Lopota Final: Fitting Finish

by Alejandro Ramirez
7/2/2014 – The tournament finished with a mixture of ferocious chess in some games and very subdued battles in others. Ju Wenjun finished tied for second with Danielian, who drew Hou Yifan in the last round, after her ultra-risky approach to chess backfired badly on her. Khotenashvili won an important moral victory by defeating Humpy. At the end of the day, Hou Yifan won by two full points.

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The fifth stage of the the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix series 2013-2014 is taking place in Lopota, Georgia from the 19th of June until the 1st of July 2014. It is a twelve-player round robin with time controls of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, with 30 minutes plus an additional 30 seconds per move for the rest of the game. The total prize fund is 60,000, with the winner getting 10,000 Euro.

Round Eleven

Round 11 – July 01 2014, 13:00h
Dronavalli Harika 2503
½-½
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2488
Muzychuk, Anna 2561
½-½
Dzagnidze, Nana 2541
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2532
1-0
Ju Wenjun 2532
Danielian, Elina 2460
½-½
Hou Yifan 2629
Muminova, Nafisa 2332
0-1
Zhao Xue 2538
Khotenashvili, Bela 2518
1-0
Koneru Humpy 2613

The tournament is now over in Lopota and the results make everything very clear. Hou Yifan was absolutely dominant in this event, maybe even more so than she was in Khanty-Mansiysk, and she is inches away from reaching 2650, a feat that only Judit Polgar has been able to achieve in Women's Chess.

The tournament wasn't all about her, however. Ju Wenjun had a magnificent event with strong chess and her last round loss was a blemish in an otherwise memorable tournament. Danielian's second half of the tournament was a strong surge that catapulted her to the top positions of the event and it ends with her being the biggest rating winner with a massive 25 points. Actually between the top three finishers an amazing 56 rating points were won!

Dzagnidze was unable to keep her second place that she held for such a long time. Still, her tournament was good and the fourth place is not undeserved. Humpy and Muzychuk had unsatisfying results. Both of them are trying to pressure Hou Yifan as the top player in women's chess, but their disappointing result combined with the Chinese's dominance makes the gap much larger than it was.

Khotenashvili and Zhao Xue had a terrible tournament losing nearly 50 points between the both of them alone. They will have to lick their wounds and try again in the next cycle. Muminova will need to learn how to convert the few chances and advantages she gets in this top level tournament to be able to escape being in the last places; this time she was last by a full 1.5 points. The ability to score more points is certainly there, but somehow the results don't show it.

Harika, Dronavalli ½-½ Stefanova, Antoaneta
The ...a6 variation of the Semi-Slav has become a very solid weapon in Black's arsenal. Harika was unable to prove any kind of advantage in this system and the draw was a fair result in a balanced and closed position.

A good +1 performance for Stefanova who gains 11 rating points

Muyzchuk, Anna ½-½ Dzagnidze, Nana
The exchange French is not normally a variation that is seen at the grandmaster level, mainly due to its drawish tendencies. This was not the case today as Muzychuk actually got a very comfortable edge that quickly turned into a dangerous advantage when her pieces were fully developed and her opponent was far from doing so.

In a normal day, or maybe after a rest day, Muzychuk would surely have converted such a position, but in this tournament things weren't clicking for her and she could only manage to draw.

Anna Muzychuk spoiled a good advantage in her last round game

Even though her second half of the tournament was nowhere near as good as the first, Nana Dzagnidze can be happy with her overall result

Kosteniuk, Alexandra 1-0 Ju Wenjun
Ju Wenjun played this game as if it was the last game of a knock-out and she had to win to remain in the tournament. Of course, all she needed was a draw for a good chance to clinch second place. Her plan backfired badly and Kosteniuk was able to win against a pawn structure that was simply too shattered from the early aggression.

Ju Wenjun's ultra aggressive stance did not work out this time around

A last round victory for Alexandra Kosteniuk makes her tournament about average

Danielian, Elina ½-½ Hou Yifan
The World Champion played an atrocious opening, but it was ok because it seemed that Danielian was satisfied with just playing for a draw. Eventually this was the result.

The sponsors can be happy with Hou Yifan's choice of shirt for the last round

Chinese Pineapple pastries were staple in Hou Yifan's games

Muminova, Nafisa 0-1 Zhao Xue
Muminova obtianed a very slight advantage from the opening, but she completely panicked when Zhao Xue suddenly threw all of her pawns on the kingside forward before even finishing development. In her desperation she committed mistake after mistake and although Zhao Xue didn't finish her off with surgical precision, it was good enough to win.

Khotenashvili, Bela 1-0 Koneru, Humpy
Humpy's bizarre version of a Benoni was less than successful and by move 15 Khotenashvili enjoyed a clear advantage. Khotenashvili played well and wrecked Humpy's position.

