Sharjah 05: Battles after the Penguins

by Alejandro Ramirez
8/30/2014 – The players were treated to a wonderful surprise in the rest day in Sharjah. Despite the blistering heat of UAE, with temperatures reaching well over 40 degrees, the participants were taken to see... penguins! Some of the players definitely gained some inspiration from these encounters. At the end of round five, Ju Wenjun and Hou Yifan again lead a Grand Prix. Pictorial report.

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The sixth and final stage of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix series 2013-2014 is taking place at the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club, (UAE) from the 24th of August until the 7th of September 2014. Over eleven rounds, twelve of the strongest women players in the world will compete in the round robin tournament with the standard FIDE time control of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, with 30 minutes being added at that point and an additional 30 seconds per move through the entire game.

Free Day

The players took the time on their free day to visit some of United Arab Emirates top attractions, and that meant the shopping malls. The first stop was the Mall of the Emirates. The multi-level shopping center currently features more than 560 international brands, more than 700 stores, 11 anchor stores with a total gross leasable area (GLA) of 234,479 sqm including department stores, fashion, lifestyle, sports, electronics and home furnishing outlets.

The players went out in small groups to shop around

A small break

Others went to Dubai Mall. Behind the players is a relatively complete Diplodocidae. Featuring a long tail sweeping behind, and an equally slender long neck rising eerily high as if bracing for battle, the prehistoric dinosaur stands at an impressive, 24.4 meters long and 7.6 meters high. 

Finally the players went to see a true statement of opulence... penguins under the blistering dessert!

Ski Dubai features real snow and is home to 20 penguins!

The penguins were quite friendly

Some curious players were gentle with them...

While others displayed a lot more affection!

Zhu Chen with an Emperor Penguin, the tallest of any penguin species

Maybe petting the penguin was some kind of good luck charm?

Round Five

Round 05 –August 30 2014, 15:00h
Danielian, Elina 2490
1-0
Zhao Xue 2508
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
½-½
Ju Wenjun 2559
l'Ami, Alina 2446
½-½
Zhu Chen 2461
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
½-½
Ushenina, Anna 2487
Hou Yifan 2661
1-0
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Dronavalli Harika 2521
½-½
Koneru Humpy 2598

Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg ½-½ Ju Wenjun
The players somehow found a repetition in the opening. This suits Batchimeg, who continues with a good tournament, and Ju Wenjun who draws with Black and keeps her lead. Two rests days in a row is not bad either.

In the pack of suitors with 3.5/5 and +21 rating points, a good tournament for Chimy

Danielian, Elina 1-0 Zhao Xue
White's slight pressure was not handled by Zhao Xue in the best way possible. A strong break-through on d5 emphasized Black's bad position and a bad mistake caused her position to be ripped apart even faster.

Alina l'Ami ½-½ Zhu Chen
The player from Qatar certainly outplayed her younger opponent. The light-squared blockade that she obtained thanks to her pawn sacrifice gave her better activity all over the board. However nothing was ever very clear. If Zhu Chen had any real chances it was with the move 26...Bc4! which she missed, but even then her advantage was far from decisive.

Thanks to this draw every player in the tournament has at least half a point

Muminova, Nafisa ½-½ Ushenina, Anna
The tense position in the center led to some interesting pawn trades. Ushenina had a way to obtain a very slight advantage, but she miscalculated and instead ended up slightly worse in the endgame. Muminova's edge was never anything too great and the Ukrainian player had very few troubles holding on to the draw.

It's Ushenina's birthday! The Ukrainian ex-World Champion turns 29 today.

Hou Yifan 1-0 Kosintseva, Tatiana
If anything, it seemed that Kosintseva was steadily outplaying the World Champion. She won a pawn that was hard to hold on to, but instead she managed to install a powerful blockading knight on e5. Hou Yifan had compensation for it with a powerful bishop, but the edge was still Black's in the endgame.

However, as soon as the endgame was reached, the contrary happened. With every move the Chinese player strengthened her position while Kosintseva gave more and more space. Eventually a powerful exchange sacrifice left Hou Yifan in a winning position and she converted well.

It seems that Hou Yifan can win from any position

Dronavalli Harika ½-½ Koneru Humpy
Not the most exciting of games. Humpy chose a good line and equalized without problems, subsequent piece trades left the players in a drawn endgame.

