Monaco GP: Humpy continues her lead

by Shahid Ahmed
12/5/2019 – The second round of FIDE Women's Grand Prix at Monaco witnessed four decisive results and four game went for over four hours. Humpy continued her lead by beating Mariya Muzychuk. Harika Dronavalli scored the first victory of the round by defeating Germany no.1 woman IM Elisabeth Paehtz. Lagno won the All-Russian battle and handed Gunina her second consecutive defeat. Newly crowned European Individual Rapid and Blitz champion Alexandra Kosteniuk continued her momentum and broke Goryachkina's mystique by defeating her convincingly. Both Anna Muzychuk and Pia Cramling missed wonderful winning opportunities against Nana Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue respectively. A detailed report of round 2. Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

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Four decisive results in round 2

After round 1 witnessed only one decisive game and five draws, on the second day, all players arrived in fighting mood, and fight is what they did. More than half of the games ran for over four hours and all four of them had decisive results.

Harika's superb strategy against Paehtz

Paehtz opted for the Semi-Slav Defence against Harika and decided to get out of the opening with 5.c2:

 

Harika felt that 5...bd7 made her life easier. She thought that after 6.cxd5 cxd5 the knight on d7 is misplaced.

 

Although white continued here with 12.b3, Harika later realized that 12.♕e2 would have been a better implementation of her plan.

 

In a post-game interview, Harika said that she felt 18...g5 was the critical moment of the game, it either works for black or it doesn't and in the game it didn't.

 

Harika continued here with 23.h2, however there was an interesting continuation for white. Can you find it? Harika did not opt for it as she was unsure about it.

 

Harika is off to a good start | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Gunina suffers second consecutive loss

In another All-Russian battle between Gunina and Lagno, the latter opted for Berlin Defence in Ruy Lopez, however she spent almost 20 minutes on each of two different occasions.

 

The second move where Gunina consumed another 20 minutes — 17...d5 — resulted in her having less than a minute left on the clock.

 

White might be lacking in development here, but black is unable to do anything about it.

 

It is evident that white has an advantage here, but how should white continue?

 

This is a critical moment in the game. What is the best way for white to take on f4?

 

Lagno admitted the fact that she misplayed and blundered the c-pawn and had to grind another 29 moves to secure the full point. Can you find the correct continuation for white here?

However, Gunina got one last opportunity to redeem her mistakes and salvage a draw.

 

Lagno's final big mistake was 60.h4 which gave Gunina a chance to come back. What did black miss here?

 

Lagno scored a fine victory | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Humpy continues her lead

Humpy got a pleasant position out of the Gruenfeld Exchange variation.

 

White could have gone for 17.♖b1 followed by ♕d5 or ♘c4 depending on whether black plays 17...♛c7 or ♛a7

 

Mariya Muzychuk went for the too passive 23...♜a8 instead of active play by giving up the a6 pawn. Humpy snowballed the advantage into a decisive one and liquidated it into a winning knight ending.

 

Humpy

Humpy makes a perfect start | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Kosteniuk continues her momentum

After winning the European Individual Women's Rapid and Blitz, Kosteniuk continued her momentum and defeated the World Championship Challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina. Kosteniuk got a pleasant position out of the opening in Caro-Kann Two Knights variation.

 

White soon gained a pawn and got a decisive advantage.

 

It became just a matter of technique for Kosteniuk to convert the advantage into a win.

 

The Chess Queen beat the 'Princess' Goryachkina | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Anna Muzychuk's missed opportunity

Nana Dzagnidze went for the unusual 8.a4 in Symmetrical English opening, however soon after delaying castling landed her trouble. Muzychuk missed a good opportunity to capitalize on that fact.

 

The former World Rapid and Blitz champion missed it and played 21...c8 instead. However, soon after another opportunity arose.

 

Instead of manoeuvring the knight to c4, Anna went with 23...d3 and that allowed Nana to equalize with 24.c4. The game liquidated into a drawn rook ending in another six moves and draw was agreed.

 

Anna would like to put the draw behind her | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Cramling's misjudgement

In a completely advantageous position, the Swedish legend Pia Cramling misjudged her position and repeated moves to a draw the game.

 

Find out the best continuation for black.

 

Pia needs to start converting her advantages | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

The eleven-round event continues on Thursday. The games start at 15:00 local time (16:00 CEST).

Pairings of Round 2

 

Standings after Round 2

 

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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