 2607
½-½
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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