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Khanty-Mansiysk: Ju Wenjun overtakes Humpy

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 04/12/2016

In a tale of grit and merit, Chinese GM Ju Wenjun came from behind to win the Women's Grand Prix at Khanty-Mansiysk. She won with a clear one point lead scoring 7.5/11! She won crucial games against Sarasadat Khademalsarieh and Nino Batsiashvili towards the end. With this win, she has confirmed her status as the challenger to the world title next year. An illustrated report.

Khanty-Mansiysk: Ju Wenjun overtakes Humpy; Harika is fifth

Rank Title Name IRtg. FED Pts Prize
1 GM Ju Wenjun 2580 CHN 10000 160
2 IM Batsiashvili Nino 2489 GEO 8250 130
3 GM Gunina Valentina 2525 RUS 6 5250 82
  IM Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 2435 IRI 6 5250 82
  GM Harika Dronavalli 2543 IND 6 5250 82
  WGM Girya Olga 2450 RUS 6 5250 82
  GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2555 RUS 6 5250 82
8 GM Zhukova Natalia 2448 UKR 4000 50
9 GM Khotenashvili Bela 2426 GEO 5 3250 40
10 WGM Pogonina Natalija 2492 RUS 2875 25
  IM Javakhishvili Lela 2461 GEO 2875 25
12 IM Skripchenko Almira 2455 FRA 2500 10


Chinese GM Ju Wenjun (2580)

Ju Wenjun won the final leg of the 2015-16 FIDE Grand Prix that finished at Khanty-Mansiysk. She did so with a round to spare. With this win, Ju Wenjun has won the 2016 Grand Prix cycle and has confirmed her status as the challenger to the world title next year. The World Champion will be decided by the World Cup in February 2017 to be held in Iran. The winner will have to defend her title in a match against Wenjun. In case Wenjun also wins the World Cup, the challenger will be Indian GM Koneru Humpy who finished second in the overall Grand Prix standings.

 

She had a bumpy start to the tournament as she lost to Kosteniuk in the sixth round. Halfway through the tourney, she had a win and a loss apiece. But then, fortune smiled on her.

 

In the seventh round, she beat GM Valentina Gunina, and in the eighth round...

...she received a walkover from IM Almira Skripchenko who was unwell.

After eight rounds of play, out of nowhere, Ju Wenjun was leading the tournament with IM Sarasadat Khademalsharieh and IM Nino Batsiasvili.

In the ninth round, Ju Wenjun defeated 19-year-old Iranian IM Sarasadat Khademalsharieh.
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.11.29"]
[Round "9.5"]
[White "Ju, Wenjun"]
[Black "Khademalsharieh, Sarasadat"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A40"]
[WhiteElo "2580"]
[BlackElo "2435"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]
[WhiteClock "0:03:17"]
[BlackClock "0:00:37"]
1. d4 {0} Nf6 {0} 2. c4 {0} e6 {0} 3. g3 {5} d5 {5} 4. Nf3 {25} Bb4+ {7} 5. Bd2
{4} Be7 {11} 6. Bg2 {10} Nbd7 {21} 7. O-O {667} O-O {22} 8. Nc3 {263} dxc4 {360
} 9. e4 {8} c5 {175} 10. Bf4 {72} Nb6 {567} 11. a4 {1044} cxd4 {1859} 12. Nxd4
{6} Bc5 {67} 13. Ndb5 {75} Qxd1 {536} 14. Raxd1 {143} a6 {106} 15. Nc7 {1497}
Ra7 {6} 16. a5 {2} Nbd7 {171} 17. Na4 {16} e5 {625} 18. Nxc5 {418} exf4 {14}
19. Nxd7 {12} Nxd7 {6} 20. Nd5 {47} Nc5 {778} 21. Nxf4 {1159} Ra8 {250} 22. Rd5
{157} Nb3 {41} 23. Rfd1 {145} Be6 {153} 24. Nxe6 {137} fxe6 {5} 25. Rd6 {1}
Rae8 {39} 26. e5 {38} Nxa5 {84} 27. Bh3 {2} Kf7 {117} 28. Rd7+ {4} Kg8 {138}
29. R1d6 {87} Nc6 {31} 30. Bxe6+ {12} Kh8 {5} 31. f4 {5} g5 {33} 32. Bf7 {166}
Re7 {7} 33. e6 {3} Rxd7 {103} 34. Rxd7 {5} Kg7 {25} 35. fxg5 {58} Ne5 {35} 36.
Be8+ {24} Kg8 {19} 37. Rd8 {4} Kg7 {52} 38. e7 {22} 1-0

 

Nino Batsiashvili of Georgia too won her ninth round game against Natalia Zhukova to set up a title clash with Ju Wenjun in the penultimate round.

