Goryachkina, Harika and Humpy lead Monaco GP

by Shahid Ahmed
12/9/2019 – Kosteniuk held Humpy to a draw after missing a half chance in the opening. Goryachkina and Harika scored fine victories to join Humpy in the lead with 4.0/6 before heading to the rest day of the tournament. Kosteniuk and Anna Muzychuk are just a half point behind the leaders. | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

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A day of misses

Round six witnessed the highest number of decisive games, with only one draw and five wins before the tournament headed for the only rest day on December 9th.

Kosteniuk's missed half chance

Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take". That became almost true for Kosteniuk's round six game against Humpy. The Chess Queen tried a Bishop's Opening and that almost gave her the edge.


Here Kosteniuk continued the game with 8.a4 which is not incorrect, but it is just a missed opportunity. Can you find what she should have done instead?

White should have gone for 8.♗xa6 bxa6 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.♘xe5

That was the only half chance Kosteniuk had. The eventually petered out to a queen and knight vs queen and bishop ending in 28 moves, eventually moves were repeated and a draw was agreed after another 12 moves.


Humpy and Kosteniuk talk about rest day | Video: FIDE

Cramling misses again

In Queen's Gambit Declined, Cambridge Springs variation, Pia Cramling got an opportunity to seize the initiative, but she did not take the chance. 


Here White continued the game with 17.e4, however there was a better continuation. Can you find it?

White should have played 17.♖c7 instead. After 17...♞f6 18.♘e5 ♞e8 19.♖xf7 ♜xf7 20.♘xf7 and white is completely dominating the position.

Pia's final mistake was exchanging the queens in the incorrect way when she played 26.xd3.


White should have played 26.♖c1 and even after the queen exchange with 26...♛xe3 27.fxe3, White would have done much better than the game.


Goryachkina is back at the top | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Harika's masterful endgame

In Gruenfeld Fianchetto variation, Mariya Muzychuk had no difficulty equalizing with the black pieces. However, she made an incorrect bishop exchange offer with 23...f8. Harika pounced on the opportunity with 24.xf8 and claimed advantage for white.


In a critical moment while the king was in the middle of the board, Mariya went to grab a pawn which proved to be fatal for her.


Black grabbed the pawn with 32...xa2 which was not a good idea.


White has an absolutely winning position, but Harika went for 34.d5 a bit early and missed a quicker win. She had to fight for another 35 more moves to secure a full point in the winning rook and pawn ending.


Harika talks about her 'rest day' plans | Video: FIDE

Zhao blunders against Anna

In a completely equal position, Zhao made a tactical error. Anna Muzychuk is not the one who will let these opportunities slip by.


White can move the c1 rook almost anywhere and it will be safe. But Zhao blundered with 23.c3. Black attacked it with 23...b2 24.cc5 after a repetition, Black used the correct tactics. 


Black played 26...xd4 27.exd4 xd4 28.h3:


How should black continue here to get maximum advantage?

28...b6 -+

It was just a matter of technique for black to convert this into a full point.


Anna shares her thoughts on rest day | Video: FIDE

Lagno made short work of Dzagnidze

Kateryna Lagno defeated Nana Dzagnidze in just 28 moves.


In above mentioned position, Lagno said, "Somehow I have to create some play because otherwise I can be just worse. Because the d6-pawn is weak. White wants to stabilize, so I should do something. So that's why I played 14...g4".


Lagno thought that her opponent missed 18...e6.


Here White blundered with 21.xd6. Find why it is a blunder and what White should have played instead.

21...fxe4 and white should have played 21.♖d4


White's final mistake was 23.d2. Can you find the finish for black?


Lagno used her tactical skill to beat Dzagnidze | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Paehtz maximizes her double bishops

After declining a threefold repetition, Paehtz made it clear to her opponent that she is playing for a win only.


White developed her queenside bishop with 20.a3, Gunina lost a tempo with 20...fd8 21.e7 dc8. White decided to utilize the other bishop and pin the d7-knight with 23.♗g4. 


Gunina made a pawn sacrifice with 22...b5, Paehtz had no intention to free up black's queenside, so she retreated with 23.a3 keeping control of the dark squares.


Find out why 26...c4 is a blunder and how white can capitalize on it.

27.b3 cxb5 28.ed1 +-

White gained an exchange, the rest was just a matter of technique which Paehtz converted quite easily.

Paehtz got the better of Gunina | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Monday is a rest day. The eleven-round event continues on Tuesday. The games start at 14:00 UTC (15:00 CET).

Pairings of Round 6


Standings after Round 6


All games and commentary


Live commentary by GM Iossif Dorfman and WGM Keti Tsatsalashvili along with GM Bartlomiej Heberla | Video: FIDE


Shahid Ahmed is the senior coordinator and editor of ChessBase India. He enjoys covering chess tournaments and also likes to play in chess events from time to time.


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