In the third round of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysk the sole leader was determined.
Nino Batsiashvili gained the third victory in a row having outplayed Alexandra Kosteniuk. The opponents discussed the Nimzo-Indian with 4. Qc2.
After the game Nino said the fight had been very hard and complicated, but up to some point it had been more or less equal. Indeed, Black had no problems after the opening. Still White managed to open up the center and afterwards allowed Alexandra to go for an acute line.
N. Batsiashvili – A. Kosteniuk
22…Bxg2 – a very brave decision.
After the game the 12th world chess champion supposed that it had been better to play, for example, 22…Rfe8 with a possible continuation 23. Bxf6 gxf6 24. Bf1.
23. Rac1 Bxe5 24. dxe5 Rfe8
24…Rae8 was a more precise move.
25. Bg4 f6 26. e6 f5 27. Rc5 Qd6
After the bishops had been swapped, the white pawn on e6 appeared to be tremendously strong and Black’s defensive task was practically impossible. Acting very precisely and carefully Nino Batsiashvili achieved her third victory.
Eteri Kublashvili, Nino Batsiashvili (GEO) and Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS)
Sarasadat Khademalsharieh demonstrated her will and a strong fighting spirit after her 2nd round’s dramatic struggle and won the game against Valentina Gunina with White. As the Russian grandmaster confessed she had forgotten the lines in the Queen’s Indian and had spent much time – an hour – in the opening. Then she decided to sharpen the play and found herself in a very difficult situation.
S. Khademalsharieh – V. Gunina
At this moment Sarasadat was thinking for 20 minutes and found the best solution.
Now the black Queen feels quite uncomfortable in the center.
16…Nh5 17. Rd1 Qf6 18. Ne4 Qg6 19. Nxd6 Rxe2 20. Nxb7 Rae8 21. d6 Nd3
Here the computer “proposes” an interesting but a bit unhuman move 22. Qc4, however in the game Sasaradat chose 22. Rxd3 Qxd3 23. Bf1 Nxf4
And then the play become double-edged, what the Iranian player didn’t like at all remembering the nightmare of the 2nd game.
But still Valentina was in a severe time-trouble, and White’s material advantage was enough to secure the win.
Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (IRN)
All other games ended in a draw.
The shortest game of the round was played between Ju Wenjun and Olga Girya, who were engaged in the Slav Defense. The queens were exchanged quite early, Black successfully resolved her opening problems and achieved an agreeable position with the castles on the queenside. The threefold repetition followed at the move 27.
Almira Skripchenko also didn’t manage to get a serious advantage in the Rossolimo Sicilian with white pieces in the game against Lela Javakhishvili. At one moment White could have brought certain problems to Black, but Almira chose another plan and the game went on quite smoothly. The opponents forced a draw after the 27th move made by Black.
Almira Skripchenko (FRA) and Lela Javakhishvili (GEO)
Natalia Zhukova, who played White with Bela Khotenashvili, suffered some unpleasant moments after having allowed her opponent’s pawn to be placed on d3. But later Natalia defended very resourcefully and neutralized Bela’s threats.
Natalia Zhukova (UKR) and Bela Khotenashvili (GEO)
Natalija Pogonina got a rather perspective position with White in the middlegame against Harika Dronavalli, and the latter had to give up an exchange to untie herself a little bit.
“I decided to make it complicated”, – said Harika at the press conference. And her plan has worked out – in the mutual time trouble it turned out to be quite hard for White to convert her material edge. The game ended in a draw on the 41th move.
Dronavalli Harika (IND) and Natalia Pogonina (RUS)
Nino Batsiashvili with 3 points has become the sole leader after three rounds. Ju Wenjun, Valentina Gunina, Olga Girya and Sarasadat Khademalsharieh are one point behind.
Standings after round 3:
1. Nino Batsiashvili – 3, 2-5. Ju Wenjun, Valentina Gunina, Olga Girya, Sarasadat Khademalsharieh – 2, 6-7. Natalija Pogonina, Natalia Zhukova – 1,5, 8-10. Alexandra Kosteniuk, Almira Skripchenko, Dronavalli Harika – 1, 11-12. Lela Javakhishvili, Bela Khotenashvili – 0,5.
Round 4 pairings:
Javakhishvili – Girya, Khotenashvili – Ju Wenjun, Harika – Zhukova, Kosteniuk – Pogonina, Gunina – Batsiashvili, Skripchenko – Khademalsharieh