Within the penultimate spherical, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk and IM Polina Shuvalova engaged in a fascinating 95-move battle, that includes a daring white king and a wealth of distinctive dynamic potentialities. Shuvalova is in rivalry for first, only a half level behind the leaders of the Nicosia FIDE Ladies’s Grand Prix 2022-2023.
GMs Tan Zhongyi and Harika Dronavalli and WGM Dinara Wagner are nonetheless in a standoff on the high of the scoreboard. Wagner and Tan themselves clashed, every attempting to generate small benefits vs. their aggressive co-leader earlier than drawing with little materials left.
GM Kateryna Lagno continues to have a transparent lead within the race for Grand Prix factors and Candidates qualification. Time is operating out for GM Aleksandra Goryachkina or Kosteniuk to make a final bid for the second spot. A 12 months’s price of competitors will culminate within the subsequent and closing spherical.
The FIDE Ladies’s Grand Prix finishes with spherical 11 on Saturday, Might 27, beginning at 3:00 a.m. Pacific/12:00 CEST.
The way to watch?
Kosteniuk vs. Shuvalova
The opening in Kosteniuk and Shuvalova’s sport makes us rethink all the pieces we find out about king security. In a Sicilian 4 Knights, Kosteniuk’s king balked on the concept of castling and eccentrically headed up the board on the kingside through e1-e2-f3.
However don’t be concerned in regards to the wayward white monarch—that is apparently all principle. This king is taken into account completely protected and even aids the opposite white items in growing, corresponding to by guarding e3 for the dark-squared bishop.
The rationale the king is oddly protected so near the middle is that, together with the locked heart, the white queen can take up a commanding place on the d6-outpost, maintaining watch of a lot of the board. Its dominating placement normally quickly incites a commerce of queens into an endgame the place the white king is extra snug centralized.
As normal, Shuvalova performed in a short time within the first 20 strikes, demonstrating thorough preparation. She sacrificed a pawn with 18…g5, attempting to open traces to the adventurous white king. Kosteniuk gave the impression to be caught off guard, accepting the sacrifice and responding resourcefully however overlooking essentially the most urgent line. Attempt your hand at navigating White’s method via the curiosities of this weird place.
Not surprisingly, the gamers adopted a extra human method. They traded queens, and Shuvalova gained compensation by creating stress paying homage to the Benko Gambit however on the alternative aspect, urgent down the open g- and h-files together with her rooks, joined by her b7-bishop to purpose towards White’s kingside targets.
Kosteniuk safeguarded her weak factors and cleared all her items off the a8-h1 diagonal, away from the light-squared bishop’s intense stare. Shuvalova reacted by activating all her items and taking up the middle with …e5. On this important place, Shuvalova missed her personal alternative to incite chaos.
Granted a contemporary probability, the twelfth girls’s world champion undermined Black’s heart with a forty five.g4!? break, quickly sacrificing the change to enter a knight and two pawns vs. rook ending the place she may press with out danger.
Although Kosteniuk tried to create delicate probabilities within the arising ending, Shuvalova held these concepts off. When the Chess Queen discovered herself in time hassle, she traded pawns and allowed the sport to wind right down to a peaceable end.
This preventing draw is our Recreation of the Day, analyzed by GM Rafael Leitao.
Dzagnidze vs. Mammadzada
GM Nana Dzagnidze opted for the delayed Alapin Variation in opposition to IM Gunay Mammadzada’s Sicilian Protection, avoiding main principle and organising for easy improvement and heart management with Bd3-d2, after which castling and getting ready d2-d4.
Dzagnidze confirmed aggressive intentions when she pressed ahead with 12.e5, however this provided Black d5 as an outpost for her knight. After a sequence of threats and dynamic exchanges within the heart, materials remained even however with a couple of positional plusses for Black: extra coordinated items and a goal in White’s remoted d-pawn. Mammadzada made small enhancements in her place to press her edge, however Dzagnidze was in a position to equalize in time with a couple of correct trades.
