Friday, 20 July 2012
After three rounds at the Women's Grand Prix in Jermuk, two of the Chinese players, Ju Wenjun and Ruan Lufei share the lead with 2.5 points out of three.
The game Danielian-Koneru saw white play a new idea, sacrificing a pawn to achieve positional compensation. The Indian opponent accepted the offer, but did not react in an optimal manner as the Armenian built up first an advantageous position, and then a winning one. While Danielian indeed eventually won the game, it should be stated that she missed the winning continuation:
30.f6?? (30.Re8! Qc7 31.Bd5 Qd7 (if 31…Rd5 32.R1e7+-) 32.Bc4 Re8 33.Qf7+-)
and toward the run-up to the time control, and in an even position, Koneru's flag unfortunately fell resulting in the first victory for Danielian
The clash between Kovalevskaya-Munguntuul lasted only 22 moves. White emerged from the opening with a small advantage and a position that was simple to play with straightforward moves, and one which demanded exact responses by black. Unfortunately for the Mongolian representative in Jermuk, she was unable to find the right answer and at a crucial time committed a positional mistake.
17…Qd7? (necessary was 17…Qe7 18.Bf3 Re6 of course white is in control, but black is holding on) 18.Qf4 Bc2 19.Rd4 Qe7 20.Rc4 Rd8 21.Rc7 Qf6 22.R1c2 1-0
In Lufei-Mkrtchian, white dominated the play from the outset, garnering the initiative from the opening, and making most of black's somewhat passive positional display.
23...g6? (23…a5!? 24.Bf3 a4 freeing oneself from the weak pawn)
and subsequently ratcheting up the pressure, white pressed on to victory.
Judging from the performance in the opening rounds, it seems apparent that the Georgian star Nino Khurtsidze is not in the best form. Immediately after the opening, Zhao Xue equalized with black against Khurtsidze, and after the benefit of a few positional inaccuracies by white, was able to emerge much better:
13.Bb2? (13.Ng3 Rfd8 14.Qf3 =)
Xue made the most of the opportunity and quite confidently continued pressing her opponent until white finally buckled and resigned.
Kosintseva-Lahno saw the opponents engage in a completely equal struggle. White selected a rare variation, but black was up to the task and responded sufficiently to equalize. The two players opted for exchanges and after a few more moves and in a sterile position, they signed the truce and shared the point.
White was unable to create problems for her opponent in the clash between compatriots in the game Yifan-Wenjun. Black maintained at least her share of the initiative, reacting well to white's ideas.
In an attempt to stir up complications, the world champion sacrificed a pawn, but again black responded admirably. At one point, black may have attempted to gain an advantage:
23...Na5 (23...Nd4! 24.Qb7 Rb8 25.Qa6 Nb3 26.cb Rb3 and clearly black has a preferable position)
However, black did not go for this line and after some further play, the two sides agreed to a draw.