The 5th tournament of the FIDE Women’s Grand-Prix 2013-2014 is taking place from 18th June to 2nd July in Lopota, Georgia.
Twelve players compete in the round robin tournament. The event is organized by the Georgian Ministry of Sport and Youth, FIDE and Georgian Chess Federation, and sponsored by SOCAR.
A promising start of the tournament, with all the games ending only after the complete exhaustion of resources. White won three games and Black held a draw in the remaining three, a good percentage of decisive games and great fights for our eyes, too.
Perhaps the players just started to warm up, as missed opportunities were hovering in the air, making the tournament, the game of chess and, on a larger scale, women chess – an exciting but also a hair-rising competition.
The two big rating favorites Hou Yifan and Humpy Koneru made their first steps ahead by defeating Nafisa Muminova and Antoaneta Stefanova, respectively.
The local heroes, Nana Dzagnidze and Bela Khotenashvili took home half points but, if Bella could be happy about it, Nana is probably not thinking the same. As Bela shared with us during the press conference, playing at home (this is the region she was born and lived) is not an easy affair, she feels the pressure of performing well on her grounds.
The same was for Nana before, when she played in the European Individual women championship, in 2011. The experience she got there helps her now to leave this type of stress aside and play one game at a time.
Ju Wenjun maintained some light pressure from the opening until deep in the ending, in a relatively peaceful position. Her opponent, Elina Danielian, kept kicking even after her position deteriorated but her defensive efforts were not enough to get Ju out of the winning track.
A thematic pawn sacrifice yielded White strong initiative in Harika-Muzychuk. Eventually, the game entered a rook ending with some extra pawns for White, but… all the rook endgames are drawn, aren’t they?
Round 1 results:
GM Koneru Humpy 2613 – GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 1 – 0
GM Zhao Xue 2538 – IM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 ½ – ½
GM Hou Yifan 2629 – WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 1 – 0
WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 – GM Danielian Elina 2460 1 – 0
GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 – GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 ½ – ½
GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 – GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 ½ – ½
Round 2 pairings:
GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 – GM Muzychuk Anna 2561
GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 – GM Dronavalli Harika 2503
GM Danielian Elina 2460 – GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541
WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 – WGM Ju Wenjun 2532
IM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 – GM Hou Yifan 2629
GM Koneru Humpy 2613 – GM Zhao Xue 2538