Sisters Muzychuk victorious, Anna in the lead | FIDE Women’s Grand Prix Batumi 2016
Another exciting round today at the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in Batumi as five games finished in decisive scores and only one was drawn.
Anna Muzychuk defeated the overnight leader Almira Skripchenko to take her place on the top of the standings. Her sister Mariya, until recently the world champion, scored the first victory in the tournament.
Elina Danielian and Lela Javakhishvili lost two games in a row, while Zhao Xue signed second consecutive win.
Nana Dzagnidze bounced back after the yesterday’s loss by defeating her compatriot Nino Batsiashvili.
As many as five players share the second place half a point behind the leader.
Muzychyk Anna – Skripchenko Almira 1-0
Skripchenko employed a hybrid of Kalashnikov and Sveshnikov Sicilians but later misplayed the opening as the planned d5-break couldn’t happen on time.
Anna is a skilled positional player and she slowly applied pressure on opponent’s weaknesses. Finally losing the patience, black lashed out with 29…f5 seeking the counterplay.
Two pawns and weak king were too much and white finished off the game with a sequence of precise attacking moves.
Javakhishvili Lela – Zhao Xue 0-1
Javakhishvili must still have been under the impression of the yesterday’s shocking loss. It is difficult to find another explanation for her hazardous play in the quiet line of the Catalan opening.
The game had its normal course until white started mixing it up with 24.Ng3 and 27.Bd4. Black grabbed a pawn and traded the queens to reach much better ending.
A nice finishing touch was 45…Ra7 offering the rook to cover the a-file and promote the queen.
Kosteniuk Alexandra – Danielian Elina 1-0
Black used the Modern defence and achieved a very good position. White’s positional gamble with 19.e5 paid off as black was reluctant to cover the bishop’s diagonal and instead of occupying a dominant central outpost she sent the knight back to the starting square.
White seized the initiative, won a pawn and continued in attacking fashion. Black pieces were passive and she was defeated before the time control.
Muzychuk Mariya – Girya Olga 1-0
A sharp game ensued from the rare line of the Caro-Kann defence. Black appeared to be slightly better as she quickly finished the development while white king was still in the center.
Mariya gave up a pawn to castle and win some tempi to bring her own pieces out.
Going into the middlegame, Girya somehow got tied up in the center. White saw her chance and started imposing various threats. Black started making mistakes and after a nice tactical combination she landed into a very bad ending. Mariya convincingly converted into a full point.
Still no draws for Girya in this tournament.
Dzagnidze Nana – Batsiashvili Nino 1-0
The Georgian derby started with the very sharp Vienna Queen’s Gambit, but the things calmed down after the massive exchanges when an ending with rooks and bishops was reached.
White claimed a small advantage due to the potentially dangerous passer on the h-file. She won a pawn but black’s advanced c-pawn caused her trouble.
After lots of maneuvering white finally managed to break her opponent on move 68.
Khotenashvili Bela – Gunina Valentina 1/2
The longest game of the day ended in a fighting draw, first for Gunina in this event.
Playing from the black side of the Gruenfeld Indian defence Gunina managed to put some pressure on her opponent. She was in position to win a pawn, but didn’t find the most precise way and was forced to give an exchange in order to simplify the play.
With no pawns on the queenside, the two fought on the narrow front with too few targets to attack. Draw was signed on move 81.