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Monaco GP R3: Anna Muzychuk halts Humpy

by Shahid Ahmed - 06/12/2019

Anna Muzychuk halted Humpy Koneru's winning streak by holding her to a draw. The Ukrainian grabbed a pawn and trapped her own bishop which was not possible for Humpy to capture by any means. The most exciting game of the round was between Mariya Muzychuk and Kateryna Lagno. Although Mariya won the game with brilliant sharp play, but there were moments where Lagno could have salvaged her position. Goryachkina got back to winning ways by beating Zhao Xue, Nana Dzagnidze scored her first win of the tournament and jumped to tied second position, Gunina also made a comeback by staying true to her style and beating Alexandra Kosteniuk, after suffering two losses in the first two rounds. Harika had a tepid draw with Pia Cramling. Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Humpy maintains her lead

Round 2 again witnessed four decisive results and only two draws. Former World Rapid and Blitz Champion Anna Muzychuk held Humpy to a draw, however Humpy is still in sole lead by a half point.

Anna Muzychuk holds Humpy Koneru

Humpy opted for the Petroff's Defence and soon after the exchange of queens, Anna grabbed a pawn on the queenside

Anna - Humpy

Position after 15.Bxa7

Humpy played the obvious move 15...b6 to prevent the bishop's escape. White was forced to play 16.Ba6+ to prevent the bishop from getting captured. After 16...Kd8, white played 17.Bb7


In a post-game interview, Press Officer, Yannick Pelletier asked about having two bishops at a7 and b7, to which Anna said, "I believe it must be good for white as somehow I think that black shouldn't have played like that. I don't know, maybe the critical moment was when I played 18.Rd2. I think a4 was better."


Humpy on the subject of taking the pawn on a7,

"I think it seems to be playable because there was no clear way to trap the bishop because of the light squared bishop. At one point I was offering 18.Bc6 Ke7. That position is like two bishops (against a rook) and white is having one pawn extra on the queenside. I think that's a very interesting position for practical chess. But what happened in the game was like, I don't see much because even if I try to plan something there are certain positions where c4-c5 threats are coming. So I am kind of forced to repeat the moves."

Position after 17...Bd6

Humpy mentions about offering her rook for two bishops after 17...Bd6 18.Bc6 Ke7.


The game ended up in a draw in 26 moves after both players repeated their bishop's moves.

Anna and Humpy talk about their game | Video: FIDE

Anna has her eyes on Humpy | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Gunina makes a comeback by beating Kosteniuk

Kosteniuk opted for the Queen's Indian Defence and but she played the opening too passively which allowed Gunina to move her pieces freely and place them according to her desire.

Gunina - Kosteniuk

Where should white move the rook and what should be the correct plan?

When she was asked about her win, Gunina said, "I wasn't sure about my game, but I really liked my attack 17.Rh3 so I am satisfied."

How should white continue the attack after 20...Nb5

Position after 28...Kf8

It is evident that white has decisive advantage here, find out the best continuation for white.

Gunina talks about her victory | Video: FIDE

Gunina beats the in-form Kosteniuk | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Goryachkina too strong for Zhao

Goryachkina opted for the Ragozin Defense in QGD. Zhao Xue made an early theoretical mistake which made her unsure about what to do with the bishop.

Goryachkina - Zhao

Position after 9.a3

In these variations, retreating the bishop means not only a loss of tempo but also a misplaced bishop.

Position after 12...Bf8

For the lack of a better idea, Zhao moved her bishop again, thus causing her to lose valuable time.

Position after 13.Rfd1

Here black went with the slow 13...b6 which allowed white to gain total control on the queenside light squares. Slightly better alternative was to go with 13...dxc4 14.Bxc4 b5 where black at least gets to develop the bishop and have some kind of semblance to the position.

Position after 17.Ba6

Things just started to go south after 17...Bc6 and white's advantage became insurmountable for black. Black should have gone with 17...Re8 18.Qb5 Bxa6 19.Qxa6 Qf5 and this would have been much better for black than what happened in the game.

Goryachkina talks about her win (Russian audio) | Video: FIDE

Goryachkina is back to her winning ways | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Nana scores her first win of the tournament

Despite the major part of the game being seemingly equal, Paehtz slipped in the later part of the endgame against Nana.

Paehtz - Dzagnidze

Position after 39.Rf1

White should have gone with 39.Qd7+ instead and not give up the d-file.

Position after 41.Rc4

Instead of activating the king towards the center, white went ahead with 41.Rc4 allowing black to grab pawns with 41...Rd2 and white started losing one pawn too many and eventually the game.

With a win against Paehtz, Nana moves to tied second place | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Mariya's complex win

The most interesting and complex game of the round was between Mariya Muzychuk and Kateryna Lagno. When asked about the game, Mariya said, "Well, yes I won my game but unfortunately I lost so much energy that I definitely need rest."

Mariya - Lagno

Position after 18.b5

Lagno went with 18...b6 which was not the best idea. Instead black should have gone with 18...dxc5 19.Nxc5 c6 which is still better for white but not as worse for black as it happened in the game.

Find the best continuation for white after 30...e4

The most critical moment of the game was after black played 30...e4. The position is definitely advantageous for white but it looks a lot dangerous due to the king being in the line of fire. White needed to play precisely, however Mariya in the game gave her opponent a chance with 31.fxe4 which she later admitted that she missed the 31...f3, 32...Nxe4 idea. White should have gone with 31.Nxe4 Nxe4+ 32.Kg1 Ng3 33.Re1 and white is doing completely fine.

What is black's last opportunity after 36.Be2 ?

Lagno got one last opportunity after 36.Be2, however she missed it and misplayed with 36...Nge5+. Black could have salvaged the position with 36...Qg3+ 37.Rf3 Nge5+ 38.Kc2 Qg6+ 39.Kb3 Nxb6

Mariya talks about the game | Video: FIDE

Mariya had the most exciting game of the round | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Cramling-Harika had a tepid draw

In Semi-Slav, Cramling played a sideline 6.Nc3 instead of the mainline 6.Bd2.

Cramling - Harika

Position after 5...Bb4+

Pieces got exchanged at regular intervals and a draw was agreed after 31 moves in an equal Opposite color bishop ending.

Harika won't be happy with this draw | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

The eleven-round event continues on Friday. 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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