Tatiana Kosintseva and Bela Khotenashvili outplayed Viktorija Cmilyte and Batchimeg Tuvshintugs respectively and joined the group of leaders. Kateryna Lahno and Anna Muzychuk finished their games with draws and also share first place with 4 out of 6.
After 5 draws in the previous rounds, world champion Anna Ushenina won her first game in the tournament and is half a point behind the leaders. Her opponent Alexandra Kosteniuk lost her third game in a row. Olga Girya played very confidently against former world champion Hou Yifan and made a draw after 70 moves.
Ju Wenjun-Lahno 1/2-1/2
Ju Wenjun avoided aggressive lines in the opening and played 6.e3. Kateryna Lahno did not need to solve any opening problems with Black and quickly equalized. The players exchanged a few pieces and the position became absolutely drawish. Kateryna Lahno wore the ribbon of Saint George today. This is worn to celebrate Victory Day (9th of May) in the former USSR republics as an act of commemoration and remembrance.
At the press conference after the first round, Olga Girya said that this tournament would be a great opportunity for her to play with the top women players. “I’ve never played against Hou Yifan and am looking forward to meet her over the board”, said the Russian player. Five rounds later, the dream came true and a Caro-Kann – the usual opening choice of Olga Girya – appeared on the board. According to Hou Yifan, she decided not to prepare too much for the opening, but simply play chess today. The former world champion tried to create an attack on the kingside, but the Russian player got good counterplay in the center. The position became very complex, but Olga found precise moves to avoid the threats of her opponent. Black simplified the position and transferred the game into an endgame with an extra pawn, which eventually finished in a draw.
Nana Dzagnidze spent a lot of time in the opening trying to find the right move order, as she was not very familiar with the position after 7…Bb4. Anna decided to avoid the Carlsbad pawn structure after 12…ed, and took on d5 with the c-pawn. The Georgian player managed to get a position with a slight edge and could have got better chances by playing 16.Nd5 Nd5 17. ed ed 18. d6!?. After16. Bg5, Black managed to find the right way to equalize the position and after 33 moves the game finished with a threefold repetition.
After six rounds of play, Bela Khotenashvili remains the only player who has yet to make a draw, as she won 4 games and lost 2 of them. Tuvshintugs Batchimeg surprised her opponent in the opening, so the Georgian player spent a lot of time trying to choose one of many possible lines. Black managed to get a position with a slight edge, but later on, the Mongolian player missed an interesting opportunity to play 14…bc instead of Nc6, opening the b-file for the rooks. As Batchimeg pointed out at the press conference, she had to play Rfd8-Rd5 instead of Qf5 because after Bg5 she could not do it anymore. The Mongolian player felt she missed her advantage somewhere and became upset during the game. It was not necessary to sacrifice a knight on c6, as after b3, the position of Black was lost.
Despite unsuccessful results in the previous rounds, Alexandra Kosteniuk still tries to fight in every game and chooses the main variations. Anna Ushenina spent a lot of time in the opening trying to calculate many different lines and, after 20 moves, she had to play with 3 minutes on her clock. Alexandra could have tried to play 18. Nc6 or 23. Be5 24. Nc6, but for some reason the former world champion avoided playing this move today. After 23. Bc1 b4 White’s position became worse and after a few moves, Black won a pawn. Black did not play precisely and White could have kept chances to hold the position by playing 31.Bc3. After 31.Bc1 Ba6, Black’s position became absolutely winning.
The players went into a Sicilian and simplified to a pawn endgame rather quickly. Tatiana Kosintseva played very accurately and forced her opponent to resign on move 42. The Russian now shares the lead with 4/6 points.
Standings after 6 rounds: