Women’s Candidates R8: Lei takes down Tan

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
4/14/2024 – Lei Tingjie scored a third consecutive win in round 8 of the Women’s Candidates Tournament. Importantly, Lei defeated former long-standing sole leader Tan Zhongyi, which resulted in three players sharing first place at the end of the round — Lei, Tan and Aleksandra Goryachkina are now sharing the lead with 5 points each. One more game ended decisively on Saturday, as Humpy Koneru got the better of Vaishali R with the white pieces. | Photo: FIDE / Michal Walusza

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Goryachkina and Lagno remain undefeated

Two players remain undefeated in the Women’s Candidates Tournament. Coincidentally, the two participants who have avoided losses throughout the first eight rounds are the Russian representatives, Aleksandra Goryachkina and Kateryna Lagno — in the open, the one player who remains unbeaten is also Russian: i.e. Ian Nepomniachtchi.

On Saturday, Goryachkina drew Lagno with black to climb to the shared lead for the first time in the event. What allowed the top seed to join the lead was Lei Tingjie’s victory over Tan Zhongyi. Tan started strong in Toronto, with 3 wins and 4 draws in the first seven rounds, but faced an in-form Lei, who came from scoring back-to-back victories in rounds 6 and 7.

Going into round 9, Lei, Tan and Goryachkina have 5/8 points each, and stand a half point ahead of Lagno. Nurgyul Salimova and Humpy Koneru are sharing fifth place a full-point behind Lagno, each on 3½/8.

This means that half the field has a ‘plus-score’ and half the field stands below the fifty-percent mark. Since the co-leaders only have a +2, though, there is still a chance for someone who started slow to get a winning streak and join the fight for first place.

Curiously, none of the four frontrunners will face each other on Sunday. Lagno, Tan and Goryachkina will play with the black pieces, while Lei is the only player in the pack that will play white in round 9 — will we see the latest World Championship challenger scoring a fourth victory in a row?

Results - Round 8

Kateryna Lagno, Aleksandra Goryachkina

Kateryna Lagno and Aleksandra Goryachkina signed a 34-move draw in Saturday’s eighth round | Photo: FIDE / Michal Walusza

Tan 0 - 1 Lei

Analysis by Klaus Besenthal

Tan Zhongyi

Tan Zhongyi | Photo: FIDE / Michal Walusza

Expert analysis by WIM Svitlana Demchenko

More photos from round 8

Humpy Koneru

In the all-Indian confrontation, Humpy Koneru defeated... | Photo: FIDE / Michal Walusza

Vaishali Rameshbabu

...Vaishali Rameshbabu | Photo: FIDE / Michal Walusza

Nurgyul Salimova, Anna Muzychuk

Nurgyul Salimova v. Anna Muzychuk was only agreed drawn after 120 moves! | Photo: FIDE / Michal Walusza

Anna Muzychuk

Anna Muzychuk taking a picture with a couple of fans! | Photo: FIDE / Michal Walusza

Standings after round 8

All games

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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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