Humpy and Harika make a solid start at Skolkovo FIDE Women's Grand Prix
Skolkovo FIDE Women's Grand Prix is the first Women's GP event of the 2019-20 GP series, part of the Women's World Championship cycle. Twelve women are participating in this single round robin event being held in Russia, including our very own, Koneru Humpy, Harika Dronavalli along with the reigning Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun, the new Women's World Championship Challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina, former Women's World Champions Alexandra Kosteniuk and Antoaneta Stefanova among others. Top two finishers of FIDE Women's GP 2019-20 will advance to the next Women's Candidates. Photo: David Llada / FIDE
Humpy, Harika close behind the leaders
Humpy - Harika face-off in round 1
Since FIDE Women's Candidates, a new rule is observed that same country players must face each other earliest in a round-robin tournament. This means that pairing remains the same, only round five or six or any pairing for that matter is used for the earliest rounds.
Humpy opted for the English opening which Harika equalized with the black pieces quite easily.
Humpy - Harika, round 1
Here White could have kept things interesting with 16.Bxc4 fxe4 17.Nf4 Rb8 18.a3
If you wish to improve your knowledge on English opening then this is the perfect material for you
Harika holds Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun to draw in round 2
Harika opted for the King's Indian Defence against Ju. She managed to get a comfortable position out of the opening.
Ju - Harika, round 2
Here Ju opted for 26.Rbc1. However she could have kept the Bishop on the board with 26.Bd5 and maybe tried to pressurize on the backward d6 pawn. The game eventually ended up in a draw after a prolong double rook ending liquidating in a rook ending.
Learn more about King's Indian Defence by studying from Bologan's dvd
Humpy made a short draw with French no.1 woman Marie Sebag in Petroff Defence with black pieces in an equal position.
Humpy and Harika victorious in round 3
Humpy defeated IM Alina Kashlinskaya in just 20 moves arising out of Queen's Gambit Declined Ragozin Defence
Humpy - Kashlinskaya, round 3
Humpy found a devastating attack after Black's 17...Qc7 against which Black had no defence.
You can get The Ragozin Defense DVD by GM Alejandro Ramirez to learn more about this opening
Harika surprised her opponent with Bird's opening and it worked just the way she wanted as Black wasted a couple of tempi and then soon Harika had a fantastic position which became just a matter of technique for her to convert it into a full point.
Harika - Sebag, round 3
This was the second time Sebag played Nf6-d7 after playing the same on move no.10. It just shows that Black was completely taken aback by surprise as she is lacking proper plan on what to do. Harika punished her opponent by playing the obvious move here.
If you want to surprise your opponent, just like Harika did then you can get The Bombastic Bird by IM Lawrence Trent
Humpy holds Kosteniuk to a draw, Harika loses in round 4
Kashlinskaya - Harika, round 4
Harika opted for Pirc Defence with the black pieces, after exchanging the Queens, she misplayed the position and soon got into a worse position. After which she was never able to recover and eventually she lost the game.
Pirc Defence is complicated opening, you can learn all about it from either Bologan's DVD or Mihail Marin's book.
Humpy employed the solid Petroff with the black pieces against Kosteniuk. Throughout the game both tried to stir up trouble for their opponent, however none got any substantial advantage.
Kosteniuk - Humpy, round 4
Kosteniuk crashed through Humpy's kingside with 31.Rxg7+ which made Black forced to capture it with 31...Kxg7. White continued with 32.Qf6+ Kh7 33.Qxd6
Humpy eliminated all possibilities for White to create any chances with 33...Rxb3
Theoretically this position is winning for White but Kosteniuk could not find it.
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