Humpy Koneru Wins Cairns Cup
Humpy Koneru. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Humpy Koneru Wins Cairns Cup

| 27 | Chess Event Coverage

On Sunday GM Humpy Koneru won the Cairns Cup's hefty $45,000 first prize. After a quick draw with her compatriot GM Harika Dronavalli, she saw her main rival GM Alexandra Kosteniuk lose to GM Ju Wenjun.

Koneru finished on six points, half a point more than Women's World Champion Ju, who won $35,000. Kosteniuk shared the third prize with GM Mariya Muzychuk; both took home $22,500.

2020 Cairns Cup round-nine results
The Cairns Cup round-nine results. Image: Spectrum Studios.

Harika didn't exactly push hard against Koneru (playing the Four Knights and trading queens right away) and so the game of the tournament leader was over in no time.  

"I felt like I needed to just draw today to be risk-free," said Koneru.

Harika Donavalli vs Humpy Koneru 2020 Cairns Cup
Harika Donavalli vs. Humpy Koneru. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Humpy was now virtually a point ahead of Kosteniuk, who needed a win to force a playoff on Monday. Instead, she lost a Berlin endgame against Ju, who showed wonderful skill with the bishop pair.

It all started with Kosteniuk going for a dangerous pawn grab, which eventually cost her $10,000 in prize money (compared to the game ending in a draw).

Alexandra Kosteniuk Ju Wenjun Cairns Cup
Alexandra Kosteniuk vs. Ju Wenjun. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

GM Irina Krush finished her tournament on a high note as she defeated GM Nana Dzadgnidze. The Georgian number one had a good start but lost steam toward the end of the tournament.

Her Benoni went wrong, her 15th move was strange... not a good day for Dzagnidze, and well-executed by Krush.

Krush Dzagnidze Cairns Cup 2020
Krush vs. Dzagnidze. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

WGM Carissa Yip ended with a solid draw against Muzychuk and can be very satisfied with her tournament. That cannot be said about GM Valentina Gunina, who won the tournament last year but finished in last place this time.

The final standings Cairns Cup 2020
The final standings. Image: Spectrum Studios.

Round 9 games

The second Cairns Cup was a 10-player round-robin with a prize fund of $180,000. It took place February 7-16 at the Saint Louis Chess Club.

Previous reports:

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

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