A relief in an otherwise terrible tournament for Bela Khotenashvili

Humpy also cannot be happy with her performance here

Standings after eleven rounds

Round eleven games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Photos and information by Alina l'Ami, from the official website

Schedule and results

Round 01 – June 19 2014, 15:00h
Koneru Humpy 2613
1-0
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2488
Zhao Xue 2538
½-½
Khotenashvili, Bela 2518
Hou Yifan 2629
1-0
Muminova, Nafisa 2332
Ju Wenjun 2532
1-0
Danielian, Elina 2460
Dzagnidze, Nana 2541
½-½
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2532
Dronavalli Harika 2503
½-½
Muzychuk, Anna 2561
Round 02 – June 20 2014, 15:00h
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2488
½-½
Muzychuk, Anna 2561
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2532
0-1
Dronavalli Harika 2503
Danielian, Elina 2460
½-½
Dzagnidze, Nana 2541
Muminova, Nafisa 2332
½-½
Ju Wenjun 2532
Khotenashvili, Bela 2518
0-1
Hou Yifan 2629
Koneru Humpy 2613
½-½
Zhao Xue 2538
Round 03 – June 21 2014, 15:00h
Zhao Xue 2538
0-1
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2488
Hou Yifan 2629
½-½
Koneru Humpy 2613
Ju Wenjun 2532
1-0
Khotenashvili, Bela 2518
Dzagnidze, Nana 2541
1-0
Muminova, Nafisa 2332
Dronavalli Harika 2503
½-½
Danielian, Elina 2460
Muzychuk, Anna 2561
1-0
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2532
Round 04 – June 22 2014, 15:00h
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2488
1-0
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2532
Danielian, Elina 2460
1-0
Muzychuk, Anna 2561
Muminova, Nafisa 2332
0-1
Dronavalli Harika 2503
Khotenashvili, Bela 2518
0-1
Dzagnidze, Nana 2541
Koneru Humpy 2613
½-½
Ju Wenjun 2532
Zhao Xue 2538
0-1
Hou Yifan 2629
Round 05 – June 24 2014, 15:00h
Hou Yifan 2629
1-0
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2488
Ju Wenjun 2532
1-0
Zhao Xue 2538
Dzagnidze, Nana 2541
1-0
Koneru Humpy 2613
Dronavalli Harika 2503
½-½
Khotenashvili, Bela 2518
Muzychuk, Anna 2561
1-0
Muminova, Nafisa 2332
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2532
½-½
Danielian, Elina 2460
Round 06 – June 25 2014, 15:00h
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2488
½-½
Danielian, Elina 2460
Muminova, Nafisa 2332
0-1
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2532
Khotenashvili, Bela 2518
0-1
Muzychuk, Anna 2561
Koneru Humpy 2613
1-0
Dronavalli Harika 2503
Zhao Xue 2538
0-1
Dzagnidze, Nana 2541
Hou Yifan 2629
1-0
Ju Wenjun 2532
Round 07 – June 26 2014, 15:00h
Ju Wenjun 2532
1-0
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2488
Dzagnidze, Nana 2541
0-1
Hou Yifan 2629
Dronavalli Harika 2503
½-½
Zhao Xue 2538
Muzychuk, Anna 2561
½-½
Koneru Humpy 2613
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2532
1-0
Khotenashvili, Bela 2518
Danielian, Elina 2460
1-0
Muminova, Nafisa 2332
Round 08 – June 27 2014, 15:00h
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2488
1-0
Muminova, Nafisa 2332
Khotenashvili, Bela 2518
½-½
Danielian, Elina 2460
Koneru Humpy 2613
½-½
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2532
Zhao Xue 2538
½-½
Muzychuk, Anna 2561
Hou Yifan 2629
½-½
Dronavalli Harika 2503
Ju Wenjun 2532
½-½
Dzagnidze, Nana 2541
Round 09 – June 29 2014, 15:00h
Dzagnidze, Nana 2541
0-1
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2488
Dronavalli Harika 2503
½-½
Ju Wenjun 2532
Muzychuk, Anna 2561
0-1
Hou Yifan 2629
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2532
½-½
Zhao Xue 2538
Danielian, Elina 2460
1-0
Koneru Humpy 2613
Muminova, Nafisa 2332
1-0
Khotenashvili, Bela 2518
Round 10 – June 30 2014, 15:00h
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2488
½-½
Khotenashvili, Bela 2518
Koneru Humpy 2613
1-0
Muminova, Nafisa 2332
Zhao Xue 2538
0-1
Danielian, Elina 2460
Hou Yifan 2629
½-½
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2532
Ju Wenjun 2532
1-0
Muzychuk, Anna 2561
Dzagnidze, Nana 2541
½-½
Dronavalli Harika 2503
Round 11 – July 01 2014, 13:00h
Dronavalli Harika 2503
½-½
Stefanova, Antoaneta 2488
Muzychuk, Anna 2561
½-½
Dzagnidze, Nana 2541
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2532
1-0
Ju Wenjun 2532
Danielian, Elina 2460
½-½
Hou Yifan 2629
Muminova, Nafisa 2332
0-1
Zhao Xue 2538
Khotenashvili, Bela 2518
1-0
Koneru Humpy 2613

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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vdpandit vdpandit 7/5/2014 10:38
Humpy was seeded 2nd but finished 7th. A sad performance which is compensated by good news that she is enganged to an Indian enterpreuner and will be marrying on 13th August.
glanmaster glanmaster 7/2/2014 05:19
Hello Alejandro. If we are going by the same criteria as the top live ratings reached and not the published rating. Then before her two last rounds she had reached the 2650 live rating ! I had looked forward to her two last round games to see how close she would get to Judit Polgar's current. Alas two last round draws kept her 29 rating points away from unseating the Judit's dominance atop the rating list. A great result nonetheless.
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