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Monaco GP R6: Goryachkina, Harika and Humpy lead

by Shahid Ahmed - 09/12/2019

Kosteniuk held Humpy to a draw after missing a half chance in the opening. Goryachkina and Harika scored fine victories against Pia Cramling and Mariya Muzychuk respectively to join Humpy in the lead with 4.0/6 before heading to the rest day of the tournament. Although Goryachkina did not have it easy in round 6 as Cramling missed an opportunity to seize decent amount of advantage against the World Championship Challenger. Anna Muzychuk used correct tactics to beat Zhao Xue and now she is just a half point behind the leaders along with Kosteniuk. World Blitz champion Kateryna Lagno made short work of Nana Dzagnidze in just 28 moves. Gunina's tough luck continues as she again misplayed and made errors against Elisabeth Paehtz | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

A day of misses

Round six witnessed the maximum number of decisive games having only one draw and five decisive results before the tournament headed for the only rest day.

Goryachkina, Humpy and Harika are in the lead with 4.0/6 each | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Kosteniuk's missed half chance

Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take". That became almost true for Kosteniuk's round 6 match against Humpy. The Chess Queen tried Bishop's Opening and that almost gave her the edge.

Kosteniuk - Humpy

Position after 7...Na6

Here Kosteniuk continued the game with 8.a4 which is not incorrect, but it is just a missed opportunity. Can you find what she should have done instead?


White should have gone for 8.Bxa6 bxa6 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Nxe5


That was the only half chance Kosteniuk had. The game petered out to a Queen-knight vs Queen-bishop ending in 28 moves, eventually moves were repeated and a draw was agreed after another 12 moves.

Humpy and Kosteniuk talk about rest day | Video: FIDE

Humpy maintained her lead in the entire first half of Monaco GP | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Cramling misses again

In Queen's Gambit Declined, Cambridge Springs variation, Pia Cramling got an opportunity to seize the initiative but she did not take the chance.

Cramling - Goryachkina

Position after 16...0-0

Here White continued the game with 17.e4, however there was a better continuation. Can you find it?


White should have played 17.Rc7 instead. After 17...Nf6 18.Ne5 Ne8 19.Rxf7 Rxf7 20.Nxf7 and white is completely dominating the position.


Pia's final mistake was exchanging the queens in the incorrect way when she played 26.Qxd3

Position after 25...Bb4

White should have played 26.Rc1 and even after the queen exchange with 26...Qxe3 27.fxe3, white would have done much better than the game.

Goryachkina is back at the top | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Harika's masterful endgame

In Gruenfeld Fianchetto variation, Mariya had no difficulty equalizing with the black pieces. However, she made an incorrect Bishop exchange offer with 23...Bf8. Harika pounced on the opportunity with 24.Bxf8 and claimed advantage for white

Harika - Mariya

Position after 23...Bf8

In a critical moment while the king was in the middle of the board, Mariya went to grab a pawn which proved to be fatal for her.

Position after 32.Rf4

Black grabbed the pawn with 32...Qxa2 which was not a good idea.

Position after 33...Ke8

White has an absolutely winning position, but Harika went for 34.d5 a bit early and missed a quicker win. She had to fight for another 35 more moves to secure a full point in the winning rook and pawn ending.

Harika talks about her rest day plans | Video: FIDE

With this victory Harika joined the leaders Humpy and Goryachkina | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Zhao blunders against Anna

In a completely equal position, Zhao made a tactical error. Anna Muzychuk is not the one who will let these opportunities slip by.

Zhao - Anna

Position after 22...Ba3

White can move the c1 rook almost anywhere and it will be safe. But Zhao blundered with 23.Rc3. Black attacked it with 23...Bb2 24.Rcc5 after a repetition, Black used the correct tactics.

Position after 26.Rcc5

Black played 26...Bxd4 27.exd4 Nxd4 28.h3

Position after 28.h3

Find out how should black continue here to get maximum advantage? It was just a matter of technique for black to convert this into a full point.

Anna shares her thoughts on rest day | Video: FIDE

Anna Muzychuk is now just a half point behind the leaders | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Lagno made a short work of Dzagnidze

Kateryna Lagno defeated Nana Dzagnidze in just 28 moves..

Dzagnidze - Lagno

Position after 14.Rad1

In above mentioned position, Lagno said, "Somehow I have to create some play because otherwise I can be just worse. Because the d6-pawn is weak. White wants to stabilize, so I should do something. So that's why I played 14...Bg4".

Position after 18.Nb3

Lagno thought that her opponent missed 18...Be6

Position after 20...Qxc4

Here white blundered with 21.Rxd6. Find out why it is a blunder and what white should have played instead.

Position after 23.Nd2

White's final mistake was 23.Nd2. Find the finish for black.

Lagno used her tactical skill to beat Dzagnidze | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Paehtz maximizes her double bishops

After declining a threefold repetition, Paehtz made it clear to her opponent that she is playing for a win only..

Paehtz - Gunina

Position after 19...Nd7

White developed her queenside bishop with 20.Ba3, Gunina lost a tempo with 20...Rfd8 21.Be7 Rdc8. White decided to utilize the other bishop and pin the d7-knight with 23.Bg4

Position after 22.Bg4

Gunina made a pawn sacrifice with 22...b5, Paehtz had no intention to free up black's queenside, so she retreated with 23.Qa3 keeping control of the dark squares.

Position after 26...Nc4

Find out why 26...Nc4 is a blunder and how white can capitalize on it. With correct play, White gained an exchange, the rest was just a matter of technique which Paehtz converted quite easily.

Paehtz got the better of Gunina | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Monday is a rest day. The eleven-round event continues on Tuesday. The games start at 3:00 p.m. local time, 7:30 p.m. IST

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Live commentary by GM Iossif Dorfman and WGM Keti Tsatsalashvili along with GM Bartlomiej Heberla | Video: FIDE

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