Lausanne GP: Anna Muzychuk beats Kosteniuk

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
3/10/2020 – The players returned well-prepared after the rest day, which led to five out of six games finishing drawn in round seven. The only winner of the day was Anna Muzychuk, who defeated Alexandra Kosteniuk with the white pieces. This means Aleksandra Goryachkina and Alina Kashlinskaya are still sharing the lead on 'plus two', except that now four players make up the chasing pack, with Muzychuk joining Dzagnidze, Harika and Abdumalik on 4 out of 7. | Photo: David Llada

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Goryachkina and Kashlinskaya still ahead

Co-leaders Aleksandra Goryachkina and Alina Kashlinskaya had no issues drawing their round-seven games with Black at the third leg of the Women's Grand Prix in Lausanne. Kashlinskaya in fact barely broke a sweat, as Antoaneta Stefanova found nothing better than to choose a theoretical line that leads to a 15-move repetition. Meanwhile, Goryachkina played 37 moves out of an Evans Gambit against Mariya Muzychuk.

A couple of hard-fought draws were seen in Pia Cramling v Nana Dzagnidze and Marie Sebag v Ju Wenjun, while Anna Muzychuk took advantage of Alexandra Kosteniuk's run of bad form to get the only full point of the day. The older of the Muzychuk sisters is now within striking distance of the leaders, as she shares second place with three other participants a half point behind the Russian duo that is currently atop the standings.

FIDE Women's Grand Prix Lausanne 2020

Round seven is about to begin | Photo: David Llada

Former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk is having a really forgettable event in Lausanne, as she lost her fourth game of seven on Monday. The Russian played the Petroff Defence and opted for a rather strange line with 6...g6. Clearly this took her rival, Anna Muzychuk, by surprise, as she spent over twenty minutes on 7.g5. The players quickly exchanged queens, and it was clear Black had managed to avoid any pitfalls out of the opening.

White did get the bishop pair though, and Kosteniuk missed a chance to grab one of those bishops:

 

Black went for 23...f2, when 23...♝d6 would have allowed her to play 24...♞c5 next, grabbing the light-squared bishop. Muzychuk had the more comfortable position and a chance to get the initiative, and she started putting pressure on her off-form opponent. By move 39, the players entered a bishop v knight endgame with White having an extra pawn on the g-file:

 

Muzychuk needed 26 more moves to convert her advantage into a win.

 

Alexandra Kosteniuk

Former women's world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk | Photo: David Llada

It has been a rather strange event for world champion Ju Wenjun. After signing two short draws at the outset, she has played five lengthy encounters filled with missed chances either for her or her opponents. In rounds five and six, she went from miraculously saving a draw against Mariya Muzcyhuk to missing a clear chance to get her first win of the event against Pia Cramling.

On Monday, the Chinese played 81 moves with the black pieces against Marie Sebag, although this game never quite left the realms of equality.   

In similar fashion, Cramling was a pawn up against Nana Dzagnidze, but the setup did not grant her chances to fight realistically for a win. Dzagnidze had little trouble defending this position with 3 v 2 on the same flank:

 

About twenty moves later, Cramling signed her seventh straight draw in Lausanne, although it must be noted that plenty of her games were hard-fought struggles throughout.

 

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Pia Cramling, Juan Bellon

Pia Cramling with husband Juan Bellon | Photo: David Llada


Standings after Round 7

 

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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.