Norway Chess Women: Ju, Lei and Humpy prevail in Armageddon

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/28/2024 – Much like in the open section, all three classical games ended drawn in round 1 of the Norway Chess women’s tournament. In the Armageddon tiebreakers, rating favourites Ju Wenjun, Lei Tingjie (pictured) and Humpy Koneru all came out on top and are now sharing the lead with 1½ points each. In the most imbalanced classical encounter of the day, Pia Cramling failed to make the most of a clear advantage against Humpy. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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Rating favourites score

Remarkably, the organizers of the Norway Chess super-tournament decided to put forth a parallel women’s competition with an identical number of players, the same format and an equivalent prize fund — i.e. the players are fighting for a share of the 1,690,000 NOK (approx. 160,000 USD) prize fund, with 700,000 NOK (approx. 67,000 USD) reserved for the winner.

World numbers 2, 3 and 5 in the women’s FIDE ranking made their way to Stavanger, and all three rating favourites prevailed in the round-1 Armageddon tiebreakers after signing draws in the classical encounters. Ju Wenjun defeated R Vaishali with white, Lei Tingjie got the better of Anna Muzychuk with black, and Humpy Koneru drew Pia Cramling with black.

Cramling was the one closest to scoring a win in the slow game, as she got a clear advantage against Humpy in a queenless middlegame.

White here lost her advantage by capturing the pawn with 26.Rxa6. Crucial was to keep the rook on the fifth rank, either with 26.Rg5 or 26.Rd5. The main idea is to give up an exchange if the black knight jumps to f5, since White’s main trump in the position is the very annoying pawn on g7 — a potential Rf8 might be decisive eventually.

After the text, on the other hand, there followed 26...Kb7 27.Ra3 Nf5, allowing Black to coordinate her pieces successfully.

White still had a slight edge, but Humpy showed good defensive skills until getting a 37-move draw. As mentioned above, the Indian star drew the ensuing tiebreaker to grab 1½ points.

Muzychuk 0 - 1 Lei

Armageddon

Standings after round 1

Rk Name FED Rtg Pts
1 Ju Wenjun CHN 2559 1.5
Lei Tingjie CHN 2548 1.5
Humpy Koneru IND 2545 1.5
4 Anna Muzychuk UKR 2505 1
R Vaishali IND 2489 1
Pia Cramling SWE 2449 1

All games - Classical

All games - Armageddon


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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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