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Frontrunners Emerge: Lagno, Tan Score 2-0
Lagno and Tan have begun to stand out among the field. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

Frontrunners Emerge: Lagno, Tan Score 2-0

NM_Vanessa
| 19 | Chess Event Coverage

GMs Kateryna Lagno and Tan Zhongyi have taken the lead, each winning a second game in a row at the Nicosia FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2022-2023 in round two. Lagno defeated IM Gunay Mammadzada, gaining an edge by undermining her opponent's center with a thrust on the kingside. Tan broke through IM Oliwia Kiolbasa's resistance in the rook ending. 

Again, a majority of the games were hard-fought, decisive battles. Two players revived their tournaments, bouncing back to win after yesterday's losses. GM Aleksandra Goryachkina struck against one of the early leaders, GM Nana Dzagnidze. Meanwhile, IM Polina Shuvalova scored her first victory, showing her fighting spirit vs. IM Bibisara Assaubayeva

The final leg of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix continues with round three on Thursday, May 18, starting at 5:00 a.m. Pacific/14:00 CEST.

How to watch?
You can watch live games of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix on our Events Page. The rounds start each day at 5:00 a.m. Pacific/14:00 CEST.

Goryachkina vs. Dzagnidze

Goryachkina bounced back, recovering from yesterday's disappointment with a clean victory against one of the leaders. In a Catalan with an early queen trade, Dzagnidze made an ambitious decision to create a very advanced passed pawn by exchanging a bishop and knight for a rook and pawn. Though this paralyzed White’s only remaining rook on the a1-square to block promotion, Goryachkina’s minor pieces created pressure on Black's position, eventually winning a pawn and eliminating the dangerous passer. 

From there, the top seed overpowered her opponent’s rook by coordinating her bishop and knight to create a passed pawn of her own.  

Though a first-round loss must've been quite a shock to Goryachkina―who won the New Delhi leg with an undefeated score―she is back on track with this much-needed win. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

Assaubayeva vs. Shuvalova

Shuvalova also recovered from yesterday's loss with a win vs. Assaubayeva. Despite having the black pieces, Shuvalova looked determined to overrun her opponent, expanding vastly on the kingside just out of the opening. As the game reached its critical stages and the players fell under time pressure, the 22-year-old international master steadied, improved her pieces, and increased the pressure on her younger opponent. 

Defensive Tactic: As Shuvalova's queen and doubled rooks barreled down at White's loose kingside, Assaubayeva had a saving resource. Can you find it? 

When Assaubeyeva overlooked her chance to get back into the game, Shuvalova hunted down the white king, eliminating its last bit of cover. Shuvalova's hard-fought comeback victory is our Game of the Day, analyzed by GM Rafael Leitao.


Shuvalova was unafraid of opening up her own kingside to press for chances with the black pieces. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

Tan vs. Kiolbasa

In the middlegame, Kiolbasa fell into intense time pressure by move 26 while Tan had nearly an hour left. In the midst of this, the Polish international master made a critical error on move 39―just two moves before making time control―allowing Tan to simplify into a promising pawn-ahead rook ending. 

When Tan hesitated to activate her king in the endgame, Kiolbasa fought back, unlocking her kingside pawns and making it difficult for the Chinese grandmaster to press her advantage. But in the last pivotal moments, Black allowed the 16th women’s world champion to advance her monarch to the center, giving it access to help her outside passed pawn to promote. 

Lagno vs. Mammadzada

Lagno outplayed her opponent from the black side of a Berlin Defense, seizing the chance to dismantle White's center with 22...g5! when Mammazada supported it inaccurately. The Ukrainian grandmaster's more active forces soon won a pawn. Though Mammazada had chances to hold the same-color bishop ending, Lagno made continuous progress until she broke through on the queenside.

Khotenashvili vs. Kosteniuk

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk and GM Bella Khotenashvili steadied their tournament with a draw. Khotenashvili gained a space advantage in the opening and pressed for most of the game. 

In intense mutual time pressure, the Georgian grandmaster hesitated to capture an extra pawn, perhaps fearing a phantom tactical response by Kosteniuk, who could temporarily pin her rook. Though Khotenashvili searched for winning chances into the rook ending, she missed a couple of critical opportunities to activate her king, and the players ultimately drew. 

Dronavalli vs. Wagner

WGM Dinara Wagner neutralized GM Harika Dronavalli's first move advantage early in a King's Indian Attack that transposed into a Catalan, creating a very solid and level position. Focusing on activity in the center, both players played consistently reasonable moves, unwilling to take any risks that would upset the balance. After a slew of exchanges, they drew in an equal queen ending. 

Results - Round 2

White Black
Assaubayeva 0  - 1 Shuvalova
Mammadzada 0 - 1 Lagno
Khotenashvili 1/2 - 1/2 Kosteniuk
Goryachkina 1 - 0 Dzagnidze
Dronavalli 1/2 - 1/2 Wagner
Tan 1 - 0 Kiolbasa

Standings - Round 2

Pairings - Round 3

White Black
Wagner  -  Assaubayeva
Dzagnidze  -  Dronavalli
Kosteniuk  -  Goryachkina
Kiolbasa  -  Khotenashvili
Lagno - Tan
Shuvalova - Mammadzada

All Games - Round 2


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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.

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