Zhao Xue leads in Women's Grand Prix

by ChessBase
8/3/2010 – Her main rivals Humpy Koneru and Hou Yifan played each other in round four in Ulaanbaatar. With a theoretically drawn ending on the board the gritty Indian tested the wits of the 16-year-old Hou for fifty moves before conceding the draw. Meanwhile Zhao Xue had defeated the legendary Maia Chiburdanidze to take the sole lead with 3.5/4 and a 2788 performance. Round four report.

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The FIDE Women Grand Prix, a series of elite tournaments organised by FIDE and Global Chess, is being held in various countries around the world. There are six tournaments spread over two years, with three tournaments every year. They have become part of the Women's World Championship cycle, which now becomes an annual event.

The current Grand Prix is taking place in the capital and largest city in Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar (or Ulan Bator). The participants include four former Women World champions, playing together for the first time. The average rating of all 12 players is 2487, making this one of the strongest many-player women's events ever. Rounds one to eleven of the event are on July 30 to August 11th, with free days on August 3rd and 8th.

Round four

Round 4 – August 2nd, 2010
Zhao Xue
Chiburdanidze, Maia
Kosintseva, Tatiana
Munguntuul, Batkhuyag
Koneru, Humpy
Hou Yifan
Xu Yuhua
Zhu Chen
Sebag, Marie
Yildiz, Betul Cemre
Shen Yang
Stefanova, Antoaneta

Round four under way at the FIDE Grand Prix in Ulaanbaatar

Zhao Xue (2462) - Chiburdanidze,M (2514) [A15]
5th FIDE GP w Ulaanbaatar MGL (4), 02.08.2010
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.b3 d5 4.Bb2 Nbd7 5.g3 b6 6.cxd5 exd5 7.Bg2 Bb7 8.0-0 Bd6 9.d4 Qe7 10.Nc3 a6 11.Rc1 0-0 12.Nd2 Rad8 13.Nc4 Bb4 14.Qc2 Rfe8 15.Ne3 c6 16.Rfd1 g6 17.Bf3 Bd6 18.Rb1 h5 19.Ng2 Ne4 20.Bc1 Ndf6 21.Bf4 Bc8 22.Bxe4 dxe4 23.Bg5 Bf5 24.Ne3 Rb8 25.f3 Bb4 26.Bxf6 Qxf6 27.Nxe4 Bxe4 28.fxe4 Qe6 29.Ng2 Qxe4 30.Qxe4 Rxe4 31.e3 Rd8 32.Kf2 c5 33.Kf3 f5 34.a3 Bxa3 35.Ra1 Bb4 36.Rxa6 Rd6 37.Nf4 Kf7 38.Nd3 Rde6 39.Ne5+ Kf6 40.Ra7 h4 41.gxh4 cxd4 42.exd4 Rxh4 43.Rf7+ Kg5 44.Rg1+ Kh6 45.Rd7 Rxh2 46.Kg3 Rb2 47.Nf7+ Kg7 48.Ne5+ Kf8 49.Kf3 Rxb3+ 50.Ke2 Ke8 51.Rb7

In this Double Fianchetto English game the legendary women's world champion Maia Chiburdanidze was doing okay in an endgame where she was temporarily two pawns up. In the above position 51...Bc3 or 51...Rb2 or 52...Rh3 or a number of other moves would be enough to hold a draw. But Black blunders: 52...Bd6? 52.Rc1 Kd8?? 53.Rd7+ and because of 53...Ke8 54.Rc8# 1-0.

At the press conference after the game Maia (picture above) said she had got a good position after the opening, but had given her opponent some chances. 21...Bc8 was a bad move. In the endgame she was good, and in spite of some inaccurate play had given Zhao Xue a very difficult task. "Then came my unexplainable blunder and, as a result – defeat." She said was tired and fed up with chess in general. "I have played chess for forty years – that is twice longer than some of our participants’ age."

