chessbase india logo

Women's Candidates: Gunina survives a scare in round 1

by Shahid Ahmed - 01/06/2019

Valentina on top board survives a massive scare against Kateryna Lagno. The former Women's World Blitz Champion Valentina faced a deferred Steinitz Defence with white pieces but she was unable to get much out of the opening. The reigning World Blitz champion Lagno managed to equalize early in the middle game and then gain substantial advantage but she fell into perpetual check and the game ended up in a draw. Goryachkina kept pushing for an advantage out of the opening with an unusual variation in the Ruy Lopez but the Chess Queen Kosteniuk kept resisting, eventually Goryachkina missed an opportunity and it ended in a draw. Dzagnidze-Zhongyi and the battle of Muzychuk sisters ended up in uneventful draws. Photo: Anastasya Karlovich

Lagno, Goryachkina misses an opportunity to score a full point

Winning the first round would have been an emphatic statement | Photo: Anastasya Karlovich

Gunina - Lagno, Round 1

Lagno makes the unusual opening choice of playing deferred Steinitz Defence in Ruy Lopez

Out of the opening Gunina got a good position, but she jumped the gun and played 17.Nd5. What should have White played here instead?

When you have double rooks beautifully placed like that, you would not want to exchange them. However Lagno played 39...Rc2. What should have Black done here instead?

Black's position was so good that despite the advantage getting reduced, it did not diminish away completely, well until Black played 46...Qxa1

Gunina's prayers were answered? | Photo: Anastasya Karlovich

Batlle of experience vs. youth: Goryachkina looks extremely focused while Kosteniuk is relaxed as she has been in high pressure situation countless times | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili

Despite opting for an unusual variation of the Ruy Lopez with Black pieces, Goryachkina managed to equalize easily out of the opening and immediately announced an aggressive style.

Kosteniuk - Goryachkina, Round 1

Black played 15...g5 with the intention of launching an attack but the former World Champion Kosteniuk did not give any chance...

...until it was the endgame. White recaptured here with 45.cxb4 and presented Black with the only opportunity. What is the best continuation for Black here?

Georgia no.1 Nana Dzagnidze had an uneventful draw with former Women's World Champion Tan Zhongyi in Petroff's Defence | Photo: Anastasya Karlovich

Battle of the Muzychuks: A quick draw was agreed between the highest rated of the tournament and former Women's World Champion Mariya Muzychuk and her sister Anna Muzychuk who is a former Women's World Rapid and Blitz Champion | Photo: Official site

The first President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev made the first symbolic move to pawn off Women's Candidate | Photo: Anastasya Karlovich

Round 2 will start on Saturday at 3 p.m. local time, 5:30 p.m. IST. Here are the pairings:

Kateryna Lagno — Alexandra Kosteniuk

Alexandra Goryachkina — Valentina Gunina

Tan Zhongyi — Maria Muzychuk

Anna Muzychuk — Nana Dzagnidze

 

Watch all games live here from 5:30 p.m. IST

 

The organizers are FIDE, Russian Chess Federation, Government of the Republic of Tatarstan, Ministry of Sports of the Republic of Tatarstan, and city administration of Kazan. The tournament is sponsored by PJSC PhosAgro and Russian Railways.