Kiolbasa vs. Lagno
Lagno equalized with ease in opposition to IM Oliwia Kiolbasa‘s Ruy Lopez, reaching the thematic …d5 heart break. As the sport developed, Lagno felt that her greatest alternative to create probabilities was enjoying 22…b4!? earlier than Kiolbasa shut down this risk a transfer later by blocking it together with her personal pawn. As the middle opened, many exchanges occurred when White missed her personal alternative to press for extra by creating tactical potentialities. Can you discover it?
When Kiolbasa neglected this, the sport returned to equality, and the gamers quickly drew.
Lagno shared her mindset and emotions in regards to the occasion: “Nothing particular but as a result of the event just isn’t over. It is a arduous event, and everyone seems to be drained already. However, what to do, nonetheless one sport to go, and I ought to focus myself.”
Harika vs. Khotenashvili
Within the English, Harika gained a slight edge with the long-term energy of her g2-bishop, aiming down the longest open diagonal on the board, and her knight on the potent d5-outpost. Nevertheless, GM Bella Khotenashvili‘s place out of the opening was very steady with no actual weaknesses. White’s important plan is to organize the queenside break of a pawn push to b4, however Black blocked this by beating her to it.
Because the queenside recordsdata opened, the gamers tried to create small imbalances in exercise and pawn construction. However in the end, there was a slew of exchanges: all of the rooks on the queenside and the light-squared bishops—neutralizing White’s mighty fianchettoed bishop—and the sport remained stage.
Wagner vs. Tan
Wagner and Tan performed into the very balanced Bogo-Indian, which results in an early commerce of dark-squared bishops, giving either side extra space to get a cushty place. Many trades ensued till the gamers reached an excellent knight and pawn ending.
Within the endgame, the gamers maneuvered for modest features: Wagner introduced her knight to the d5-outpost and gained house on the queenside. To counter, Tan expanded on the kingside.
Quickly, all the middle and kingside pawns had been traded away. Although Tan had a extra lively king, with simply two pawns left every on the identical queenside recordsdata, the gamers agreed to a draw.
Assaubayeva vs. Goryachkina
IM Bibisara Assaubayeva performed the stable Alternate Variation of the Slav Protection, going into an excellent symmetrical place the place each side have a cushty sport. Goryachkina equalized with none issue, and the gamers repeated the place beginning on transfer 17.
Outcomes – Spherical 10
|Assaubayeva||1/2 – 1/2||Goryachkina|
|Harika||1/2 – 1/2||Khotenashvili|
|Wagner||1/2 – 1/2||Tan|
|Dzagnidze||1/2 – 1/2||Mammadzada|
|Kosteniuk||1/2 – 1/2||Shuvalova|
|Kiolbasa||1/2 – 1/2||Lagno|
Standings – Spherical 10
After this all-draw spherical, the standings stay the identical with three gamers nonetheless deadlocked in a tie for first: Wagner, Harika, and Tan. With only one spherical remaining, who’s most probably to win this occasion? Of the highest three, Tan is simply the one with the white items, giving her the perfect alternative to press for the complete level and clinch the event outright.
If the three leaders draw or lose, Shuvalova is only a half level behind and with white faces Kiolbasa. With this opportunity to doubtlessly take part a tie for first, she may go all out for the win. Lagno can be in the identical place, however she is prone to prioritize Grand Prix factors than take a danger.
If it does come right down to a tie, Tan and Shuvalova have the benefit within the first tiebreak: a better variety of video games with the black items. Each may have performed black six occasions.
For the 2 Candidates qualification spots, Lagno is the frontrunner, on observe to complete on the high with 325 factors. For the second spot, the stress is on within the closing spherical for Goryachkina or Kosteniuk to complete excessive sufficient to cross GM Zhu Jiner.
The FIDE Ladies’s Grand Prix 2022-2023 sequence culminates on Saturday with the ultimate spherical.
Pairings – Spherical 11
All Video games – Spherical 10