FIDE Grand Prix: Dzagnidze stopped by Marie Sebag

10/4/2009 – French GM Marie Sebag stopped the winning streak of GM Nana Dzagnidze with a fine black win. As expected, in the last round before a free day the players came out fighting, and again there were four wins and two draws. This brings the total results so far to 19 wins out of 30 games and 11 draws, a 63% wins ratio which is extraordinary. Big report with pictures and annotated games.

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Round five report

By FM Geoffrey Borg

Coincidentially, the men's tournament has also got 11 draws but with a slightly lower number of wins (just three, all by Magnus Carlsen). Maybe trying to get the players to be more combative, the organisers have also been selecting the best game from each round, both for the men's and women's tournament. In the Women's GP, the best game at the end of the tournament, selected by a panel composed of GMs Nona Gaprindashvili, Ye Jianchuan and Zurab Azmajparashvili, will net each player 800 euros. They have also offered a prize for the best novelty of the tournament.

The big game in round five was between two of the top seeds and the fireworks which are currently a daily routine all over China to celebrate their 60th Anniversary, were also not lacking in this game.

GM Sebag followed a recent line in the Meran and GM Nana Dzagnidze innovated on move 16 with Bg5. This was not so good unfortunately and Black took the initiative to reach the following position on move 30.


GM Marie Sebag put an end to Nana Dzagnidze's winning streak

Dzagnidze,N (2535) - Sebag,M (2519) [D47]
FIDE GP w Nanjing CHN (5), 02.10.2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bd6 9.0-0 0-0 10.Qc2 Bb7 11.a3 a6 12.b4 a5 13.Rb1 axb4 14.axb4 Qe7 15.e4 e5 16.Bg5 Rfe8 17.Ne2 h6 18.Bh4 Ra3 19.Ng3 g6 20.Ne2 Rea8 21.dxe5 Bxe5 22.Nxe5 Nxe5 23.Nc3 g5 24.Bg3 Nxd3 25.Qxd3 c5 26.bxc5 Bxe4 27.Qe3 Qe6 28.Rxb5 Qc4 29.Be5 Bc6 30.Rb6?

Here, White has just played the natural move 30.Rb6, and Black could have wrapped up the game with 30...Ng4! 31.Qd4 Nxe5 winning a piece in all variations. But: 30...Nd5 31.Qe4 Qxe4 32.Nxe4 Nxb6 33.Nf6+ Kf8 34.cxb6 Rb3 and the game should be a draw. However the French grandmaster fights on with grim determination. 35.Bd4 Rd8 36.Be3 Kg7 37.Nh5+ Kg6 38.Ng3 f5 39.Bc5 Rd5 40.Rc1

40...Rxc5. On her last move before the time control Marie Sebag comes up with an interesting attacking plan. 40...Rbd3 was a strong alternative. 41.Rxc5 Rb1+ 42.Nf1 Bb5 43.h4 Bxf1 44.hxg5 Kxg5 45.f3 Bd3+ 46.Kf2 Rxb6. White is a full piece down and completly lost. 47.Ke3 Rb3 48.Rc7 f4+ 49.Kd2 Bf1 50.Rg7+ Kf6 51.Rg4 Kf5 52.Ke1

52...Bxg2 53.Rxg2 Rb1+ 54.Kf2 Rb2+ 55.Kf1 Rxg2 56.Kxg2 Ke5 57.Kh3 Kd4 0-1.

This is the first game in the event that Nana Dzagnidze (picture above) did not win. Nevertheless, it left her in the lead as another surprise was taking place on the second board.

Former World Champion Xu Yuhua sacrificed a piece in a French Classical, with black, against WGM Munugutuul Batkhuyag of Mongolia. When black failed to follow up with 19...Ba4!, white emerged from the position with a piece for a pawn and eventually converted the point.


