3-Way Tie At Monaco Women's Grand Prix
An evening view of Monaco. Photo: Karol Bartnik/FIDE.

3-Way Tie At Monaco Women's Grand Prix

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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13 | Chess Event Coverage

Aleksandra Goryachkina (Russia), Humpy Koneru and Harika Dronavalli (both India) are tied for first place halfway through the Monaco Women's Grand Prix. Koneru won the previous GP in Skolkovo, Russia.

The second leg in the four-tournament series, part of the 2019-2021 women's world championship cycle, takes place Dec. 2-15 at the Yacht Club de Monaco under the patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II.

Yacht Club de Monaco 2019 Women Grand Prix FIDE
The Yacht Club de Monaco where the Women's GP takes place. Photo: Karol Bartnik/FIDE.

Each GP tournament is a round-robin featuring 12 participants. After winning in Skolkovo, Koneru is playing now in Monaco where Goryachkina and Kateryna Lagno of Russia are her biggest rivals in terms of Elo. Other favorites include the former world champions Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) and Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine).

Monaco Women GP 2019 participants
The Monaco Women GP participants.

Koneru continued her success in the Grand Prix series and took the lead right away in the first round. With draws on the other boards, the Indian grandmaster defeated Valentina Gunina of Russia in a topsy-turvy game.

Gunina had been dominating during the first half of the game but couldn't capitalize on her better bishop vs. Black's knight. Later she should have taken the draw at some point: 

Koneru also won her second game, against Muzychuk—Mariya that is; her sister Anna Muzychuk also plays in the tournament. Because Koneru's opponent played too passively, the Indian GM gained a better endgame and showed excellent technique in converting it:

Humpy Koneru 2019 FIDE Grand Prix Monaco
Humpy Koneru. Photo: Karol Bartnik/FIDE.

Harika won a good game against Elisabeth Paehtz in this round. The German IM might have mixed up something when she played 5...Nbd7, which led to a passive position after White traded on d5. Black later seemed to gain decent counterplay on the kingside, but Harika was alert and used the new developments to reach a promising endgame.

Harika Dronavalli 2019 FIDE Grand Prix Monaco
Harika Dronavalli. Photo: Karol Bartnik/FIDE.

Goryachkina's win against Harika in round four was quite impressive as well. The Russian world championship challenger (she'll face Ju Wenjun next month) needed only a small weakness in the white camp to gain an advantage that just got bigger and bigger:

Aleksandra Goryachkina 2019 FIDE Grand Prix Monaco
Aleksandra Goryachkina. Photo: Karol Bartnik/FIDE.

Monaco Women Grand Prix | Round 6 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Goryachkina,Aleksandra 2575 2614 1 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 4.0/6 12
2 Koneru,Humpy 2577 2643 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 4.0/6 10
3 Harika,Dronavalli 2518 2631 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 4.0/6 8.5
4 Kosteniuk,Alexandra 2483 2591 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 3.5/6 12.25
5 Muzychuk,Anna 2543 2583 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 3.5/6 10.25
6 Dzagnidze,Nana 2502 2519 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 3.0/6 9.25
7 Cramling,Pia 2443 2507 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/6 8.5
8 Lagno,Kateryna 2549 2543 ½ ½ 0 1 0 1 3.0/6 8
9 Muzychuk,Mariya 2552 2468 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 2.5/6 7.75
10 Zhao,Xue 2485 2460 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 2.5/6 4.75
11 Paehtz,Elisabeth 2484 2385 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 1 2.0/6
12 Gunina,Valentina 2509 2237 0 0 1 0 0 0 1.0/6

Monday is a rest day. The remaining five rounds will be played from Tuesday to Saturday, starting at 15:00 CET, which is 9 a.m. Eastern and 6 a.m. Pacific. You can find the games here as part of our live portal

After Monaco, two more Grand Prix will be played:

  • Mar. 1-14: Lausanne, Switzerland
  • May 20-June 10: Sardinia, Italy

A total of 16 players compete in these four tournaments, but each participant plays in just three. Unlike the general FIDE Grand Prix, the women's tournaments do not transform into knockouts but are instead 12-player round-robins. The prize fund in each Grand Prix is 80,000 euros with 15,000 euros and 160 Grand Prix points for the winner.

Eventually the winner (based on the cumulative points earned in all three tournaments she plays) and the runner-up qualify to the Women's Candidates' Tournament to be held in the first half of 2021.

Games rounds 1-6 for replay/download:

 

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