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Monaco GP R5: Goryachkina misses a chance to catch up with Humpy

by Shahid Ahmed - 08/12/2019

Humpy had a quiet draw with Kateryna Lagno to maintain her sole lead. Pia Cramling had an uneventful draw with Nana Dzagnidze. Goryachkina missed a win against Paehtz, thus missing the opportunity to join Humpy in the lead. Harika beat Gunina after the latter blundered in the endgame. Anna Muzychuk missed an initiative in the opening against Kosteniuk and later made an exchange sacrifice which eventually turned out incorrect and she lost the game. Zhao Xue missed a win against Mariya in time pressure. Five players Pia Cramling, Nana Dzagnidze, Aleksandra Goryachkina, Harika Dronavalli and Alexandra Kosteniuk are at 3.0/5, a half point behind the leader Humpy, going into the final round before the rest day. Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Humpy still in the lead

Round 5 witnessed two decisive games and four draws. However two of them were very exciting draws. Humpy maintained her lead by a half point after making a short draw with Kateryna Lagno.

Lagno holds Humpy to a draw

Humpy faced Grunfeld Exchange variation for the second time in this tournament, this time against World Blitz champion Kateryna Lagno. In round 1, she defeated Mariya Muzychuk in the same line. However, Lagno deviated with 14...bxc5 instead of Mariya's 14...a6

Humpy - Lagno

Position after 14...bxc5

The game ended up in a draw after neither side could extract anything out of their position.

Humpy had a quick finish | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Cramling vs Dzagnidze - a short draw

In Queen's Gambit Declined Ragozin Defense, pieces got exchanged rapidly and the game arrived at an Opposite color bishop ending which was equal at move no.26. A draw was agreed after another six moves.

Nana Dzagnidze is still undefeated | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Gunina blunders against Harika

In Semi-Slav, Gunina played in her usual style and went for a sharp line with 7.g4, Harika obliged and took it with 7.Nxg4.

Gunina - Harika

What should white do after 7.g4

After 14.0-0-0, Harika felt that she had two choices either 14...0-0-0 or 14...Rg8. Since castling allows 15.Rg1, she opted for 14...♜g8

Position after 14.0-0-0

Position after 16.f5

Harika said, "Here I did not expect the move f5 at all because I was trying to figure out how white is getting e4. I felt that I completely okay after 16.f5. It was all getting forced after 16...Nf6"

Position after 20...fxe6

Here Gunina made the mistake of playing 21.c5. Harika expected her opponent to play 21.Bd3 Rg8 22.Qxh7 and she thought this position to be dead equal.

Position after 31.Bf7

Harika was thinking a lot about this 31.Bf7 Re7 32.Rh8+ Bd8 33.Bf6 Rxf7 33.Bxd8. "Even this should be fine. But I felt it's unnecessary to give such chances. I can just move the bishop and it should be completely fine. Then I realized at the last minute that I am having 31...Re1 so I played 30...f4. Then I was shocked when she played 31.Bf7"

Harika talks about how she dealt with the previous round loss | Video: FIDE

Zhao misses win in time pressure

Since Zhao Xue plays a lot of openings and variations, it was difficult to prepare for her according to Mariya. She did not see any games in her database where Zhao played 6...Qc7

Mariya - Zhao

Position after 9...f5

Should white take on f5 with 10.exf5 ?

Position after 17...a5

It seems like black has everything under control. What should be the correct plan for white?

Find out the best continuation for black after 23.h5

After 23.h5 c4 24.hxg6+ Kg8 25.Kb1, Mariya felt, "I knew that I am much worse here and I am playing for some hope to save it."

Black has a winning attack, what should black do after 32.Ne4

Zhao had one last chance to win the game, but due to time pressure she was unable to find it.

What is the best way to capture at c3 after 34.Bc3

Black took on c3 with 34...Rxc3+ and all hopes for win went away with that. White managed to equalize easily after that and the game ended up in a draw in another ten moves.

Mariya would be happy to get away with a draw | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Paehtz saves the day with a 'desperado'

Elisabeth Paehtz opted for Pirc Defence with black pieces and she managed to equalize easily. However she landed into an inferior endgame..

Paehtz - Goryachkina

Position after 29...Ne3

White continued here with 30.Ra7 Bd5 31.Nxe6+ Kf6 32.Nc5 rendering black unable to recover the lost pawn.


Soon Paehtz lost couple of more pawns and landed in a completely lost position.

Position after 38.Rxf7+

Goryachkina decided to exchange the knights and remove all possibility for black to stir up any trouble, at the cost of two pawns.

Position after 42.Nf6

The World Championship Challenger exchanged a pawn on the queenside to create a passed pawn on b-file.

Position after 55.Rb2

Black has one last desperate attempt to salvage the game and Paehtz did it with 55...Rxb3. With very few minutes left on the clock, Goryachkina missed the win.

Position after 56...Kxh2

Goryachkina went ahead with 57.Rb8 and Paehtz managed to save the game with ease after 57...g4. Can you find what white missed here?


Paehtz made sure Goryachkina does not get a full point | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Kosteniuk beats Anna

Anna Muzychuk made a good start in Petroff Defense by advancing her pawn with 9.c5 and gaining some space, but she could not manage to keep it.

Anna - Kosteniuk

Position after 12...d4

Here white continued with 13.Re1 and lost the c5 pawn very quickly. What Anna needed to do was to play 13.Nc4 first and try to capitalize on her advanced pawn. 13...Qd5 is met with 14.f3. Now black cannot take it as 14...Qxc5 will have to face the strong threat on e-file with 15.Re1

Position after 22...Rfc8

Anna made a dubious exchange sacrifice with 23.Rxe6 for which she might have thought that white has enough compensation but eventually it turned out that it was not enough. 23.Nb3 would have been a better option.


The material imbalance seemed too much for white to overcome and eventually white lost the game after almost a five-hour long battle.

Kosteniuk got the better of Anna | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE
Kosteniuk talks about what she is doing everyday after her game gets over | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

The eleven-round event continues on Sunday. 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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