Monaco GP R4: Humpy escapes with a draw
Tournament leader Humpy maintained her sole lead after surviving quite a few missed opportunities by her opponent Nana Dzagnidze. Anna Muzychuk arguably had the most interesting game of the round against Kateryna Lagno after almost a five-hour long game. Pia Cramling finally managed to convert advantage into a victory after her opponent Elisabeth Paehtz blundered and made a few inaccuracies under time pressure. Valentina Gunina's tough luck at the tournament continues as this time she made a huge error in the opening against Zhao Xue after which she could not recover for the rest of the game. Goryachkina beat Harika, after the latter made a wrong exchange which resulted in an isolated pawn and advanced king for her opponent. Kosteniuk and Mariya Muzychuk made a grandmaster draw in just 23 moves. Photo: Karol Bartnik / FIDE
Humpy survives a scare
For the third consecutive round, four decisive results and two draws have taken place. Humpy maintained her lead by a half point after surviving against Dzagnidze where the Indian felt that her opponent was better throughout the game
Dzagnidze misses many opportunities
Humpy opted for the Queen's Indian Defence. She had trouble getting her light square bishop out in the play for the major part of the game which she admitted. Within 26 moves majority of the pieces got exchanged and the game arrived at Rook, bishop and many pawns endgame.
Dzagnidze - Humpy
Here Dzagnidze defended the d4-pawn with 26.Rd1, instead she should have activated the king with 26.Ke3 and if black wanted to exchange the rooks with 26...Re8+ 27.Kd2 Rxe1 28.Kxe1 then white is doing completely fine, but maybe the Georgia no.1 did not want to have a bishop ending.
In a post-game interview, Humpy said, "It was not easy. It was a completely positional game but better for white throughout the game. Somehow I finally managed to bring my bishop into the game. It's important to maintain the rook or else it's lost."
Dzagnidze went with 27.c5 however she should have taken the c6-pawn with 27.Bxc6 Bxc4 28.d5 and white has fantastic advantage.
White missed her final winning chance when she played 38.Ra8 instead of pushing her passed pawn on the kingside with 38.h4
Anna Muzychuk beats Lagno in a long grueling battle
The most interesting and the longest game of the round was of Anna Muzychuk's. She almost fought for five hours before converting her winning advantage.
Lagno - Anna Muzychuk
During her analysis, Anna revealed that she played the 5...b5, 6...Bb7 variation in Ruy Lopez for the very first time in her life.
Anna felt that white should have retreated her knight with 14.Nh2
In the game, Black continued with 22...fxe5, however Anna felt 22...dxe5 was interesting. 23.Rd1+ Kc8 24.Bf7 and she was unsure about this.
Here Black played 23...Rh6, however there was an interesting alternative, can you find it?
White continued with 24.Qf7 Rf6 and it was all over, Black got a completely winning position and then it became just a matter of time and technique to convert it into a win.
Cramling finally converts her advantage
Germany no.1 Elisabeth Paehtz started well against Pia Cramling, however she made a few inaccuracies and eventually she blundered in the time pressure.
Paehtz - Cramling
White continued with 19.Qxc4, but instead white should have played 19.Rf2 Be6 20.e5 Ne8 21.Nd5 Bxd5 22.Bxd5
Here White should have exchanged the queens with 27.Qc8+ Qe8 28.Qxe8 Nxe8 29.a4. If anyone then it is white who has chances of winning.
White lost the a-pawn soon and eventually the game after blundering her queen in time pressure.
Gunina's woes continue
Zhao Xue scored her first victory of the tournament against Valentina Gunina. Zhao got a pleasant position out of the opening after Gunina misplayed early in the game.
Zhao - Gunina
Gunina should have taken the pawn at d5 with 11...exd5 and things would have been fine for her. However after 11...Nc5, white continued with 12.dxc6 Nxd3 13.Re4 Qc7
White continued here with 14.Nc4, however 14.Rxd4 would have been completely crushing for black.
Goryachkina beats Harika
Both Harika and Goryachkina kept exchanging pieces at regular interval. Within 25 moves, the game arrived to a Rook, bishop and many pawns ending.
Harika - Goryachkina
Harika played 22.Kf1 and Black exchanged on e3 with 22...Bxe3 23.fxe3 resulting in an isolated pawn. Instead she should have played 22.Bd2.
Due to the isolated e3 pawn and black's better placed king, Goryachkina used the right technique and converted it into a victory.
Kosteniuk vs Mariya had a very short draw
In Caro-Kann Defence, Alexandra Kosteniuk and Mariya Muzychuk made a very short draw in just 23 moves.
The eleven-round event continues on Saturday. The games start at 3:00 p.m. local time, 7:30 p.m. IST
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