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Bela Khotenashvili won the Neva Fondation Women Grand Prix

Bela Khotenashvili

Bela Khotenashvili

In the last round, Georgian player Bela Khotenashvili managed to make a draw against Anna Ushenina and won the tournament. Her nearest rival, Anna Muzychuk, needed to win her game in order to catch the leader, but the Slovenian player did not get anything out of the opening and drew against Alexandra Kosteniuk.

“I’m very happy to win this tournament and consider this result as the best one in my career so far. I would like to thank the Georgian chess federation, the President of GCF Giya Giorgadze and our coach Davit Jojua, for their help”, said  Bela Khotenashvili at the final press conference.

It became clear how tired all players were in the final round as they were making mistakes that do not appear in their games normally.  The Ukrainian player Kateryna Lahno overlooked the piece blunder of her opponent Batchimeg Tuvshintugs; Hou Yifan missed winning chances in the endgame and lost the game against Nana Dzagnidze; and Tatiana Kosintseva had a very good position after the opening but spent a lot of time and lost against Ju Wenjun. Viktorija Cmilyte outplayed Olga Girya. As a result, Nana Dzagnidze tied for third place with Tatiana Kosintseva.

Preview / Live games with analysis

Ushenina-Khotenashvili 1/2-1/2

Bela Khotenashvili got a position with an isolated pawn in the Queen’s Gambit. Anna Ushenina chose an interesting plan and tried to maintain the pressure. The World champion could have gotten an advantage by playing 17.b5 ab 18. Rc6!, but did not consider this opportunity. After that, Black managed to exchange a few pieces and the game ended in a draw. Bela Khotenashvili became the winner of the first stage of the Women Grand Prix.

Muzychuk-Kosteniuk 1/2-1/2

It was an important game for Anna Muzychuk, as a victory would have given her a chance to catch Bela Khotenashvili. “If I managed to get a better position, I would have definitely played for win”, said Anna Muzychuk. However, it seems that White did not get this opportunity during the game. The Slovenian player did not expect Alexandra Kosteniuk to play the Caro-Kann and the Russian player managed to equalize the position quite easily. There was no way to improve the position for either side and the game finished in a draw after 29 moves. Anna Muzychuk finished the tournament without losing any game.

Alexandra Kosteniuk

Alexandra Kosteniuk

Ju-Kosintseva 1-0

Ju Wenjun decided to play the Dutch and Tatiana Kosintseva managed to get quite a comfortable position with black, but spent a lot of time in the opening.  After 20 moves, the Russian player only had 2 minutes until the end of time control and started to make inaccurate decisions. According to Tatiana Kosintseva, black could have kept the bishop instead of exchanging it. Under the time pressure, she lost a pawn and had to fight for a draw in the endgame. Post-game analyses showed that Black could hold the balance, but during the game, White managed to exchange the queens and won.

Lahno–Batchimeg 1/2-1/2

Once again, the Mongolian player showed good opening preparation and did not get any problems with nlack. Both players started to play unpredictably after 25 moves and for some time, we had doubts in the press-center regarding whether there were problems with the transmission or not. As it was proved at the press conference, the Mongolian player simply blundered a piece by playing Ba4 but, surprisingly, Kateryna Lahno did not take the bishop. As both players pointed out, they simply missed Na4!. Kateryna Lahno simply followed her plan with Nc1-Ne2 and did not imagine that Black had blundered a bishop. Black had the advantage in the endgame, but Lahno managed to transfer the position into an endgame with opposite-colored bishops.

Nana Dzagnidze

Nana Dzagnidze

Hou-Dzagnidze 0-1

Nana Dzagnidze used to play 9…0-0, but feeling sleepy, mixed moves in the opening. White had a slightly better position after the opening and Nana decided to sacrifice the exchange to complicate the game. “I think Black is just worse if I don’t do anything”, said the Georgian player at the press conference. However, Hou Yifan managed to get an absolutely winning position. but had to play precisely as Nana was creating threats all the time. Black used his last chance – brought the king to the center and tried to advance the e-pawn. Under time pressure, the former world champion started to play inaccurately and even lost the game.

The awarding ceremony took place after the last game was finished and was attended by Under Secretary-General, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr. Tokayev, the founder of Neva Fondation Elena Timtchenko, FIDE President Kirsan Iljumzhinov, and FIDE CEO Geoffrey Borg.

Final Standings:

1 IM Bela Khotenashvili 2505 GEO 8
2 GM Anna Muzychuk 2585 SLO
3 GM Tatiana Kosintseva 2517 RUS
4 GM Nana Dzagnidze 2545 GEO
5 WGM Wenjun Ju 2544 CHN 6
6 GM Anna Ushenina 2491 UKR 6
7 GM Kateryna Lagno 2548 UKR
8 GM Yifan Hou 2617 CHN 5
9 GM Alexandra Kosteniuk 2491 RUS 5
10 GM Viktorija Cmilyte 2522 LTU
11 WGM Tuvshintugs Batchimeg 2298 MGL
12 WGM Olga Girya 2463 RUS 2

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