Cairns Cup: Tan beats Paehtz in eventful round

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
6/21/2024 – Four games ended decisively in round 7 of the Cairns Cup, with Tan Zhongyi keeping the lead thanks to a victory over Elisabeth Paehtz and Alexandra Kosteniuk climbing to sole second place after beating Anna Zatonskih. Nana Dzagnidze and Mariya Muzychuk also scored full points, and are now tied for third place with Harika Dronavalli, who barely escaped with a draw against Anna Muzychuk. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Tan leads, Kosteniuk in sole second place

There has been no lack of entertainment in the fourth edition of the Cairns Cup. In the seventh round, 4 out of 5 games ended decisively, with Tan Zhongyi and Alexandra Kosteniuk grabbing wins to become the clear frontrunners in the race for tournament victory.

Nonetheless, the three players standing a half point behind second-placed Kosteniuk still have chances of winning the event with two rounds to go. Sharing third place are Mariya Muzychuk, Nana Dzagnidze and Harika Dronavalli.

It could have been a round with all decisive results on Thursday, had Anna Muzychuk made the most of her outside passed pawn while playing white against Harika.

Black threatens to give a check from f3, but she must be careful not to allow White to promote her passer on the h-file. The position is winning for White after 37.h7 or even after the more cautious 37.Re2. However, Muzychuk went for 37.Rd8 Kc7 38.Rg8, apparently manoeuvring skilfully to make way for her pawn.

The problem for White in this variation is that after 38...Rd2 39.h7, Black gets to escape with a draw by suddenly giving perpetual check.

39...Nf3+ must be followed by 40.Kf1, since 40.Kh1 fails to 40...Rh2#. And Black can give checks endlessly with 41.Nh2+ Kg1 42.Nf3+, etcetera.

The decisive results of the round saw Tan beating Elisabeth Paehtz in style, Alexandra Kosteniuk outplaying Anna Zatonskih in a wild struggle, Nana Dzagnidze getting the better of Irina Krush and Mariya Muzychuk scoring a 38-move victory over Alice Lee.

Results - Round 7

Mariya Muzychuk

Mariya Muzychuk | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Tan 1 - 0 Paehtz

Analysis by André Schulz

Tan Zhongyi

A smiling Tan Zhongyi | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Zatonskih 0 - 1 Kosteniuk

Analysis by André Schulz

Anna Zatonskih, Alexandra Kosteniuk

Anna Zatonskih v. Alexandra Kosteniuk | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Standings after round 7

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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