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Monaco GP R2: Humpy continues her sole lead

by Shahid Ahmed - 05/12/2019

The second round of FIDE Women's Grand Prix at Monaco witnessed four decisive results and four game went for over four hours. Humpy continued her lead by beating Mariya Muzychuk. Harika Dronavalli scored the first victory of the round by defeating Germany no.1 woman IM Elisabeth Paehtz. Lagno won the All-Russian battle and handed Gunina her second consecutive defeat. Newly crowned European Individual Rapid and Blitz champion Alexandra Kosteniuk continued her momentum and broke Goryachkina's mystique by defeating her convincingly. Both Anna Muzychuk and Pia Cramling missed wonderful winning opportunities against Nana Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue respectively. A detailed report of round 2. Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Four decisive results in round 2

After round 1 witnessed only one decisive game and five draws, on the second day, all players arrived in fighting mood and fight is what they did. More than half of the games ran for over four hours and all four of them had a decisive result.

Humpy continues her lead

Humpy got a pleasant position out of the Grunfeld Exchange variation.

Humpy - Mariya

Position after 16...Nc6

White could have gone for 17.Rb1 followed by Qd5 or Nc4 depending on whether black plays 17...Qc7 or Qa7

Position after 23.Qa4

Mariya went for too passive 23...Ra8 instead of an active play by giving up the a6 pawn. Humpy snowballed the advantage into a decisive one and liquidated it into a winning knight ending.

Humpy makes a perfect start | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Harika's superb strategy against Paehtz

Paehtz opted for the Semi-Slav Defence against Harika and she decided to get out of the opening with 5.Qc2

Harika - Paehtz

Position after 5.Qc2

Harika felt that 5...Nbd7 made her life easier. She thought that after 6.cxd5 cxd5 the knight at d7 is misplaced.

Position after 11...Rc8

Although white continued here with 12.Qb3 but Harika later realized that 12.Qe2 would have been a better implementation of her plan.

Position after 18...g5

In a post-game interview, Harika said that she felt 18...g5 was the critical moment of the game, it either works for black or it doesn't and in the game it didn't.

Position after 22...Qc7

Harika continued here with 23.Nh2, however there was an interesting continuation for white. Can you find it? Harika did not opt for it as she was unsure about it.

Harika is off to good start | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Gunina suffers second consecutive loss

In another All-Russian battle between Gunina and Lagno, the latter opted for Berlin Defence in Ruy Lopez, however she spent almost 20 minutes each on two different occasion.

Gunina - Lagno

Position after 11.d5

The second move where Gunina consumed another 20 minutes which resulted in her having less than a minute left on the clock was 17...d5

Position after 17...d5

White might be lacking in development here, but black is unable to do anything about it.

Position after 21...fxe6

It is evident that white has an advantage here, but how should white continue?

Position after 25...f4

This is a critical moment in the game. What is the best way for white to take on f4?

Position after 44...Be3

Lagno admitted the fact that she misplayed and blundered the c-pawn and had to grind another 29 moves to secure the full point. Can you find the correct continuation for white here?


However Gunina got one last opportunity to redeem her mistakes and salvage a draw.

Position after 60.h4

Lagno's final big mistake was 60.h4 which gave Gunina a chance to comeback. What did black miss here?

Lagno scored a fine victory | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Kosteniuk continues her momentum

After winning the European Individual Women's Rapid and Blitz, Kosteniuk continued her momentum and defeated the World Championship Challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina. Kosteniuk got a pleasant position out of the opening in Caro-Kann Two Knights variation.

Kosteniuk - Goryachkina

Black's 29...Nf5 provokes white into doing the obvious

White soon gained a pawn and got a decisive advantage.

Position after 34.dxe6

It became just a matter of technique for Kosteniuk to convert the advantage into a win.

The Chess Queen beat the 'Princess' Goryachkina | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Anna's missed opportunity

Nana went for the unusual 8.Qa4 in Symmetrical English opening, however soon after delaying castling landed her trouble. Anna missed a good opportunity to capitalize that fact.

Nana - Anna

Position after 21.Rd1

The former World Rapid and Blitz champion missed it and played 21...Rc8 instead. However soon after another opportunity arose.

Position after 23.Be5

Instead of maneuvering the knight to c4, Anna went with 23...Qd3 and that allowed Nana to equalize with 24.c4. The game liquidated into a drawn rook ending in another six moves and draw was agreed.

Anna would like to put the draw behind her | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

Pia's complete misjudgement

In a completely advantageous position, the Swedish legend Pia Cramling misjudged her position and repeated moves to a draw the game.

Zhao - Pia

Find out the best continuation for black after 26. Nf3

Pia needs to start converting her advantages | Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE

The eleven-round event continues on Thursday. The games start at 3:00 p.m. local time, 7:30 p.m. IST


Replay Live Stream

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


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