Nicosia GP: Wagner remains in the lead, Assaubayeva scores

by André Schulz
5/25/2023 – In the eighth round of the Women’s Grand Prix in Nicosia, five of the six games ended drawn. Only Bibisara Assaubayeva scored a full point, as she got the better of Bela Khotenashvili. Dinara Wagner retained the lead with her draw against Polina Shuvalova. Olga Milko, Business Development Director of sponsor Freedom Finance Europe, played the ceremonial first move. | Photo: FIDE / Mark Livshitz

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Assaubayeva beats Khotenashvili

The fourth and final Grand Prix tournament of the 2022–23 series is gradually coming to an end. Sixteen players participated, each playing in three of the four tournaments.

The two players ranked at the top of the overall ranking will get spots in the next Women’s Candidates Tournament. Zhu Jiner leads the standings with 308 points, but is not playing in Nicosia. Aleksandra Goryachkina is in second place and will probably qualify, as it looks at the moment.  In the open cycle, by the way, FIDE has abolished the elaborate Grand Prix series.

However, the leader after eight rounds in Nicosia is — somewhat surprisingly — the German representative Dinara Wagner.

Dinara Wagner

Dinara Wagner | Photo: FIDE / Mark Livshitz

After her third win of the tournament, where she defeated Kateryna Lagno, Wagner drew with Polina Shuvalova in Wednesday’s round 8. Playing white, Wagner came under pressure out of a Catalan Opening, but defended tenaciously and also successfully.

Five of the six games ended in draws in the eighth round, which is rather unusual for a women’s tournament.

Bibisara Assaubayeva celebrated the only win, as she beat Bella Khotenashvili. After the rarely played 9...Qc7 (instead of 9...Nc6) in the Exchange Variation of the Grünfeld Defence, the Georgian was rather careless while manoeuvring her queen and later even had it captured. For Assaubayeva, who had not a good start in Cyprus, this was her second win in a row.

“I am happy to have reached fifty percent, and now I just want to play chess and see what happens. To relax here, I sometimes go to the gym, go for a walk or just watch some videos”, the young Kazakh grandmaster explained in the interview.

In addition to Olga Milko, the representative of the sponsor Freedom Finance Europe, the organizers were pleased to welcome Alexandra Attalides, a member of parliament from the Green Party, Annita Demetriou, the speaker of the Cypriot House of Representatives, and Criton Tornaritis, the president of the Cypriot Chess Federation. 

Alexandra Attalides following the game between Bibisara Assaubayeva and Bela Khotenashvili | Photo: FIDE / Mark Livshitz

Results - Round 8

Standings - Round 8

All games

Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.1-6

In this Videocourse we deal with different aspects of the middlegame which are important to study and improve your general understanding of chess structures.


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