WGM Munugutuul Batkhuyag of Mongolia scored a surprise win


Missed chance by former World Champion Xu Yuhua

Another former World Champion has been fighting in every game and round five was no exception. Her opponent Betul Cemre Yildiz from Turkey played extremely well and reached the position shown below.

Yildiz,B (2224) - Zhu Chen (2488) [B00]
FIDE GP w Nanjing CHN (5), 02.10.2009
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.f3 Nbd7 4.c4 e5 5.Be3 Be7 6.Bd3 Nh5 7.Ne2 Bg5 8.Qd2 Bxe3 9.Qxe3 exd4 10.Qxd4 Ne5 11.0-0 Be6 12.c5 0-0 13.cxd6 cxd6 14.Rd1 Qg5 15.Kh1 Nc6 16.Qf2 Qc5 17.Qh4 g6 18.Nbc3 Rad8 19.Rac1 Qe3 20.Bb1 Bc4 21.Re1 Bxe2 22.Nxe2 Qb6 23.Nc3 Qxb2 24.Rc2 Qa3 25.Nd5 Nb4 26.Rc3 Qa5 27.Ne7+ Kh8 28.a3 Nc6 29.Nd5 f5 30.g4 Ng7 31.gxf5 gxf5 32.Rg1 Rf7 33.Nf6 Ne6 34.Rcc1 Qxa3 35.Rcf1 Rdf8 36.exf5 Ned4?

Black has just blundered and White could tie up the game with 37.Qg4 Ne7 38.Nxh7 as the on d4 is hanging with check and mate is looming. Unfortunately, White had been playing her last few moves within the 30 second increment and could not calculate this correctly. Instead she played 37.Nd5 and then just before the time control made another mistake and Zhu Chen took the point. 37...Nxf5 38.Bxf5 Rxf5 39.Qg4 Qb2 40.Rg2 Qd4 41.f4 Rxd5 42.Rfg1 Ne7 43.Qe6 Ng6 44.Rxg6 hxg6 45.Qxg6 Qf6 46.Qg4 Qh6 0-1.


So close to a first win (or first non-loss): Betul Cemre Yildiz


Fighting spirit: former World Champion Zhu Chen

The top seeds fared badly in this round and despite a very good opening, Zhao Xue found herself on the wrong side of the result of a Nimzo Indian. After uncorking 17...Nd4! she took the initiative but then a miscalculation gave White a nice win.

Mkrtchian,L (2468) - Zhao Xue (2542) [E46]
FIDE GP w Nanjing CHN (5), 02.10.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Nge2 d5 6.a3 Be7 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.g3 c5 9.Bg2 Nxc3 10.bxc3 Nc6 11.0-0 Qc7 12.Rb1 Rd8 13.Nf4 b6 14.Qe2 cxd4 15.cxd4 Bb7 16.d5 exd5

17.Nxd5 Nd4 18.Qh5 Ne2+ 19.Kh1 Rxd5 20.Bxd5 Nc3 21.Qxf7+ Kh8 22.e4 Rf8 23.Qe6

23...Nxd5? 24.exd5 Qc4 25.Kg1 Bc5 26.Be3 Bxd5 27.Qe5 Bxe3 28.Qxe3 Bf3 29.Rb4 Qc8 30.Rf4 Bc6 31.Rc1 Re8 32.Re4 1-0.


IM Lilit Mkrtchian took a full point in round five from...


...top seed GM Zhao Xue of China, rated 2542


IM Martha Fierro of Ecuador, rated 2386


WGM Shen Yang of China, rated 2453

The other two games ended in draws of 61 moves and 59 moves. Martha Fierro and Shen Yang battled it out in a theoretical Spanish and the initiative shifted from one side to the other but there was very little real chances for anyone to try and win.


Tough draw in 59 moves: Ju Wenjun, 2443, vs WGM Baira Kovanova, 2408


Ju Wenjun at work in round five

Results and standings after round five

It is interesting to note that with her round five loss Nana Dzagnidze's performance has dropped from 3191 (exaggerted by the "to nil" score) to a more earthly 2657.

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