News
Koneru Reaches Striking Range of Kosteniuk, Upcoming Head-to-Head Looms
Koneru has her chance to catch Kosteniuk next round in their head-to-head game. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

Koneru Reaches Striking Range of Kosteniuk, Upcoming Head-to-Head Looms

NM_Vanessa
| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Humpy Koneru moved within striking range of the leader, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, with a win vs. GM Elisabeth Paehtz in round nine of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix. Koneru has been in second for much of the event, currently trailing by a point. With the upcoming head-to-head game in the penultimate round, will she challenge for the lead in the tournament finale?

The top Indian female led the pack of victors on Saturday, which included GM Zhansaya Abdumalik, GM Tan Zhongyi, and IM Alina Kashlinskaya.

How to watch?
The games of the Munich Women's Grand Prix can be found here. The rounds start each day at 6 a.m. Pacific/15:00 CEST.


In their riveting clash, Koneru and Paehtz fought for control of the center in a double-edge King's Indian Defense. 

After the round, Koneru shared her thoughts: "Even though I'm a pawn up, it was quite a complex position. It's more about who gets control of the central squares."

Koneru will have her chance to make a run for the lead on Sunday as she faces Kosteniuk directly. With the state of the scoreboard and a limited number of remaining rounds, how hard will the Indian grandmaster press for winning chances with the black pieces?

After two losses in the first three rounds, Abdumalik has steadily recovered as the event has progressed. In this round, she scored her first victory, discovering a combination with an array of tactical themes to defeat WGM Dinara Wagner. Can you find it?

 Abdumalik seems to be getting stronger with each round. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

In a double-edged Scheveningen Sicilian, Tan seized the upper hand vs. GM Anna Muzychuk by clearing the e5-square as a potent outpost for her knight. This complicated battle is our Game of the Day, annotated by GM Rafael Leitao.

So far, Tan has had a solid plus-one performance and is tied for third. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

In French Advanced with the kings castled to opposite sides, Kashlinskaya organized a mating attack that forced her opponent, WGM Zhu Jiner, to give up her queen. 

Kashlinskaya scored her second win this round. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

Kosteniuk maintained her tournament lead with a very level game vs. GM Nana Dzagnidze. At one point, the 12th women's world champion won a pawn, but the players drew by repetition on move 37. 

Kosteniuk is two rounds from victory, but she faces her closest rival next. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

GMs Harika Dronavalli and GM Mariya Muzychuk played for a couple of moves longer, reaching move 39 in an ending arising from an Italian Game before repeating. 

Crosstable

All Games - Round 9

The FIDE Women's Grand Prix Second Leg (of four) takes place February 1-14, 2023, in Munich, Germany. The format is a round-robin tournament with 12 players. The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, plus a 30-second increment starting on move one. The prize fund is 80,000 euros.


Previous coverage

NM_Vanessa
NM Vanessa West

Vanessa West is a National Master, a chess teacher, and a writer for Chess.com. In 2017, they won the Chess Journalist of the Year award.

You can follow them on X: Vanessa__West

More from NM NM_Vanessa
Brother/Sister Comeback: Praggnanandhaa Defeats Vidit, Vaishali Finds Her Groove

Brother/Sister Comeback: Praggnanandhaa Defeats Vidit, Vaishali Finds Her Groove

Vidit Ends Nakamura's 47-Game Unbeaten Streak On All-Decisive Day

Vidit Ends Nakamura's 47-Game Unbeaten Streak On All-Decisive Day