Nicosia GP: Wagner beats Lagno, leads

by André Schulz
5/24/2023 – After the rest day in Nicosia, Dinara Wagner celebrated her third victory in the seventh round of the Women’s Grand Prix. The German representative, who is also the lowest-rated player in the field, emerged victorious against Kateryna Lagno after a complicated tactical fight and now is the sole leader in the standings. | Photo: FIDE / Mark Livshitz

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A tactical struggle

Dinara Wagner might be the surprise of the Women’s Grand Prix in Nicosia. The German WGM got off to a great start with her win over Aleksandra Goryachkina and followed it up with another white win against Oliwia Kiolbasa. She did not lose any of her remaining games against strong opponents from the world’s elite, and is likely to have gained some respect among her colleagues.

After the rest day, the seventh round of the tournament took place on Tuesday when Dinara Wagner played Kateryna Lagno with the black pieces, a multiple tournament winner and number four in the current women’s world ranking.

After a rather quiet start in the Rossolimo Variation of the Sicilian Defence, the game finally gained momentum and led to highly tactical and exciting intricacies, which were difficult to assess with little time on the clock. Dinara Wagner ended up prevailing with her bold decisions, and claimed her third win in this tournament.

Thanks to this victory, Dinara Wagner is now the sole leader in this Grand Prix.

The 23-year-old from Elista was invited to the Grand Prix series via a wildcard. In 2022 she married Dennis Wagner and transferred to the German Federation. The German Federation was one of the hosts of the current series, with the Grand Prix in Munich that took place in February 2023, and awarded the wildcard to Wagner.

During the tournaments, Wagner realized that she can compete on equal terms with the world elite and thus gained more and more self-confidence, which has improved her performance.

With a rating of 2417, Wagner is nominally the weakest player in the field.

Dinara Wagner was not the only winner in round 7. Nana Dzgandidze won her game against Oliwia Kiolbasa while Bibisara Assaubayeva defeated Alexandra Kosteniuk. After her second defeat in the tournament, the former world champion is falling behind in the race for a qualification spot in the next edition of the Women’s Candidates Tournament.

Results - Round 7

Standings - Round 7

All games

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.