Monaco GP: Goryachkina and Humpy ahead

by Shahid Ahmed
12/11/2019 – Both Goryachkina and Humpy won their respective games to stay in the lead with 5.0/7. Harika trails behind the leaders by a half point. She made a short draw with Anna. Pia Cramling, Kateryna Lagno and Anna Muzychuk are tied at the fourth spot with 4.0/7 each. | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Chess Endgames 3 - major piece endgames Chess Endgames 3 - major piece endgames

The third part of the endgame series tackles queen endings, rook against minor pieces, queen against rook and queen against two rooks. Queen endings are not nearly as mysterious as they appear at first sight. Knowing a few rules of thumb and principles will make things very much easier for you.
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A dominating duo

Round seven again had only one draw and five decisive games after the scheduled rest day with the tournament leaders Humpy and Goryachkina both playing for over four and a half hours.

Goryachkina overpowers Dzagnidze

Goryachkina beat Dzagnidze after almost a five-hour-long battle. However, the Georgia no.1 was not without chances. Immediately after the completion of the opening, Black had an opportunity to capture a pawn.

 

In general, we do not feel like taking a pawn unless we are absolutely sure that no ill will befall us. However, in this position, there was no sure way to see whether White can get some compensation. So Dzagnidze might have considered playing 15...♞exc3 and taking it in the game would not be that bad either.

 

White's threat of 28.f6 is imminent. How should Black react to it?

Black should play 27...f6 herself.

However, Black made the mistake of playing 27...a4 which allowed White to play 28.f6.

 

Nana captured the b3 pawn with 28...axb3, however 28...a3 would have been a better choice as that would have kept a1-rook's path blocked and the a3 would be menacing.

 

Black needed to play actively and accurately to have any chance, but Dzagnidze went with 31...e6 32.d4 h6 33.e3 b3. Even a move before 32...b3 would have been fine.

 

Find out what Black should have played instead of 33...b3 to stay in the game.

33...♞d5 34.♕d2 ♞c3

Things just went downhill for black after losing the passed b-pawn.

 

Dzagnidze talks about how she spent her rest day | Video: FIDE

Humpy beats Zhao

Zhao is known to play a variety of openings. Against Humpy, she went 1.f3 d5 2.d4 b5, Humpy brought her own antidote with 3.e4

 

Early in the middlegame, Zhao got an advantageous position, but she was unable to maintain it. 

 

Black grabbed the c5 pawn with 26...xc5. However, there was a better continuation. Can you find it?

Both 26...♞d7 and 26...♜ad8 were better for black than the text.

In a seemingly equal position, Black made an incorrect pawn sacrifice with 28...e3

 

It gave White a chance to bounce back and soon she was presented with an opportunity.

 

It is evident that White has compensation for the passed a-pawn. What should White do here now? Humpy got the initial sequence correct, but she couldn't follow through.

36.d3 b7 37.♕c3 is the difference maker

Black missed a simple tactic to equalize the position and instead got into a worse situation.

 

Find out what Black missed here.

Black should have played 39...♞xc5 40.♕c2 ♚g8

Zhao continued the game with 39...b8 and Humpy wisely retreated her Bishop with 40.a1!, keeping it the long and important diagonal of the position. Black offered a queen exchange with 40...b3 and white invaded the seventh rank with the rook with 41.d7

 

The Chinese GM made a blunder here with 44...xg3 when she could have just continued the game with 44...h4 instead and the position would have remained equal.

 

Even if Black continued the game with 45...♜e3 still it wouldn't have changed the outcome. The game eventually liquidated into a minor piece winning endgame where white was already ahead in material. It was just a matter of time for Humpy to score the full point.

 

Humpy talks about her rest day | Video: FIDE

Anna vs Harika — a short draw

In Sicilian Rossolimo variation, Anna and Harika repeated moves and made a draw in just 24 moves.

 

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

Anna Muzychuk talks about ice skating on rest day | Video: FIDE

Cramling capitalizes on Gunina's blunder

In an already worse position, Gunina made an incorrect sacrifice which resulted in her losing a knight for a couple of pawns. 

 

What Gunina needed to do here was to defend the threatened d4 pawn with 26.♘f3.

 

Pia Cramling talks about what she did on the rest day | Video: FIDE

Lagno beats Kosteniuk

Alexandra Kosteniuk made an unforced error with 19...f4. Despite having a pair of bishops, it was Lagno who was in the command of the position. 

 

Black needed to play 19...f5 instead of playing 19...f4 and provoking 20.g3.

 

It did not help when Black moved the rook to h5 with 25...h5. Black should have retreated with 25...♜aa8 to make sure the passed a-pawn did not become a monster.

 

Soon afterwards White forced both rook exchanges with 30.g2 and arrived at a completely winning queen and minor piece endgame.

 

Lagno talks about how she spent her rest day | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Paehtz lost one pawn too many

Mariya Muzychuk captured Paehtz's pawns one by one whenever she offered them without any significant compensation for it.

 

In a seemingly equal position, Paehtz completely ignored the fact that e6 pawn is in a pin which means that f5 pawn is no longer supported by it. Black needed to play 27...♛c5 and then challenge the c4-bishop with 28...♝b5, however, Black developed the rook and lost the f5 pawn.

 

Soon Black lost another pawn when she played 29...g6.

 

White missed a quicker win here. Can you find it?

37.♘g5 +-

Muzychuk had no difficulty converting after advantage to win in another 17 moves.

 

Muzychuk talks about what she did on the rest day | Video: FIDE

The eleven-round event continues on Wednesday. The games start at 14:00 UTC (15:00 CET).

Pairings of Round 7

 

Standings after Round 7

 

All games and commentary

 

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

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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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