Monaco GP: Goryachkina takes sole lead

by Shahid Ahmed
12/12/2019 – Goryachkina scored a victory over Gunina and took sole lead with 6.0/8. Humpy drew her game with Harika and they are now at second and third place. Cramling recovered against Mariya after making a few mistakes. Kosteniuk beat Dzagnidze and now is at shared fourth place. Anna Muzychuk made a short draw with Elisabeth Paehtz, Kateryna Lagno had a fighting draw with Zhao Xue. | 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.


Goryachkina is back on top

Round eight had only two decisive results and four draws as Goryachkina soared ahead with her win, but the other leader Humpy made a draw with her compatriot Harika.

Gunina suffers her fifth consecutive loss

Goryachkina beat Gunina and took sole lead. Gunina made erred in critical moments which caused her position to deteriorate and eventually cost her the game.


In the game, Black opted for 13...d5 which means an exchange on d5 completely blinds the b7-bishop which is exactly what happened in the game. The bishop survived till the endgame without taking any significant part in the game.


Black should have made the effort to protect both a7 and b5 pawn. Even though it might look a bit passive but that was the right way to continue as the pawn deficit eventually cost black the game.


Since Gunina already has total control on the c-file as a compensation for the lost pawn, the obvious choice for black should have been 23...♜c6. Exchanging the rooks with 23...c1 only helps White as now she does not need to bother about what to do with the rook.


Goryachkina needed to keep the queens on the board for a quicker win. Can you find the correct continuation?

36.xc6 xc6 37.g5 f5 38.d8+ g7 39.a4 +-

White continued with 36.g5 f5 37.xf5 exf5 and it took another 14 moves for her to score the victory.


Goryachkina talks about her game against Gunina (Russian audio) | Video: FIDE

Harika had an uneventful draw with Humpy

In a post-game analysis, Harika described the contest as 'a little bit boring draw'. 


Harika knew f4 can be played against f5 in this position, however she was not sure if it was a good idea, now that both a4 and a5 are present on the board. She mentioned, "Maybe I should have tried 12.f3 f4 13.♕d2 and then play h4, h5. Maybe this could have been more interesting. Maybe this is the idea actually." 


Humpy talks about the importance of promotion of the game | Video: FIDE

Muzychuk misses a half chance

In the endgame, Cramling made an inaccurate pawn sacrifice which presented an opportunity for Mariya Muzychuk. 


White made an unprovoked sacrifice with 43.h4 which tipped the scale of advantage in Black's favour. White should have simply continued the game with 43.♖d6 and maintained equality.


In the game, Black continued with 45...♜e8, however there was a better alternative. Can you find out?


Black lost the advantage and the game eventually ended up in a draw after another 41 moves.


Cramling-Muzychuk was the longest game of the round | Video: FIDE

Paehtz vs Anna — A short draw

Anna Muzychuk opted for the Marshall Attack in a Ruy Lopez, something which is lately picking up at the top-level. The game ended up in a draw in just 27 moves after both players repeated moves in an equal double rook endgame.


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

Anna observes her sister's game | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Kosteniuk beats Dzagnidze

Nana Dzagnidze incorrectly defended a pawn with 20.♗g4 which resulted in Kosteniuk getting upper hand. 


White needed to save the e2 pawn correctly, but instead played 20.g4 which landed White in a lot of trouble. What was the correct continuation?


Kosteniuk could have increased her advantage by seizing her next opportunity.


Black played 21...xf3 and got a better position anyway, however there was an intermediate move which black missed. It could have probably accelerated black's victory. Can you find it?

21...b5 22.♕c2 ♝xf3

Soon afterwards White started losing a lot of pawns and eventually liquidated into a lost rook endgame.


Kosteniuk is building her way to the top | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Zhao - Lagno had a fighting draw

The game reached to a queen and rook endgame just after the completion of 28 moves. The only chance Zhao got in the entire game was when Lagno played 41...e7 and made a chance for White to get the f6 pawn. The result of the game would have remained unchanged though.


In the game White continued with 42.d8, however white could have gone for 42.♕g8+ ♚h6 43.♕h8+ ♜h7 44.♕xf6. It would still probably end up in a draw.


Lagno and Zhao talk about their game | Video: FIDE

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

Pairings of Round 8


Standings after Round 8


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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