Munich GP: Dzagnidze scores in eventful seventh round

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
2/10/2023 – In a round that could have been a bloodbath at the Munich Grand Prix, Nana Dzagnidze scored the only win to close the gap with tournament leader Alexandra Kosteniuk to a full point. Dzagnidze beat Alina Kashlinskaya with white, while Kosteniuk escaped with a draw in an entertaining game against Mariya Muzychuk. Like Muzychuk, Humpy Koneru missed a tactical shot that could have secured her a full point. | Photo: FIDE / Mark Livshitz

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“These tournaments can go either way”

Alexandra Kosteniuk continues to lead the standings at the Women’s Grand Prix in Munich. After starting the tournament with four consecutive wins, the Russian GM twice escaped with draws from inferior positions to remain undefeated at the single round-robin event. With four rounds to go, she has a full-point lead over Nana Dzagnidze.

In an interview after her round-7 game, Michael Rahal praised Kosteniuk for her fighting spirit, while noting that she often comes out of the opening in worse positions. Kosteniuk replied (with a smile on her face):

Well, I always play like this. This time, I’m just lucky to score more points than I’m supposed to according to the positions that I get out of the openings, definitely. But again, as I said, these tournaments can go either way — sometimes you play well and you just don’t score at all.

Two players entered the round sharing second place 1½ points behind the leader, and both got excellent chances to score full points. However, only Nana Dzagnidze managed to convert her advantage into a win, as she defeated Alina Kashlinskaya with the white pieces. Humpy Koneru, on her part, failed to find a remarkable tactical shot in her game against Zhu Jiner and was eventually held to a draw.

Tan Zhongyi and Dinara Wagner also missed chances to collect wins — albeit not as straightforward — in what turned out to be an eventful seventh round.

Alexandra Kosteniuk

Alexandra Kosteniuk | Photo: Mark Livshitz

Humpy channels Giri, fails to find killer shot

Ten days after Anish Giri won the Tata Steel Masters for the first time, Humpy entered a line that resembled the Dutchman’s game against Gukesh from round 2 at the Wijk aan Zee tournament — which ended in a remarkable win for Giri.

The Indian GM repeated the same idea of sacrificing a knight on g5 and a rook on e6, but after her opponent blundered on the very next move, she could not find the fabulous tactical shot that would have given her the win.


Zhu faltered by grabbing the knight with 20...Bxf3. Humpy, who already was very low on time, spent less than a minute before playing 21.Qxf3, when 21.Rh6 wins the game by force.

The idea is that after 21...gxh6 — White was threatening to give mate with Qh7-Qh8 — the queen infiltrates with 22.Qg6+, making the most of the pin along the c4-g8 diagonal.


In fact, White has mate-in-17 from this position, since Black cannot defend against the trio of queen, bishop and rook with her pieces stuck on the opposite flank of the board.

Humpy still had the initiative after the text move, but Zhu showed great defensive skills to keep everything under control and get the draw.

Humpy Koneru

Humpy Koneru | Photo: Mark Livshitz

Muzychuk’s missed chance

As mentioned above, Kosteniuk was in real trouble out of the opening in her game against Mariya Muzychuk. The latter correctly took advantage of her opponent’s hesitant play at the start of the game, but then could not find the most precise continuation on move 21.


Muzychuk’s 21.Nc4 keeps White’s advantage, but the difficult-to-find 21.b4 was even stronger. The b-pawn push would have created a deadly threat — to capture with the rook on e6 and then play Bc2-b3 to grab the queen while, of course, attacking the bishop on c5.

After the text, White continued to increase her edge during three moves, but then faltered again, allowing Kosteniuk to restore the balance with a nice pawn push of her own.


Instead of dealing with the fact that her d8-rook is under attack after 24.Bg5, Black counterattacks with 24...f4, threatening to capture on h3 with the queen, using a similar theme to the one seen in Humpy’s game.

The counterattack is not winning, but it is enough to force White to use a few crucial tempi to defend her king. From this point on, both players showed level-headedness and went on to sign a 44-move draw.

Mariya Muzychuk

Mariya Muzychuk | Photo: Mark Livshitz

Dzagnidze gets the job done

In another sharp battle, Dzagnidze did manage to get the job done against Kashlinskaya. The Georgian star ended the game with a couple of good-looking rook manoeuvres.


The only thing stopping the e-pawn from queening is the bishop on g5 — thus 48.Rxg5+. Black cannot capture the rook, but can attack two pieces at once while approaching the pawn with 48...Kf8 (the d1-rook attacks the knight and the h6-pawn threatens to capture on g5).

Dzagnidze had seen further, though, and forced her opponent’s resignation with 49.Rg8+


49...Kxg8 fails to 50.e7, while 49...Ke7 is bad due to 50.Re8+ — the knight cannot be captured due to the skewer along the d-file, while 50...Kf6 51.Ne4+ is completely losing for Black.

Game over.

FIDE Women's Grand Prix Munich

The playing hall during round 7 | Photo: Mark Livshitz

Results - Round 7


Standings - Round 7


All games



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.