Monaco GP: Humpy escapes with a draw

by Shahid Ahmed
12/7/2019 – Tournament leader Humpy maintained her lead after surviving quite a few missed opportunities by her opponent Nana Dzagnidze. Anna Muzychuk arguably had the most interesting game of the round against Kateryna Lagno after almost a five-hour long game. Pia Cramling finally managed to convert advantage into a victory after her opponent Elisabeth Paehtz blundered and made a few inaccuracies under time pressure. Valentina Gunina's tough luck at the tournament continues as this time she made a huge error in the opening against Zhao Xue after which she could not recover for the rest of the game. Goryachkina beat Harika, after the latter made a wrong exchange which resulted in an isolated pawn and advanced king for her opponent. Kosteniuk and Mariya Muzychuk made a grandmaster draw in just 23 moves. | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

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Chess Endgames 9 - Rook and Minor Piece Chess Endgames 9 - Rook and Minor Piece

Endings with rook and minor piece against rook and minor piece occur very frequently, even more often than rook endings, yet there's not much literature on them. This endgame DVD fills this gap. The four different material constellations rook and knight vs rook and knight, rooks and opposite coloured (and same coloured ) bishops and rook and bishop vs rook and knight are dealt with. In view of the different material constellations Karsten Mueller explains many guidelines like e.g. "With knights even a small initiative weighs heavily".


Humpy survives a scare

For the third consecutive round, four decisive results and two draws have taken place. Humpy maintained her lead by a half point after surviving against Dzagnidze where the Indian felt that her opponent was better throughout the game.

Dzagnidze misses many opportunities

Humpy opted for the Queen's Indian Defence. She had trouble getting her light square bishop out in the play for the major part of the game which she admitted. Within 26 moves majority of the pieces got exchanged and the game arrived at Rook, bishop and many pawns endgame.


Here Dzagnidze defended the d4-pawn with 26.♖d1, instead she should have activated the king with 26.♔e3 and if black wanted to exchange the rooks with 26...♜e8+ 27.♔d2 ♜xe1 28.♔xe1 then white is doing completely fine, but maybe the Georgia no.1 did not want to have a bishop ending.

In a post-game interview, Humpy said,

It was not easy. It was a completely positional game but better for white throughout the game. Somehow I finally managed to bring my bishop into the game. It's important to maintain the rook or else it's lost.


Dzagnidze went with 27.c5 however she should have taken the c6-pawn with 27.♗xc6 ♝xc4 28.d5 and white has fantastic advantage.


White missed her final winning chance when she played 38.♖a8 instead of pushing her passed pawn on the kingside with 38.h4.


Humpy talks about her game against Dzagnidze | Video: FIDE

Anna Muzychuk beats Lagno in a long gruelling battle

The most interesting and the longest game of the round was Anna Muzychuk's. She fought for almost five hours before converting her winning advantage.


During her analysis, Anna revealed that she played the 5...b5, 6...b7 variation in the Ruy Lopez for the very first time in her life. 


Anna felt that White should have retreated her knight with 14.♘h2.


In the game, Black continued with 22...fxe5, however Anna felt 22...dxe5 was interesting. 23.♖d1+ ♚c8 24.♗f7, and she was unsure about this.


Here Black played 23...h6, however there was an interesting alternative, can you find it?

White continued with 24.♕f7 ♜f6 and it was all over, Black got a completely winning position and then it became just a matter of time and technique to convert it into a win.


Anna converted her advantage with ease | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Cramling converts too

Germany no.1 Elisabeth Paehtz started well against Pia Cramling, however she made a few inaccuracies and eventually she blundered in the time pressure.


White continued with 19.xc4, but instead white should have played 19.♖f2 ♝e6 20.e5 ♞e8 21.♘d5 ♝xd5 22.♗xd5


Here White should have exchanged the queens with 27.♕c8+ ♛e8 28.♕xe8 ♞xe8 29.a4. If anyone then it is white who has chances of winning.

White lost the a-pawn soon and eventually the game after blundering her queen in time pressure


Pia Cramling talks about a lot of things | Video: FIDE

Gunina's woes continue

Zhao Xue scored her first victory of the tournament against Valentina Gunina. Zhao got a pleasant position out of the opening after Gunina misplayed early in the game.


Gunina should have taken the pawn at d5 with 11...exd5 and things would have been fine for her. However, after 11...c5, white continued with 12.dxc6 xd3 13.e4 c7.


White continued here with 14.c4, however 14.♖xd4 would have been completely crushing for black.


Zhao Xue scored her first victory of the tournament | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Goryachkina beats Harika

Both Harika and Goryachkina kept exchanging pieces at regular interval. Within 25 moves, the game arrived to a Rook, bishop and many pawns ending.


Harika played 22.f1 and Black exchanged on e3 with 22...xe3 23.fxe3 resulting in an isolated pawn. Instead, she should have played 22.♗d2


Due to the isolated e3 pawn and black's better placed king, Goryachkina used the right technique and converted it into a victory.


Goryachkina talks about the game (Russian audio) | Video: FIDE

Kosteniuk vs Mariya had a very short draw

In Caro-Kann Defence, Alexandra Kosteniuk and Mariya Muzychuk made a very short draw in just 23 moves.


Mariya-Kosteniuk game was over way too soon | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

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

Pairings of Round 4


Standings after Round 4


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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