Lausanne GP: Goryachkina and Dzagnidze win

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
3/4/2020 – Aleksandra Goryachkina and Nana Dzagnidze were the first players to score full points at the third leg of the Women's Grand Prix in Lausanne. Goryachkina got the better of Alexandra Kosteniuk while Dzagnidze defeated Zhansaya Abdumalik. Out of all the drawn games, the one that was closest to end decisively was Pia Cramling v Anna Muzychuk — Cramling successfully defended an opposite-coloured bishop endgame two pawns down until move 68. | Photo: David Llada

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Wins of different nature

Four out of six games in round two of the Lausanne GP lasted 30 or 31 moves, including Nana Dzagnidze's attacking victory over Zhansaya Abdumalik. On the other hand, Aleksandra Goryachkina needed to work hard to get Alexandra Kosteniuk to resign and Pia Cramling was forced to demonstrate she knew how to draw an opposite-coloured bishop endgame two pawns down.

In terms of the GP overall standings, Kosteniuk was the most affected by these results, as she is well in contention for one of the two spots to the Candidates. At the same time, this is only Dzagnidze's second event of the series, and after a subpar performance in Monaco she could still rack up two strong showings in Lausanne and Sardinia to rise through the ranks, something the experienced Georgian grandmaster is perfectly capable of doing.

Gerald Beroud, Ju Wenjun, Antoaneta Stefanova

Gérald Béroud, Executive Vice-President of the Swiss-Chinese Association, made the first move in Ju Wenjun v Antoaneta Stefanova | Photo: David Llada

Zhansaya Abdumalik quickly got in trouble with the black pieces against Nana Dzagnidze. Her decision to open up lines on the kingside allowed her opponent to quickly mount an attack on the light squares:

 

Weakening your king's position might not seem such a big deal with the queen on the other side of the board, but after 12...g5 Dzagnidze made use of Black's fragility on the kingside with surprising ease. Only seven moves later, she had a killer battery on the b1-h7 diagonal, and there were barely any pieces defending the neglected black king:

 

With 20.xf4 White eliminated the one piece that was defending the light squares. From this point on, Dzagnidze swiftly infiltrated enemy camp until forcing her young rival to resign.

 

Nana Dzagnidze, Zhansaya Abdumalik

Nana Dzagnidze quickly got the upper hand against Zhansaya Abdumalik | Photo: David Llada

Aleksandra Goryachkina also won, but had a longer day at the office. The last challenger for the World Championship crown gave up the bishop pair for the initiative and got in the driver's seat when Alexandra Kosteniuk carelessly placed her rook amidst White's forces:

 

23...c4 was a mistake due to 24.d2, when there is no way for Black to avoid the exchange of her strong knight on e4, especially due to the x-ray pin along the d-file. Kosteniuk continued with 24...b4 (24...♞xd2 was better, at least keeping control of the c-file) but anyway had to give up a pawn after 25.xe4 fxe4 26.b3 e7 27.a3 b5 28.b4:

 

Black's rook looks miserable on b4, so Black has nothing better than to give up a pawn with 28...d4 to open up the fifth rank for her major piece. Kosteniuk showed resourcefulness in defence from this point on, but it was not enough to prevent Goryachkina from eventually grabbing the full point.

 

Alexandra Kosteniuk, Aleksandra Goryachkina

The all-Russian battle of Alexandras — Kosteniuk v Goryachkina | Photo: David Llada

Three games finished peacefully after exactly 30 moves, but the fourth draw was the longest struggle of the day. During the five-hour battle Anna Muzychuk got the upper hand against Pia Cramling in a Grünfeld setup. The Ukrainian first gained a pawn in an ending with rooks and bishops of opposite colours, only to see her opponent giving up another pawn in exchange for entering a pure opposite-coloured bishop endgame.

 

Muzychuk tried to convert this into a win for 25 more moves, but to no avail — her experienced rival knew how to defend this position.

 

Anna Muzychuk

Anna Muzychuk | Photo: David Llada 


Standings after Round 2

 

All games

 

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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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