A peaceful game between the Indian players

Round Five Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Standings

All photos by Maria Emelianova

Pairings and Schedule

Round 01 – August 25 2014, 15:00h
Zhu Chen 2461
0-1
Zhao Xue 2508
Ju Wenjun 2559
½-½
Ushenina, Anna 2487
Danielian, Elina 2490
½-½
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
1-0
Koneru Humpy 2598
l'Ami, Alina 2446
0-1
Dronavalli Harika 2521
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
0-1
Hou Yifan 2661
Round 02 –August 26 2014, 15:00h
Zhao Xue 2508
½-½
Hou Yifan 2661
Dronavalli Harika 2521
1-0
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
Koneru Humpy 2598
1-0
l'Ami, Alina 2446
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
½-½
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
Ushenina, Anna 2487
1-0
Danielian, Elina 2490
Zhu Chen 2461
0-1
Ju Wenjun 2559
Round 03 –August 27 2014, 15:00h
Ju Wenjun 2559
1-0
Zhao Xue 2508
Danielian, Elina 2490
1-0
Zhu Chen 2461
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
½-½
Ushenina, Anna 2487
l'Ami, Alina 2446
0-1
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
½-½
Koneru Humpy 2598
Hou Yifan 2661
½-½
Dronavalli Harika 2521
Round 04 –August 28 2014, 15:00h
Zhao Xue 2508
½-½
Dronavalli Harika 2521
Koneru Humpy 2598
0-1
Hou Yifan 2661
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
½-½
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
Ushenina, Anna 2487
1-0
l'Ami, Alina 2446
Zhu Chen 2461
0-1
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
Ju Wenjun 2559
1-0
Danielian, Elina 2490
Round 05 –August 30 2014, 15:00h
Danielian, Elina 2490
1-0
Zhao Xue 2508
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
½-½
Ju Wenjun 2559
l'Ami, Alina 2446
½-½
Zhu Chen 2461
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
½-½
Ushenina, Anna 2487
Hou Yifan 2661
1-0
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Dronavalli Harika 2521
½-½
Koneru Humpy 2598
Round 06 –August 31 2014, 15:00h
Zhao Xue 2508   Koneru Humpy 2598
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494   Dronavalli Harika 2521
Ushenina, Anna 2487   Hou Yifan 2661
Zhu Chen 2461   Muminova, Nafisa 2315
Ju Wenjun 2559   l'Ami, Alina 2446
Danielian, Elina 2490   Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
Round 07 –September 01 2014, 15:00h
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346   Zhao Xue 2508
l'Ami, Alina 2446   Danielian, Elina 2490
Muminova, Nafisa 2315   Ju Wenjun 2559
Hou Yifan 2661   Zhu Chen 2461
Dronavalli Harika 2521   Ushenina, Anna 2487
Koneru Humpy 2598   Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Round 08 –September 02 2014, 15:00h
Zhao Xue 2508   Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Ushenina, Anna 2487   Koneru Humpy 2598
Zhu Chen 2461   Dronavalli Harika 2521
Ju Wenjun 2559   Hou Yifan 2661
Danielian, Elina 2490   Muminova, Nafisa 2315
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346   l'Ami, Alina 2446
Round 09 – September 04 2014, 15:00h
l'Ami, Alina 2446   Zhao Xue 2508
Muminova, Nafisa 2315   Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
Hou Yifan 2661   Danielian, Elina 2490
Dronavalli Harika 2521   Ju Wenjun 2559
Koneru Humpy 2598   Zhu Chen 2461
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494   Ushenina, Anna 2487
Round 10 –September 05 2014, 15:00h
Zhao Xue 2508   Ushenina, Anna 2487
Zhu Chen 2461   Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Ju Wenjun 2559   Koneru Humpy 2598
Danielian, Elina 2490   Dronavalli Harika 2521
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346   Hou Yifan 2661
l'Ami, Alina 2446   Muminova, Nafisa 2315
Round 11 – September 06 2014, 13:00h
Muminova, Nafisa 2315   Zhao Xue 2508
Hou Yifan 2661   l'Ami, Alina 2446
Dronavalli Harika 2521   Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
Koneru Humpy 2598   Danielian, Elina 2490
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494   Ju Wenjun 2559
Ushenina, Anna 2487   Zhu Chen 2461

Links

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Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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