Stefanova & Zhao Xue lead in Ulaanbaatar

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Stefanova & Zhao Xue lead in UlaanbaatarOnly three weeks after Nana Dzagnidze won the 4th FIDE Grand Prix in Jermuk, the 5th edition has already started. In Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia Antoaneta Stefanova and Zhao Xue are sharing the lead after five rounds.

The Women Grand Prix series consists of six tournaments. The winner of each tournament wins 6,500 euros out of a prize fund of 40,000 euros and the overall winner of the series will win a further 15,000 euros at the end of the series.

The first Women GP was held in March 2009 in Istanbul and was won by Humpy Koneru. The second, in September-October 2009 in Nanjing, was won by Xu Yuhua. Tatiana Kosintseva won the third, in March this year in Nalchik and Nana Dzagnidze the fourth, in June-July in Jermuk.

Nana Dzagnidze from Georgia currently leads the Women Grand Prix with 390 points. She has one more stage to play – in Santiago, Chile (27 October-9 November 2010). The second place is occupied by Chinese Hou Yifan (320 points), the third by Russian Tatiana Kosintseva (290 points). They both play their last Grand Prix in Ulaanbaatar. The winner of the Grand Prix series will play in 2011 in the Candidate event of the World Championship cycle.

The 5th FIDE Women Grand Prix tournament takes place July 29 - August 12 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Antoaneta Stefanova (2560, BUL), GM Zhao Xue (2462, CHN), GM Hou Yifan (2577, CHN), GM Humpy Koneru (2600, IND), GM Maia Chiburdanidze (2514, GEO), GM Tatiana Kosintseva (2562, RUS), GM Xu Yuhua (2488, CHN), GM Zhu Chen (2476, QAT), IM Batkhuyag Munguntuul (2421, MGL), GM Marie Sebag (2519, FRA), WGM Shen Yang (2435, CHN) and WIM Betul Cemre Yildiz (2235, TUR) play.

Rounds 1-5

The first round saw an immediate clash between two favourites: Hou Yifan versus Tatiana Kosintseva. Both players felt that White was in danger of losing, especially after the Chinese had dropped a pawn, but the result was a draw. Chiburdanidze nicely outplayed Munguntuul and Koneru profited from a blunder by Shen Yang on move 37.

Shen Yang

Shen Yang

However the most amazing game was Yildiz-Zhao Xue, where the Turkish player missed a great opportunity to beat a strong player in this Grand Prix Series. In a totally won position, the Chinese blundered with 51...Qxc2?? and then Yildiz, instead of giving mate in four, resigned.

Yildiz-Zhao Xue Yildiz-Zhao Xue After 51...Qxc2?? White can give mate in four starting with 52.Qxf7+ Kh6 53.Bg5+!. Instead, she created one more example for Tim Krabbé's collection of 'resigning in a won position'.

Another blunder was seen in the next round, where Shen Yang erred with 27.Qa6?? which allowed local hero Munguntuul to grab material. Koneru again played strongly and this time defeated Sebag with White.

Hou Yifan-Xu Yuhua


In round 3 former World Champion demonstrated the power of the bishop pair against Munguntuul in an ending that should objectively have been a draw. Instructive stuff. Zhao Xue survived a lost position and then even beat Zhu Chen with Black - after 25.Rdg1 Black can resign, but look at what happened later:

Zhu Chen-Zhao Xue Zhu Chen-Zhao Xue Most amateurs would play 64.Ka8 without thinking, but with a big smile. The former World Champion erred with 64.Kb8?? and could resign after 64...Kc5! 65.Ka8 Qd7 66. Kb8 Kb6.

Hou Yifan crushed compatriot Xu Yuhua - in an already suspicious variation of the French, she came with the new 15.Rd2 (suspicious because 15.Nb5!? looks strong there too) and only a move later she had a winning knight sac on e6.

Hou Yifan-Xu Yuhua Hou Yifan-Xu Yuhua 16.Nxe6! Rxd2 17.Qxd2 and White won.

The end of the game must be saved wrongly in the PGN because Black's rook on d8 hangs.

Hou Yifan-Xu Yuhua

Hou Yifan-Xu Yuhua

In round 4 Kosintseva showed good endgame technique against Munguntuul, creating weaknesses in rook ending and deciding the game in a pawn ending. Koneru-Hou Yifan was a very tough match in which the young Chinese defended a RB-R ending.

In an ending that should have been a draw, Chiburdanidze completely collapsed on move 51 and 52 and suddenly she was mated. Sebag played too frivolously in the opening with Black against Hou Yifan (next time 15...Qxc4, we assume) and soon faced a lost position. Stefanova won yet another very nice ending with the black pieces, one which Rubinstein would have been proud of, this time against Shen Yang.


Antoaneta Stefanova

Photos © FIDE, more here

Stefanova-Kosintseva from round 5 also has at least one wrong move in the PGN, as White's last move is ridiculous. The exchange sac was nice, though. 27.Nxh5 might have been played, as this is a winning move. Chiburdanidze played a nice game against Xu Yuhua and won in a tactical ending.

FIDE Women Grand Prix Ulaanbaatar 2010 | Round 5 Standings
FIDE Women Grand Prix Ulaanbaatar 2010 | Round 5 Standings

Games rounds 1-5

Game viewer by ChessTempo


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