Black's better pawn structure promises her good chances to win. how did Wenjun exploit this fact? Black to play.
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.11.30"]
[Round "10.1"]
[White "Batsiashvili, Nino"]
[Black "Ju, Wenjun"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E10"]
[WhiteElo "2489"]
[BlackElo "2580"]
[PlyCount "96"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]
[WhiteClock "0:18:55"]
[BlackClock "0:32:52"]
1. d4 {0} Nf6 {0} 2. c4 {0} e6 {0} 3. Nf3 {0} d5 {0} 4. cxd5 {0} exd5 {14} 5.
Nc3 {0} Bb4 {352} 6. Bg5 {2} h6 {10} 7. Bh4 {6} O-O {16} 8. e3 {207} Bf5 {11}
9. Bd3 {165} Bxd3 {29} 10. Qxd3 {1} c6 {150} 11. O-O {37} Nbd7 {19} 12. a3 {171
} Bd6 {151} 13. b4 {311} Qe7 {239} 14. Rfe1 {324} Qe6 {201} 15. Nd2 {475} Qg4 {
670} 16. Bg3 {77} Bxg3 {4} 17. hxg3 {5} Rfe8 {198} 18. Nf1 {693} h5 {88} 19.
Rac1 {996} a5 {893} 20. b5 {562} c5 {4} 21. Na4 {125} c4 {401} 22. Qc2 {9} Qe6
{141} 23. f3 {66} Qd6 {7} 24. Ra1 {95} Nh7 {546} 25. Nc3 {524} Nb6 {336} 26. a4
{199} Qd7 {162} 27. Rad1 {186} f5 {4} 28. e4 {422} fxe4 {17} 29. fxe4 {5} dxe4
{4} 30. Nxe4 {142} Qf5 {138} 31. Nfd2 {38} Rac8 {572} 32. Nf3 {62} Nd5 {206}
33. Ne5 {66} Ng5 {32} 34. Rc1 {204} Nxe4 {461} 35. Rxe4 {41} Nc3 {62} (35... c3
) 36. Rf4 {70} Qxc2 {27} 37. Rxc2 {4} Nd5 {84} 38. Rf3 {16} c3 {32} 39. Kf2 {42
} Re7 {62} 40. b6 {0} Re6 {0} 41. Nd7 {0} Rd6 {0} 42. Nc5 {0} Rxb6 {0} 43. Ke2
{0} Re8+ {0} 44. Kd3 {0} Nb4+ {0} 45. Kxc3 {0} Nxc2 {0} 46. Kxc2 {0} Rb4 {0}
47. Kc3 {0} b6 {0} 48. Nd3 {0} Rc8+ {0} 0-1

 Wenjun and Batsiashvili analyze their critical game.

Ju Wenjun won and clinched the title with a round to spare. Here she is seen celebrating with tears of joy.

Numerous hard fought draws later, GM Dronavalli Harika finished with a win over the out of sorts IM Almira Skripchenko in the final round. She tied for the third place with 6.0/11, finishing fifth on the tiebreak.
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.12.01"]
[Round "11.1"]
[White "Harika, Dronavalli"]
[Black "Skripchenko, Almira"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E62"]
[WhiteElo "2543"]
[BlackElo "2455"]
[PlyCount "137"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]
[WhiteClock "0:02:28"]
[BlackClock "0:03:59"]
1. c4 {0} Nf6 {292} 2. g3 {1} g6 {25} 3. Bg2 {25} Bg7 {3} 4. Nc3 {69} O-O {39}
5. d4 {73} d6 {18} 6. Nf3 {11} Nc6 {138} 7. O-O {49} e5 {40} 8. dxe5 {662} dxe5
{164} 9. Qxd8 {22} Rxd8 {5} 10. Bg5 {5} Be6 {3} 11. Nd2 {104} h6 {18} 12. Bxf6
{33} Bxf6 {357} 13. Nde4 {46} Be7 {14} 14. Nd5 {40} Bxd5 {250} 15. cxd5 {3} Nb4
{85} 16. Nc3 {16} c6 {41} 17. dxc6 {75} Nxc6 {157} 18. Bxc6 {7} bxc6 {5} 19.
Rfd1 {893} f5 {316} 20. Kf1 {204} Kf7 {16} 21. Rdc1 {299} Rd2 {576} 22. Na4 {65
} Rd4 {5} 23. Nc5 {576} Rb8 {350} 24. b3 {750} e4 {712} 25. Rc2 {128} Bxc5 {460
} 26. Rxc5 {15} Rb6 {19} 27. Rac1 {86} Rd6 {385} 28. h4 {636} h5 {16} 29. R1c2
{161} Ke6 {286} 30. Kg2 {26} Kd7 {118} 31. f3 {11} exf3+ {202} 32. Kxf3 {15}
Re6 {164} 33. Rd2+ {393} Kc7 {258} 34. Ra5 {115} Rb7 {41} 35. Ra4 {33} Kc8 {173
} 36. Rad4 {68} Rbe7 {20} 37. Rd6 {67} Kc7 {131} 38. Rxe6 {9} Rxe6 {3} 39. Rd4
{198} a5 {190} 40. e3 {0} Kb6 {0} 41. Kf4 {0} Kc5 {0} 42. a3 {0} Kb5 {0} 43.
Kf3 {0} Kb6 {0} 44. Rc4 {0} Rd6 {0} 45. Ke2 {146} c5 {0} 46. Rc3 {273} Re6 {0}
47. Rd3 {31} Kb5 {0} 48. Rd8 {41} Re4 {0} 49. Rb8+ {39} Kc6 {0} 50. Rg8 {26}
Rg4 {0} 51. Kf3 {17} Kb7 {0} 52. Rg7+ {31} Kb6 {0} 53. a4 {95} Kc6 {0} 54. Ra7
{73} Kb6 {0} 55. Re7 {18} Kc6 {0} 56. Re6+ {13} Kb7 {95} 57. e4 {67} g5 {405}
58. exf5 {23} gxh4 {1} 59. gxh4 {21} Kc7 {145} 60. Re4 {64} Rg1 {15} 61. Kf2 {
58} Rg8 {49} 62. f6 {25} Kd6 {105} 63. f7 {86} Rf8 {5} 64. Rf4 {4} Ke6 {242}
65. Ke3 {7} Rxf7 {17} 66. Rxf7 {30} Kxf7 {4} 67. Kd3 {3} Kf6 {18} 68. Kc4 {4}
Kf5 {5} 69. Kb5 {138} 1-0

 

Harika and Skripchenko analyze their game.

French IM Almira Scripchenko, unfortunately, fell ill and struggled to stay afloat in the event.

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk was the only former world champion playing in this event and she tied with Harika and three others on 6.0/11. 

Official Website

Overall Grand Prix Standings

Games in PGN