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Gunina Wins Batumi Grand Prix

Gunina Wins Batumi Grand Prix

PeterDoggers
| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

Valentina Gunina convincingly won the FIDE Women's Grand Prix in Batumi, Georgia. The Russian player secured victory with a round to spare and finished on 7.5/11, a full point more than her compatriot Alexandra Kosteniuk.

All photos courtesy of FIDE.

The third leg of the 2015-2016 Women's Grand Prix series was held at the 5-star Intourist Palace Hotel in Georgia's Batumi along the Black Sea.  This 12-player round robin was organized by the Georgian Chess Federation in partnership with FIDE and took place 19 April - 2 May 2016.

Besides two former world champions, Maria Muzychuk of Ukraine and Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia, there were four local players: Nana Dzagnidze, Nino Batshiashvili, Bela Khotenashvili and Lela Javakishvili. The total field for this rather strong women-only tournament included eight GMs, three IMs and one WGM.

It doesn't happen often, but the winner actually started with a loss. Gunina went down against her compatriot Olga Girya in a very shaky game.

Girya as black vs Gunina. | Photo Anastasiya Karlovich.

Gunina recovered quickly with two wins in a row. Her encounter with ex-world champion Mariya Muzychuk was a sharp affair in a popular line these days: the 3.f3 Grünfeld. It was a great example of an attack that was winning because it was in fifth gear from the start.

Gunina going for the attack. | Photo Anastasiya Karlovich.

The next round Gunina lost again to drop back to 50 percent but then she went in old Soviet style mode, winning her remaining four white games and drawing her three black games. 

In round seven another Muzychuk sister got to try it against that 3.f3 line, but Anna, who would finish a point ahead of her younger sister, also failed.

Gunina vs the Muzychuk sisters: 2-0

Gunina's ninth round win over Kosteniuk was crucial, and a big fight:

Batumi Women's Grand Prix | Final Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Gunina 2497 2633 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 0 1 1 1 ½ 7.5/11
2 Kosteniuk 2557 2559 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 0 1 ½ 6.5/11
3 Batsiashvili 2476 2534 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 6.0/11 33.00
4 A.Muzychuk 2555 2528 0 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 6.0/11 31.25
5 Dzagnidze 2535 2498 1 0 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 5.5/11 31.00
6 Skripchenko 2453 2504 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 5.5/11 29.00
7 Zhao Xue 2504 2501 0 0 ½ 0 1 1 phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 5.5/11 27.75
8 Girya 2442 2474 1 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ 1 ½ 5.0/11 27.75
9 M.Muzychuk 2561 2464 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 ½ 5.0/11 27.00
10 Javakhishvili 2489 2470 0 1 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 5.0/11 25.50
11 Danielian 2445 2442 0 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 4.5/11
12 Khotenashvili 2493 2405 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 4.0/11

The total prize fund for the Batumi Grand Prix was 60,000 euros, with 10.000 euros going to Gunina, who is now also leading the overall standings. Unlike the 'general' Grand Prix there's an accumulated fund for the overall best placed women of the series.

2015-2016 Women's GP | Standings

# Name Monte
Carlo
Tehran Batumi Chengdu Khanty-
Mansiysk
Total
1 Valentina Gunina (RUS) 45 160 205
2 Nana Dzagnidze (GEO) 50 85 70 205
3 Aleandra Kosteniuk (RUS) 65 130 195
4 Koneru Humpy (IND) 120 70 190
4 Zhao Xue (CHN) 120 70 190
6 Natalia Pogonina (RUS) 85 85 170
7 Ju Wenjun (CHN) 160 160
7 Hou Yifan (CHN) 160 160
9 Mariya Muzychuk (UKR) 120 40 160
10 S.Khademalsharieh (IRA) 10 120 130
11 Anna Muzychuk (UKR) 30 100 130
12 Nino Batsiashvili (GEO) 15 100 115
13 Pia Cramling (SWE) 85 30 115
14 Almira Skripchenko (FRA) 30 70 100
15 Natalia Zhukova (UKR) 30 60 90
16 Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL) 65 15 80
17 Dronavalli Harika (IND) 45 45
18 Olga Girya (RUS) 40 40
18 Lela Javakhishvili (GEO) 40 40
20 Elina Danielian (ARM) 20 20
21 Bela Khotenashvili (GEO) 10 10

During the last Presidential Board meeting, held in Moscow alongside the Candidates' Tournament in March of this year, it was decided to have five instead of four tournaments in this Grand Prix series. Each of the twenty participants series has the right to play in three of the five events. The player accumulating the highest number of points in this Grand Prix series earns the right to play a match with against the 2017 women's world champion.

Reigning World Champion Hou Yifan of China withdrew from the Grand Prix cycle. This means that the only way for Hou Yifan to qualify for the next world title match is to win the knockout world championship; in women's chess the world championship alternates as a match and a knockout each time.

PeterDoggers
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.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by Chess.com in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!


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