Monaco GP: Advantage Goryachkina

by Shahid Ahmed
12/14/2019 – Anna Muzychuk held Goryachkina to a draw. Goryachkina takes a full point lead to the final round where she faces Humpy. Pia Cramling held Humpy to a draw. Kosteniuk checkmated Harika and now she is tied at the second place along with Humpy. Lagno made a short draw with Paehtz. Cramling, Harika, Lagno and Anna Muzychuk are at the tied fourth place for now. The final round will determine the winner of the Monaco GP. | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

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Goryachkina takes on Humpy in the final round

The penultimate round of the tournament had only one decisive game and five draws. Goryachkina was held to a draw by Anna Muzychuk; Humpy could not overcome the challenge of Pia Cramling either. They will face each other in the final round to determine the winner.

Anna Muzychuk holds Goryachkina to a draw

In a Gruenfeld Defence, Goryachkina decided to keep her king in the centre and launch an attack on Muzychuk's castled kingside with 11.h4. Anna thought whether to play h5 or allow it. She decided to play in the spirit of the Gruenfeld and continued with 11...b7


The game continued here with 12.e5 cxd4 13.cxd4 c6 14.h5 d5, looking to generate some counterplay.


Anna was not sure whether 16...ad8 was good. She thought maybe 16...♜fd8 was better.


Black thought that Goryachkina might play 18.♗d2 ♛a3 19.♖c3, but she didn't like the position she would get. There was also an interesting variation with 18...♞xd4, which she calculated as 19.♗xa5 ♞xf3+ 20.gxf3 ♜xd1+ 21.♖xd1 ♝xf3 22.♗b4 ♝xh1 23.♗xf8 ♝xf8 24.♖d7 a5.


In the game, Anna went with 18...xe5 as she thought this was a safer choice.


Black also considered 18...♞xd4 19.♘xd4 ♛xe5 20.♖h4 ♝f6 21.♕g4 ♝xh4 22.♕xh4 and felt this is unpleasant for her.


The game continued for another eleven moves before they reached an opposite-coloured bishops endgame, where no side had any chances left for a win.


Goryachkina has all the momentum on her side | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Cramling held Humpy to a draw

In the opening, Humpy played quite passively, which gave Cramling an opportunity to gain a huge space advantage. 


Instead of going with 18.b3 and exchanging a bunch of pieces which led to an equal drawish endgame, what Cramling could have done was to keep the pieces and look for chances in the centre of the board.


White could have gone with 18.♘xe4 ♞b6 19.♗b3 ♝xb3+ 20.♕xb3+ d5 21.♗e3, getting ahead in development.


Humpy felt that after 29...♜a4 she should be better, and she failed to convert the advantage.

Pieces got exchanged at regular interval till move 27. The game arrived at an equal rook and two minor pieces' endgame, and the draw was agreed after the 48th move.


Humpy talks about her game against Cramling | Video: FIDE

Kosteniuk checkmates Harika

Harika opted for the Scotch Game with the white pieces. Within 21 moves, the game reached an equal rook and two minor pieces' endgame. 


In the game, White continued with 22.♘c1. However, there was a simpler continuation: can you find it?

22.bxc5 would have equalized quite easily.


This is a critical moment in the game. If White makes an incorrect capture, then things will turn into Black's favour. Find out the best continuation for White.



Harika had one last chance to save the game. She missed and played the uber passive 24.♗f1 instead. What did she miss?



Find out the finish for Black.


Kosteniuk talks about being an ambassador for Peace and Sports and more | Video: FIDE

Paehtz vs Lagno, a short draw

Elisabeth Paehtz and Kateryna Lagno made a short draw in just 22 moves. 


Lagno and Paehtz talk about what they do when things go wrong in a tournament 

Gunina ends her losing streak

After suffering six consecutive losses in the event, Gunina finally put an end to her losing streak by drawing with Mariya Muzychuk in the penultimate round of the tournament.


The main line is 7...♞d7 to prevent ♘e5 and then Black goes g6, but Mariya opted for 7...g6.


Black missed a winning continuation here and played 22...h8 instead. Can you find the move which Black missed?



Black needed to make an effort to save the protected passed pawns on the queenside with 33...♝e6, but played 33...e3 instead, which led to the loss of the b6-pawn and soon afterwards all the advantage along with it.


Dzagnidze had a marathon draw with Zhao

Dzagnidze had the longest game of the day against Zhao and the game ended up in a draw after 99 moves. Both players tried their best to push their passed pawns, it but neither player was able to break her opponent's defence.


Zhao is fighting for every point | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

The eleventh and final round of the event takes place on Saturday. The games start at 12:00 UTC (13:00 CET / 7:00 AM EST).

Pairings of Round 10


Standings after Round 10


All games and commentary


Live commentary by GM Iossif Dorfman and IM Almira Skripchenko along with WGM Keti Tsatsalashvili | 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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