Another change on top, Gunina, Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue in lead | FIDE Women’s Grand Prix Batumi 2016

Round seven of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in Batumi, Georgia, brought more excitement as new leaders emerge day by day.

Just like yesterday, five games were decided and only one was drawn.

Valentina Gunina beat the overnight leader Anna Muzychuk to overtake her on the top of the standings. Gunina is joined by Zhao Xue, who made a mini-series of three consecutive wins, and by Nana Dzagnidze connecting back-to-back victories.

Speaking of series, Elina Danielian ended the bad streak by beating the former world champion Mariya Muzychuk, Olga Girya continued to resist to draws by losing to Dzagnidze, while Lela Javakhishvili is in poor shape for third day in a row.

Another change on top Gunina Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue in lead 2

Gunina Valentina – Muzychyk Anna 1-0

Gunina repeated the Anti-Gruenfeld line that she already used against Anna’s sister Mariya in the third round. Compared to that game, Anna chose a more passive and restrained setup.

The extra space allowed white to claim a positional advantage. Black tried to turn the trend by giving a queen for rook and bishop. At the end of the long combination the white passer on the a-file proved to be a strong asset.

Another change on top Gunina Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue in lead 3

By combining threats against the king and advancing the pawn, white broke the opponent’s resistance and claimed a full point.

Another change on top Gunina Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue in lead 4

Zhao Xue – Khotenashvili Bela 1-0

It was an unusual English opening where both players employed original plans. The game was equal until black made an inaccuracy with 17…Qf5, probably missing that white can push 18.e4 when Nb4 is left hanging in the thin air.

Another change on top Gunina Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue in lead 5

Black gave up a pawn hoping to regroup, but white shuffled her pieces towards the kingside and then launched a decisive attack. 28.c5 and 29.f5 were particularly eye-pleasing.

Another change on top Gunina Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue in lead 7

Girya Olga – Dzagnidze Nana 0-1

The Classical Nimzo-Indian defence quickly went wrong for white as she failed to clear the center in convenient manner.

With better developed pieces black started pressing the weaknesses in the white camp. After doubling the e-pawns, it was only a matter of time before black would win the material.

Another change on top Gunina Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue in lead 8

After the time control black was two pawns up. White gave up on move 63.

Another change on top Gunina Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue in lead 9

Batsiashvili Nino – Javakhishvili Lela 1-0

White started aggressively with the Veresov system. Javakhishvili made a couple of slow-paced moves, allowing Batsiashvili to seize the initiative.

Around move 30 both players committed several mistakes. White was offering an exchange but black refused to take it. They missed that the king is in the square of the c-pawn and that there is no forced promotion.

Another change on top Gunina Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue in lead 10

By the time control white stabilized the position with decisive advantage. It didn’t take her long before clinching the win.

Another change on top Gunina Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue in lead 11

Danielian Elina – Muzychuk Mariya 1-0

The topical line of the Gruenfeld Indian defence practically forced a complex endgame with bishops and two pairs of rooks for the each side.

The position was balanced but Muzychuk rejected the exchange of bishops which would have almost certainly resulted in a draw.

Another change on top Gunina Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue in lead 12

Instead black made an inaccurate king move and white immediately jumped on the opportunity to win a pawn.

The resulting rook ending was extremely complicated and only expert analysis can claim whether black missed a draw somewhere.

Another change on top Gunina Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue in lead 13

Skripchenko Almira – Kosteniuk Alexandra 1/2

Nothing much to say about this game. The Exchange Ruy Lopez ended in a perpetual check in less than 20 minutes of play.

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