Shen Yang (2435) - Stefanova,A (2560) [D25]
5th FIDE GP w Ulaanbaatar MGL (4), 02.08.2010
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Be6 5.Na3 Bd5 6.Nxc4 e6 7.Be2 c5 8.0-0 Nc6 9.b3 Be7 10.Bb2 0-0 11.Rc1 Ne4 12.dxc5 Nxc5 13.Nd4 Rc8 14.Nxc6 Bxc6 15.Ne5 Bd5 16.f3 Qa5 17.Ra1 Rfd8 18.Qe1 Qxe1 19.Rfxe1 f6 20.Nc4 e5 21.Rad1 Kf8 22.Ba3 b5 23.Nb2 a6 24.Bb4 Nb7 25.Nd3 a5 26.Bxe7+ Kxe7 27.Rc1 Be6 28.Kf2 b4 29.h4 h5 30.e4 Bf7 31.Ke3 Nd6 32.Nc5 f5 33.Bd3 f4+ 34.Ke2 Be8 35.Na4 Nb5 36.Rxc8 Nd4+ 37.Kd2 Rxc8 38.Nb6 Rc6 39.Nd5+ Kd8 40.Rc1 Rg6 41.Bf1 Bb5 42.Bxb5

After a rare variation of the Queen's Gambit White had been fighting to keep an advantage, but then thrown away her chances in time trouble. Now it was time for Black to take the initiative. Stefanova spent half an hour considering her next move: 42...Rxg2+ 43.Kd3 Nxb5 44.Rc5 Nd4 45.Rxa5 Nxf3 46.Nxb4 Nxh4 47.Rd5+ Kc7 48.Rxe5 g5 49.Re7+ Kd6 50.Rh7 Rg3+ 51.Kc4 Ke5

Now the game should be a draw, but the Chinese WGM loses control and is deftly punished for her mistakes by her Bulgarian opponent: 52.Nd5? (52...Re7 was required) 52...Kxe4 53.b4 Nf5 54.Nf6+ Ke5 55.Nxh5 Rh3 56.b5 f3 57.Kd3 f2+ 58.Ke2 0-1. "I was lucky to win this game," said Antoaneta, "I am not sure if it is correct – maybe there was a draw or perpetual in it for my opponent."

Kosintseva,T (2562) - Munguntuul,B (2421) [C78]
5th FIDE GP w Ulaanbaatar MGL (4), 02.08.2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.c3 d6 8.a4 Rb8 9.d4 Bb6 10.a5 Ba7 11.h3 0-0 12.Be3 Ra8 13.Nbd2 Bb7 14.Re1 h6 15.Bc2 Re8 16.d5 Ne7 17.Nf1 Ng6 18.N3h2 c6 19.dxc6 Bxc6 20.Ng4 Nf4 21.Qf3 Bxe3 22.Nxf6+ Qxf6 23.Nxe3 Rad8 24.Rad1 Qg6 25.Kh2 f5 26.Bb3+ Kh8 27.Nd5 fxe4 28.Qxe4 Qxe4 29.Rxe4 Rf8 30.f3 Nxd5 31.Bxd5 Rc8 32.Kg3 Bxd5 33.Rxd5 Rc6 34.f4 exf4+ 35.Rxf4 Kg8 36.Re4 Rf6 37.Re7 Rf7 38.Re8+ Rf8 39.Re6 Rf6 40.Rxf6 gxf6 41.Kf4 Kf7 42.Kf5 Ke7 43.g4 Rc8 44.Rd3 Rc5+ 45.Kg6

After facing some perils and defending successfully the Mongolian WGM had a draw on the board: 45...Rg5+ 46.Kxh6 d5 47.Rf3 Kf7 48.Re3 Rg8 49.Kh7 Rg7+ 50.Kh6 Rg8 with perpetual check. However she lost after misjudging (or miscalculating) the continuation: 45...h5 46.Re3+ Re5 47.Rxe5+ fxe5 48.Kxh5 e4 49.Kh4 Kf6 50.Kg3 Ke5 51.h4 d5 52.h5 Kf6 53.Kf4 Kg7 54.g5 Kf7 55.b3 Ke6 56.h6 Kf7 57.c4 dxc4 58.bxc4 1-0.

