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Muzychuk and Khotenashvili are leading in Geneva

Bela Khotenashvili

Bela Khotenashvili

It’s well-known that women play uncompromising chess and this was proven on the seventh round when all six games were decisive at the Neva Fondation Women Grand Prix in Geneva.  The victories of Black outnumbered White’s success by 5 to 1. Anna Muzychuk outplayed another of the leaders from the 6th round, Tatiana Kosintseva. Bela Khotenashvili won against Viktorija Cmilyte and Kateryna Lahno lost against Hou Yifan.

As a result, Slovenian Anna Muzychuk and Bela Khotenashvili from Georgia are tied for the first place with 5 out of 7 points. Chinese player Ju Wenjun, who defeated Anna Ushenina today, is  sole third half a point behind the leaders. Alexandra Kosteniuk managed to break through his unfortunate performances and won against Tuvshintugs Batchimeg. Nana Dzagnidze defeated Olga Girya and has is on +1.

Tuvshintugs Batchimeg – Alexandra Kosteniuk 0-1

The Mongolian player got a comfortable position with White and, as Alexandra Kosteniuk said at the press-conference, it was not easy to find a plan for Black. The former world champion was not sure if 10…cd was the right move, as her original idea to play 11…Nd5 did not work because of g3.  Both opponents estimated the position as equal after, but Alexandra was hoping that her dark-squared bishop would be better than his opponent’s after some exchanges.

The bishop and queen endgame looked equal but the Russian player kept on trying to find small chances. Later on, she managed to grab a pawn and the queens ending was winning for Black.

Viktorija Cmilyte – Bela Khotenashvili  0-1

A position with opposite castling appeared on the board and the game became very sharp, as both players tried to find the way to the opponent’s king. After 18.e6, Bela Khotenashvili played the unpredictable move 18…Ne5. According to Viktorija Cmilyte, she was calculating 20. Nd5 and 20.Ne5, but it was hard to realize that after 20.Bd3 it would be difficult to play this position with White. It seems that the best practical solution for White would be to play 20.Ne5 immediately.

Alexandra Kosteniuk

Alexandra Kosteniuk

Anna Ushenina – Wenjun Ju 0-1

The shortest game of round 7. Anna Ushenina tried to play aggressively against the Dutch Defense, but it seems that Ju Wenjun was better prepared today. After 9…e5, the Chinese player estimated her position as “better and more comfortable to play”. White had big problems with development and did not manage to get any counterplay. When Black advanced the central pawns, his advantage became decisive.

Kateryna Lahno – Hou Yifan 0-1

Before the start of the game, a funny incident took place. Ju Wenjun mixed the boards and took the place of Hou Yifan. Kateryna was surprised to see her opponent from the previous round. “Would you like to play against me once again?”, said the Ukrainian player and everyone started to laugh.

Kateryna Lahno played creatively in the opening and got a playable position. The former world champion transferred her rook from h8 to a6 but Lahno did not manage to use the unfortunate position of her opponent’s rook. As the Ukrainian player said at the press conference, she simply forgot that Black could play 31… ab after 31.Bb6. Both players agreed that White’s position was worse after this move and that Black was just increasing his advantage.

Hou Yifan

Hou Yifan

Olga Girya – Nana Dzagnidze 0-1

Nana Dzagnidze decided to play something new in the opening and chose the line with 4…Bb4 and 5…a5. Black managed to get enough counterplay on the kingside, while White tried to create some play on the opposite side of the board. The position became sharp after 18…b5 and White played the inaccurate 20.f3. The calm 20.g3 was not dangerous to play as White counted with the defensive maneuver Rd4-Rh4. The last chance for the Russian was to play 22.e7, because after 22.Rdc1, Black got a decisive advantage and managed to convert it into a full point.

Standings after 7 rounds:

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

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