European Women's Ch: Kashlinskaya takes the lead

by André Schulz
4/18/2019 – Alina Kashlinskaya is the sole leader of the Women's European Championship after her victory over Pauline Guichard. Both had been leading the field after five rounds. Marie Sebag is in second. Wednesday was the tournament's one and only rest day. | Pictured: Alina Kashlinskaya and Marie Sebag | Photo: Kasia Selbes Photography /

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Four wins in a row

Alina Kashlinskaya won the top game against Pauline Guichard in the 6th round of the European Women's Championship, reaching 5½ points and taking the sole lead after winning her fourth straight game. In the King's Indian Defence, the Russian WGM took the initiative in the opening with the white pieces and never relinquished her advantage.

Trailing by half a point is GM Marie Sebag with 5.0/6, who won with Black against Bulgarian FM Nurgyul Salimova. Let's have a look at how the leading women got there.


In Monday's fifth round, the six players with 3½ played against each other. Two games were decisive, one ended in a draw. Kashlinskaya and Guichard emerged victorious from the battles on the top boards. Guichard upset Ekaterina Atalik (part of a chess power-couple with GM Suat Atalik) while Kashlinskaya (of the even more powerful power-couple with GM Radoslaw Wojtaskek) defeated Jovanka Houska.

Kashlinskaya against Houska 


Black was clearly winning here. Still, White tried 35.d6, with the idea of 36.e4 to threaten 37.g5+, but after 35...xg3! the game was over: 36.xg3 and now she was able to finish the game with 36...xe5+, followed by 37.xd6. Two moves later, White gave up.

On the adjacent board, Guichard prevailed against Atalik. 


White came into the endgame with a piece up and devised a simple winning plan — checkmate! 34.c4 b2 35.d4 xg2 36.e5 b2 37.f6 b8 38.g5 (38.♔g5 ♜e8 39.♔h6) 38 ...b2 1-0

The third board saw Inna Gaponenko and Elina Danielian end in a draw, but was also contested, as the following excerpt proves:


So far, not a single piece has been exchanged. With 19...fxg5 Black took first: 20.fxg5df8 etc. The game later ended in perpetual check on move 48.


Aleksandra Goryachkina facing Marina Guseva as Elina Danielian

Elofavoritin of the tournament is Aleksandra Goryachkina and the young Russian grandmaster gave up her third draw in round five all to players rated between 200 and 300 Elo points lower., including yesterday's division against Marina Guseva. After winning in round six, she is back in contention.

Top results of Round 5


Kashlinskaya has set a furious pace, however, taking her fourth straight in the sixth round. The latest trend against King's Indian is 5.h3 and 6.Be3. White quickly played g4 and went on a kingside attack. 


Black tried 15...a3 here provoking the startling 16.b4. After 16...xb4 17.b1 a5 18.h6 h8 White hopped in 19.f5. Now 19...gxf5 is impossible due to 20.♗xc5 making way for the white queen on g5. There followed 19...xf5 20. gxf5 fd7 and now 21.b5. Whether or not Black trades on d2, the pawn on d6 is extremely weak and White is winning. 

On the next board Inna Gaponenko and Bela Kotenashvili played to a draw and both remain undefeated, a full point back.

Sebag followed in the footsteps of her compatriot Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, using the Najdorf with Black against Salimova.


After the long castling by Sebag, White sacrificed a piece with 22.xe6 fxe6 23.xe6, creating a wild and opaque position. In the endgame, however, Black's material advantage was decisive.

Elisabeth Paehtz spoiled a good position against Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant. 


Black is a pawn up and after the game the German number one among women took to Instagram to explain what happened next (complete with emojis):

Sometimes psychology plays a mature role in our decisions😔. After 40.h6 gxh6 I believed that 41.♖xf5 would win a piece due to the idea of ♘h6+ forking my queen and king. What I missed however was that after 41...exf5 my rock on b6 would protect my h6 pawn. I went 40...g6😣 instead and missed ♖xc5 which eventually is ending in a draw. Well what could one learn from that — never believe your opponents as [to] err is human.

Paehtz is now 1½ points behind the leader, in 18th place. She does not have to worry about qualifying for the World Cup, however, as she is already qualified with her result from last year.

Top results of Round 6


Standings after Round 6 (top 25)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Kashlinskaya Alina 5,5 2399
2 Sebag Marie 5,0 2347
3 Guichard Pauline 4,5 2421
4 Khotenashvili Bela 4,5 2402
5 Danielian Elina 4,5 2394
6 Paramzina Anastasya 4,5 2386
7 Sandu Mihaela 4,5 2378
8 Fataliyeva Ulviyya 4,5 2374
9 Atalik Ekaterina 4,5 2364
10 Gaponenko Inna 4,5 2357
11 Ushenina Anna 4,5 2348
12 Goryachkina Aleksandra 4,5 2320
13 Tsolakidou Stavroula 4,5 2310
14 Bodnaruk Anastasia 4,5 2261
15 Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan 4,0 2443
16 Brunello Marina 4,0 2402
17 Caglar Sila 4,0 2384
18 Paehtz Elisabeth 4,0 2375
19 Osmak Iulija 4,0 2372
20 Salimova Nurgyul 4,0 2366
21 Pogonina Natalija 4,0 2359
22 Mkrtchian Lilit 4,0 2359
23 Badelka Olga 4,0 2338
24 Balajayeva Khanim 4,0 2322
25 Milliet Sophie 4,0 2319

All available games


Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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