Wednesday, 18 July 2012
On July 17, 2012, the first round of the Jermuk Women's Grand Prix was played. International Arbiter Armen Nikoghosyan presided over the commencement of the round, with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov making the first move.
In the game Humpy Koneru – Zhao Xue, a Queen’s Indian defense was played with the 5.Qb3 variation. After a few moves of theory, the following position appeared:
Here Koneru carried out a novelty with the move 9.a3!? (previously, in the games Vallejo-Anand (2003) and Cramling-Sokolov (2006) we witnessed the continuation: 9.cd ed 10.Nb1!? 0-0 11. Nc3 Na5 12.Qc2, and after a few more moves a draw was agreed.) In uncharted waters, the Chinese player played somewhat hesitantly, and Koneru grabbed the initiative and followed through with an impressive victory.
24.Re1 1-0 (24... Kf8 25. Bd7!)
The game between Kovaleskaya-Kosintseva was intriguing. After the opening, in which the position was more or less equal, white offered a repetition of moves in a tacit draw offer, but black rejected, opting for the following instead:
22… Nd3 23.Qb1 Ne5 24.Qc1 Be6
Where only a few moves later, in time trouble, black committed a positional blunder, and white was quick to take advantage of the opportunity:
32.f4 Be4 33.Re4 Nf7 34. Re8 Ke8 35.Qa1 +-
White was able to win this position without too much exertion.
Without question, the most unpredictable encounter of the day was seen in the game Nino Khurtsidze-Ju Wenjun. After the opening white went ahead with active, albeit somewhat unfounded, measures. Wenjun was unfazed, and in keeping her cool, responded properly to White’s plans, counterattacking in the center to generate a winning position:
17…Nd5!! 18.cd Qg5 19.Kh1 Bc3 20.Bc3 Bd5 21.Re3 Nf5 22. Nf3 but on the next move, black blundered and the situation reversed completely.
22… Qf4?? (22... ef! 23.Re8 Re8 24.Qd5? Ng3 -+ ) 23. Qd5 Ne3 24. fe Qf3 25.Bg2 Qe3 26.Bd2 Qd3 27.Qd3 ed 28.Ba8 Ra8 29.Rc1
And after these moves, white not only eliminated their problems but even had certain winning chances. Wenjun, distraught after ruining a great position was in deep thought contemplating how to save the position. Just when things looked grim for black, white began a series of dubious moves.
44.Ba3? 44… h3 45.Rg3 Kf7 46.Bb4 d3 47.Bd2 Rd4 48.Kf5 Rh4 49.Rg1 Rg4 50. Rh1 Rg2 51.Bf4 d2 52.Bd2 Rd2 53.Rh3 Rd5 54.Ke4 Rc5 and a few moves, black won the back and forth struggle.
An attractive game was witnessed in the clash between Hou Yifan-Munguntuul Bathkuyag. When the smoke cleared after the opening, the position was equal. Nevertheless, the young Chinese phenom attempted to infuse sharpness into the position with a pawn sacrifice. It is worth underscoring that black responded confidently and correctly, achieving a solid and risk-free position.
13.d4?! cd 14.c4 Nb6 15.c5 Nc4 16.Bf4 Kh8 17.Rc1?! Ne5 black chose a good line, but could have alternatively opted for (17... Nb2! 18.Qc2 Bb3 19. Qb3 (or 19.ab) 19…Nb4!! ), while the game saw the continuation 18.Be5 Bb3 19. Qb3 Ne5 20.Ne5 Re5 21.Qb7 Qb8! 22.Qb8 Rb8 23.f4 Re7 24.Nf2 Re1 25.Re1 Bc5 26. Nd3 Bb6 27.Kf2 Kg8 28.Kf3 Kf7 29.g4 Rd8 30.b3 Rd6 31.f5 Rc6 32.Rc1 Rd6 33.Re1 Rc6 34.Rc1
A peaceful draw took place between Armenian compatriots Danielian-Mkrtchian. The players assayed a topical line in the Queen's Gambit opening, after which black equalized. Equal chances could be estimated throughout the middlegame, and remained so until the draw was agreed on move 32 after a 3-fold repetition.
30.Qc8 Kh7 31.Qc2 Kg8 32.Qc8 Kh7 1/2-1/2
The game between Ruan Lufei and Kateryna Lahno was similarly devoid of fireworks. At one point after the opening, white attempted to sharpen the position, but black was up to the task, and after a few more moves, the sides acquiesced to a 3-fold repetition and the point was split.
10.Nc6 bc 11.e5 de 12.fe Nd7 13.Bf4 Bg5 14.Bg3 Bh4 15.Bf4 Bg5 1/2-1-2