Cairns Cup: Kosteniuk scores, climbs to shared second place

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
6/20/2024 – Alexandra Kosteniuk was the only player to score a full point in round 6 of the Cairns Cup. Kosteniuk’s win over Mariya Muzychuk left her tied for second place with Harika Dronavalli, as they stand a half point behind sole leader Tan Zhongyi. In the one decisive game of the round, Muzychuk blundered in a materially balanced minor-piece endgame. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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5 decisive games in 6 rounds

A fighter at heart, Alexandra Kosteniuk has been one of the contenders in more than half the games that ended decisively so far at the Cairns Cup in Saint Louis. After six rounds, 9 encounters have finished with decisive results, and Kosteniuk has played in 5 of them. The Swiss representative has won 3 games, lost 2 and only drawn once in the women’s event taking place at the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Round 6 saw Kosteniuk beating Mariya Muzychuk with the white pieces. The younger of the Muzychuk sisters played the Caro-Kann Defence and got a slightly better position out of the opening. A mistaken rook swap by Muzychuk allowed Kosteniuk to restore the balance, and the contenders eventually reached an endgame with a pair of bishops (for white) against a knight and a bishop with two pawns per side. The evaluation remained balanced until Muzychuk blundered on move 56.

Kosteniuk made the most of her opponent’s mistake and went on to score a 68-move victory.

Thanks to this win, Kosteniuk leapfrogged M. Muzychuk in the standings, as she now stands in shared second place a half point behind sole leader Tan Zhongyi. Kosteniuk is tied on points with Harika Dronavalli, who drew Anna Zatonskih with white on Wednesday.

Round 7 will see Tan playing white against Elisabeth Paehtz, while both Kosteniuk and Harika will play with the black pieces, against Zatonskih and Anna Muzychuk respectively.

Results - Round 6

Alice Lee, Irina Krush

The all-American clash between Alice Lee and Irina Krush was agreed drawn after 91 moves | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Tan Zhongyi

Sole leader Tan Zhongyi | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Kosteniuk 1 - 0 M. Muzychuk

Mariya Muzychuk

Mariya Muzychuk analysing the position from a different perspective | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Standings after round 6

All games


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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