FIDE Geneva Grand Prix Round 4
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Official Website Report Round 4: Kateryna Lagno is the sole leader
The victory of Kateryna Lagno over Alexandra Kosteniuk made the Ukrainian player the sole leader in the tournament. It was a day of sacrifices as in 4 of the 6 games the player with black - Katerina Lagno, Tuvshintugs Batchimeg, Olga Girya, Vikrtorija Cmilyte - sacrificed their knights and Bela Khotenashvili sacrificed an exchange. Viktorija Cmilyte had a very strong attack but missed a few chances against Hou Yifan. Tatiana Kosintseva defeated Bela Khotenashvili. The biggest sensation of the round was the draw between Ushenina and Girya. The world champion had a huge advantage and confidently transferred the game into the won ending with extra bishop and knight against a lone king. Surprisingly, Olga Girya managed to survive!
Dzagnidze- Tuvshintugs 1-0
Tuvshintugs Batchimeg chose to play Gruenfeld with Black. The Georgian player got a comfortable position and after Be2 the Mongolian player decided to give the knight for three pawns and transferred the game into an ending. Black could have protected the knight by playing 18…b5 but after 19.ab Black's position was just worse. Nana Dzagnidze played very precisely in the endgame, increasing the power of her pieces step by step. The crucial mistake of the Mongolian player was 26…Kf8. After that Nana didn’t give her opponent any chance to save the game.
The Sheveningen variation of the Sicilian, chosen by the players, had happened many times in the match Kasparov-Karpov. The position became very sharp after 28…Qf4. White went for a forcing line and managed to win a piece for 2 pawns. However, Black’s initiative became very strong and White had to play precisely in order not to give counter-chances. Despite the calm calculation of the computer which holds White’s position, It was hard for Alexandra Kosteniuk to defend against all the threats, especially under time pressure. One of the chances to hold the position for White was to play 35.Qg2 instead of 35.Ng2.
Tatiana Kosintseva had to face the Caro-Kann for the second time in a row and managed to get a position with a slight advantage. Black missed an interesting opportunity to equalize the game with the move 18…f6. White tried to use the weakness of the d5 pawn and managed to create threats. In time trouble it was not easy to defend for Black. Bela Khotenashvili sacrificed an exchange but it didn’t change the evaluation of the position.
Viktorija Cmilyte (left) and Hou Yifan
Viktorija Cmilyte chose to play an interesting line with 7…g5 which she checked 2-3 years ago. She remembered that White had to place her knight on h4 as after Ne1 Black got quite comfortable play. 16…d5 was an interesting try to play against the weak White king and late on Viktorija succeeded in creating a dangerous attack after 18…Nh3! The critical moment happened on move 21 when Black had to choose one of many opportunities. It seems that Qe3 was enough to continue the direct attack and Hou Yifan assessed her position as very dangerous. Instead, the Lithuanian player went for Qg4 and missed 24.Qd3.
Ju Wenjun-Muzychuk 1/2-1/2
For the third time in the tournament Anna Muzychuk transfered the game to the endgame right after the opening. This time she was playing with Black and dc was a logical decision, as after fg cd White had slightly better position as she gets d5 square. Ju Wenjun agreed that Black had simple play and the game was drawn after 39 moves.
Ushenina – Girya 1/2-1/2
The Slav Defence appeared on the board and the world champion chose to play a quiet line increasing her slight advantage. It was clear for Olga Girya that she had to sacrifice a knight otherwise White would advance her pawns in the center. Black got quite good compensation for the knight and could get a strong initiative by playing 31…h4. White secured her position by exchanging queens and when the first time control passed it became obvious that Black didn't have enough counter play to fight for a draw. Nevertheless Black just kept on playing and managed to save the game.
The standings after 4 rounds