After the game Tatiana Kosintseva (above) said that the Archangelsk Variation may be a popular line these days, even at the highest level, but for her it had come as a surprise and had put her into a difficult situation. Batkhuyag said she had studied this variation at home, but was surprised by 10.a5. "Generally I think it is a good variant, Black has equality."

WGM Batkhuyag Munguntuul, who has not played a single draw

Koneru,H (2600) - Hou Yifan (2577) [E10]
5th FIDE GP w Ulaanbaatar MGL (4), 02.08.2010
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 b5 5.dxe6 fxe6 6.cxb5 a6 7.bxa6 Bxa6 8.g3 Nc6 9.Bg2 Be7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Nc3 d5 12.Ng5 Qd7 13.Bh3 Nd4 14.b4 Rac8 15.bxc5 Bxc5 16.Be3 h6 17.Bxd4 hxg5 18.a4 Bxd4 19.Qxd4 Rc4 20.Qe5 g4 21.Bg2 Re8 22.Rfb1 Qc6 23.Nb5 Nd7 24.Qe3 e5 25.Rc1 Bxb5 26.axb5 Rxc1+ 27.Rxc1 Qxb5 28.Qg5 Nf6 29.Rc7 Qb1+ 30.Bf1 Qh7 31.f3 Qh6 32.h4 gxh3 33.Qxh6 gxh6 34.Bxh3 Kf8 35.Bf5 Re7 36.Rc6 Kg7 37.g4 e4 38.f4 d4 39.Rd6 d3 40.exd3 exd3 41.Rxd3 Re2 42.Rd6 Rb2 43.g5 hxg5 44.fxg5 Ng8 45.Rd7+ Kf8 46.g6 Ne7 47.Bd3 Rb8 48.Kf2 Ke8 49.Ra7 Rb2+ 50.Kf1 Rb8 51.Bc4 Kf8 52.g7+ Kxg7 53.Rxe7+

This is a theoretical draw, but the Indian grandmaster, the second strongest female player in the history of the game, forced her opponent to prove she knew how to play it. Humpy took it to the full fifty move limit before conceding the draw: 53...Kf6 54.Re4 Rb2 55.Be2 Kf5 56.Ra4 Ke5 57.Kf2 Rb3 58.Bf3 Rb8 59.Rg4 Rb1 60.Be4 Rb3 61.Ke2 Ra3 62.Bd3 Ra1 63.Kd2 Rh1 64.Kc3 Rc1+ 65.Kb4 Rd1 66.Bc4 Rd8 67.Rg5+ Kd4 68.Rg1 Rb8+ 69.Bb5 Rc8 70.Rd1+ Ke5 71.Bc4 Rh8 72.Rd3 Ke4 73.Kc3 Rh6 74.Bd5+ Ke5 75.Kc4 Rh4+ 76.Kc5 Ra4 77.Re3+ Kf4 78.Re1 Kg3 79.Bc4 Kf2 80.Re8 Ra5+ 81.Kd4 Rf5 82.Bd5 Rf4+ 83.Kd3 Rf5 84.Re2+ Kg1 85.Be4 Rf2 86.Re1+ Rf1 87.Re3 Rf2 88.Rg3+ Kf1 89.Rh3 Ke1 90.Bf3 Rd2+ 91.Ke3 Re2+ 92.Kf4 Rf2 93.Ke3 Re2+ 94.Kd3 Rd2+ 95.Kc3 Rf2 96.Rg3 Rh2 97.Be4 Kf2 98.Rf3+ Ke2 99.Kd4 Rf2 100.Rb3 Kd2 101.Ra3 Ke1 102.Bf3 Rd2+ 103.Ke3 Re2+ 104.Kf4 ½-½

Determination: Humpy pressing for 50 moves in a theoretically drawn endgame

You can't blame a girl for trying – Humpy in the press conference after the marathon game

Standings after four rounds

In the lead with 3.5/4 and a 2788 performance: Chinese GM Zhao Xue

In a form crisis: Chinese WGM Shen Yang

Information and pictures from Ulaanbaatar supplied by FIDE


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