Home Chess News Aleksandra Goryachkina grabs the lead in Candidates

Aleksandra Goryachkina grabs the lead in Candidates

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Aleksandra Goryachkina grabs the lead

Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia defeated the 2017 World Champion Tan Zhongyi of China to take the lead in the tournament.

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Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated event leader Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia. Nana had started the tournament with a flying start with one draw and three consecutive victories before losing to Alexandra in the fifth round.

Both Anna and Mariya Muzychuk had lost positions at some point against Kateryna Lagno and Valentina Gunina respectively, but they managed to get away with a draw.

Goryachkina is now in first place with 4/5, while Nana Dzagnidze has 3.5/5 and is in the second place. Kateryna Lagno, Tan Zhongyi and Alexandra Kosteniuk share the third with 2.5/5. Valentina Gunina is in sixth place with 2/5, while the Muzychuk sisters share the seventh place with 1.5/5.

Aleksandra Goryachkina v Tan Zhongyi

Aleksandra Goryachkina v Tan Zhongyi had after 25 moves, only Pawns and Rooks remained on the board. It seemed the players would soon agree on a draw. Tan Zhongyi, however, had yet to demonstrate the required accuracy to get that half point.  Alexsandra was quickly able to convert her small advantage into a win.

Former World Champion Tan Zhongyi of China. Photo credit https://fwct2019.com.
Former World Champion Tan Zhongyi of China. Photo credit https://fwct2019.com.

Alexandra Kosteniuk v Nana Dzagnidze

In the Alapin Variation of the Sicilian Defence, Alexandra Kosteniuk did not get any distinct advantage out of the opening. However, she kept on trying to put pressure on her opponent, and Nana Dzagnidze collapsed in time trouble. “I had just a normal position, which I spoiled in 2 moves. Why did I go with my Knight to a3? I don’t have any explanation,” said the Georgian player after the game. “It’s a part of the game – to win, to lose, it’s OK. I am fine,” said Nana.

Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia. Photo credit https://fwct2019.com.
Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia. Photo credit https://fwct2019.com.

Valentina Gunina v Mariya Muzychuk 

Valentina Gunina kept surprising her opponents with her opening choices and did not make an exception today.  She went for the Sicilian with b3 against Mariya Muzychuk and finally got the type of position she likes to play – sharp and complicated. She had her chances in the time trouble but overlooked a forced variation that might have lead to a winning ending.

After 31.Qe7! Re7 32. Rd8 Kf7 33.Nd6 White is an exchange up.  White’s position was still preferable with Queens and Rooks on the board. There was not much left to play for after the game was reduced to a Rook endgame.

Former World Champion Mariya Muzychuk (left) of Ukraine takes on Valentina Gunina of Russia.
Former World Champion Mariya Muzychuk (left) of Ukraine takes on Valentina Gunina of Russia.

Anna Muzychuk v Kateryna Lagno 

The tournament situation requires some players to play for a win in every game. Anna Muzychuk, even though having the Black pieces, tried to complicate the position right from the opening.  She was in big trouble for a moment, but she escaped with a draw when her opponent Kateryna Lagno did not play actively enough on the Kingside around move number18.

Kateryna Lagno of Russia. Photo credit https://fwct2019.com.
Kateryna Lagno of Russia. Photo credit https://fwct2019.com.

Lagno thinks she missed a good chance in the game but did not know what the exact moment to improve her play was. “I missed 26…c6, and I decided to go for a draw as I was in time trouble at that moment”, commented Kateryna after the game.

Kateryna Lagno is the heroic mother of four children and one of the strongest female chess players.  Kateryna Lagno had the following to say about kids and the tournament? She said “When you are at home, you want to go to play the tournament, and when you are here, you want to go back. I miss them. The tournament is very strong, so I am not on vacation! The good thing is that here I can walk, I can eat, and I can even read! It is just amazing!”

Sixth round pairing

The sixth round will be played on June 6th, at 15:00 local time, with the following pairings:

Anna MuzychukValentina Gunina
Mariya MuzychukAlexandra Kosteniuk
Nana DzagnidzeAleksandra Goryachkina
Tan ZhongyiKateryna Lagno

Links

Promotional video for the 2019 Women’s Candidates Tournament done by Kim Bhari.

Opening ceremony video.

Article on the Opening Ceremony.

2019 Women’s Candidates Chess Tournament official website.

FIDE website.

Russian Chess Federation.

Draw of Women’s Candidate Tournament.