Monaco GP: Goryachkina misses the chance to catch up

by Shahid Ahmed
12/8/2019 – Humpy had a quiet draw with Kateryna Lagno to maintain her sole lead. Pia Cramling had an uneventful draw with Nana Dzagnidze. A further pair of draws, plus two decisive games leaves five players — Cramling, Dzagnidze, Goryachkina, Harika and Kosteniuk — on 3.0/5, a half point behind the leader. | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Chess Endgames 8 - Practical Rook Endgames Chess Endgames 8 - Practical Rook Endgames

Rook endings are amongst the most frequently encountered endgames there are, and so your training effort will be quickly repaid in the form of half and full points. Knowing even a few rules of thumb and key methods makes life a great deal easier and provides a guiding light even in complex positions. This DVD focuses on the important themes which are to be found in common rook endings.


Humpy still in the lead

Round five witnessed two decisive games and four draws. However, two of the draws were very exciting. Humpy maintained her lead by a half point after making a short draw with Kateryna Lagno. Goryachkina missed a win against Paehtz, thus missing the opportunity to join Humpy in the lead. Harika beat Gunina after the latter blundered in the endgame. Anna Muzychuk missed an initiative in the opening against Kosteniuk and later made an exchange sacrifice which eventually turned out to be incorrect, and she lost. Zhao Xue missed a win against Mariya Muzychuk in time pressure.

Lagno holds Humpy to a draw

Humpy faced the Gruenfeld Exchange variation for the second time in this tournament, this time against World Blitz champion Kateryna Lagno. In round one, she defeated Mariya Muzychuk in the same line. However, Lagno deviated with 14...bxc5 instead of Mariya's 14...a6.


The game ended up in a draw after neither side could extract anything out of their position.


Humpy had a quick finish | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Cramling vs Dzagnidze — a short draw

In Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin Defense, pieces got exchanged rapidly and the game arrived at an opposite-colour bishop ending which was equal on move 26. A draw was agreed after another six moves. 


The Ragozin Defense

The Ragozin is being played by every top grandmaster in the world - it is time you also add it to your repertoire to get interesting and dynamic positions against 1. d4!
GM Alejandro Ramirez analyses every single move that White can play once the Ragozin is reached, but due to several transpositional possibilities he always emphasises strategic goals to keep in mind.

Nana Dzagnidze is still undefeated | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Gunina blunders against Harika

In Semi-Slav, Gunina played in her usual style and went for a sharp line with 7.g4, Harika obliged and took it with 7.xg4:


Later, after 14.0-0-0, Harika felt that she had two choices either 14...0-0-0 or 14...♜g8.


Since castling allows 15.♖g2, she opted for 14...g8, and after 15.xg8 xg8:


Harika said, "Here I did not expect the move f5 at all because I was trying to figure out how white is getting e4. I felt that I was completely okay after 16.f5. It was all getting forced after 16...f6."


Here Gunina made the mistake of playing 21.c5. Harika expected her opponent to play 21.♗d3 ♜g8 22.♕xh7, and she thought this position to be dead equal.


Harika was thinking a lot about this 31.♗f7 ♜e7 32.Rh8+ Bd8 33.Bf6 Rxf7 33.Bxd8. "Even this should be fine. But I felt it's unnecessary to give such chances. I can just move the bishop and it should be completely fine. Then I realized at the last minute that I am having 31...♜e1, so I played 30...f4. Then I was shocked when she played 31.♗f7."


Harika talks about how she dealt with the previous round loss | Video: FIDE

Zhao misses win in time pressure

Since Zhao Xue plays a lot of openings and variations, it was difficult to prepare for her according to Mariya Muzychuk. She did not see any games in her database where Zhao played 6...c7.


Taking on f5 with 10.exf5 is an option for white. 


It seems like Black has everything under control. What should be the correct plan for White?


After 23.h5 c4 24.hxg6+ g8 25.b1, Mariya felt, "I knew that I am much worse here, and I am playing for some hope to save it."


Black has a winning attack, but after 32.e4, what should Black do?


Zhao had one last chance to win the game, but due to time pressure she was unable to find it.


With the bishop! Black took on c3 with 34...xc3+ and all hopes for win went away with that. White managed to equalize easily after that and the game ended up in a draw in another ten moves.


Mariya would be happy to get away with a draw | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Paehtz saves the day with a 'desperado'

Elisabeth Paehtz opted for Pirc Defence with the black pieces, and she managed to equalize easily. However, she landed in an inferior endgame.


White continued here with 30.a7 d5 31.xe6+ f6 32.c5 rendering Black unable to recover the lost pawn.

Soon Paehtz lost couple of more pawns and was in a completely lost position.


Goryachkina decided to exchange the knights and remove all possibility for Black to stir up any trouble, at the cost of two pawns.


The World Championship Challenger exchanged a pawn on the queenside to create a passed pawn on b-file.


Black has one last desperate attempt to salvage the game and Paehtz did it with 55...xb3.  With very few minutes left on the clock, Goryachkina missed the win.


Find the only way for White to win.

Only 57.♖b4 wins. Goryachkina went with 57.b8 and Paehtz managed to save the game with ease after 57...g4.


Paehtz made sure Goryachkina does not get a full point | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Kosteniuk beats Anna

Anna Muzychuk made a good start in Petroff Defense by advancing her pawn with 9.c5 and gaining some space, but she could not manage to keep it.


Here white continued with 13.e1 and lost the c5 pawn very quickly. What Anna needed to do was to play 13.♘c4 first and try to capitalize on her advanced pawn. 13...♛d5 is met with 14.f3. Now black cannot take it as 14...♛xc5 will have to face the strong threat on e-file with 15.♖e1.


Anna made a dubious exchange sacrifice with 23.xe6 for which she might have thought that White has enough compensation but eventually it turned out that it was not enough. 23.♘b3 would have been a better option.

The material imbalance seemed too much for White to overcome and eventually she lost the game after an almost five hour long battle.


Kosteniuk got the better of Anna | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Kosteniuk talks about what she is doing every day after her game is over | Video: FIDE

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

Pairings of Round 5


Standings after Round 5


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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