Women’s Candidates R13: Tan widens the gap as Vaishali beats Lei

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
4/21/2024 – Tan Zhongyi only needs a draw in the final round of the Women’s Candidates Tournament to become Ju Wenjun’s challenger in the next match for the world title. In the penultimate round, Tan drew Aleksandra Goryachkina and saw Lei Tingjie, the only other contender for first place, losing to Vaishali Rameshbabu. This was Vaishali’s fourth consecutive victory! | Photo: FIDE / Michal Walusza

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Vaishali’s astounding comeback

Tan Zhongyi is a half point away from becoming the next challenger for the Women’s World Championship title. Besides getting an early lead and showing strong and consistent play throughout the event, Tan was helped in the last four rounds by Vaishali R’s incredible comeback. The Indian GM-elect had a fifty-percent score after round 5; she then lost four games in a row; only to bounce back with four consecutive wins in rounds 10-13, including victories over Aleksandra Goryachkina and Lei Tingjie.

Vaishali’s win over Lei on Saturday allowed Tan to go into the final round with a full-point lead over her compatriot. Vaishali v. Lei was the one game that ended decisively in round 13, with Lei faltering in a drawn queen endgame, as she allowed Vaishali to simplify into a winning king and pawn endgame.

In the final round, Tan will play black against Anna Muzychuk. Muzychuk is tied for last place and is the only player who has remained winless throughout the event. However, the Ukrainian grandmaster more than once obtained clearly superior positions which she failed to convert into full points.

Lei, on her part, will face Humpy Koneru with the white pieces. Of course, Lei needs to go all out for the win, as it is her only chance of catching up with her compatriot in the final standings and setting up a playoff to decide the tournament winner.

Results - Round 13

Tan Zhongyi

Tan Zhongyi | Photo: FIDE / Michal Walusza

Vaishali 1 - 0 Lei

Analysis by Klaus Besenthal

Lei Tingjie, Vaishali Rameshbabu

With the queens still on the board | Photo: FIDE / Michal Walusza

Lei Tingjie

A painful loss for Lei Tingjie | Photo: FIDE / Michal Walusza

Expert analysis by GM Daniel King

Standings after round 13

All games

A completely exhausted Ian Nepomniachtchi!

Vaishali and her mother, Nagalakshmi

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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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