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Round 6 report
Monday, 23 July 2012
Going into the rest day, the Jermuk Women Grand Prix standings have tightened up.  After 6 rounds, Chinese WGM Ju Wenjun remains in the lead with 4.5 out of 6 points, but is being tailed closely by 3 others half a point behind.  Comparatively speaking the games of round six were less tense than those of the previous rounds, possibly as the participants were looking forward to the coming rest day, as only two games were decisive.

After the opening phase in the game Koneru-Kovalevskaya, white secured a small advantage, and soon after she won a pawn.


17…Ne7 18.d5 Rad8 19.Qa4 Bd7 20.Qc4 Ng6 21.Rf2 f4

However, during the press conference, Kovalevskaya stated that she was satisfied with her position, indicating that the pawn sacrifice was in keeping with the position.  She also opined that her decisive mistake came around move 30, before which the position was completely playable with mutual chances.  Indeed the 30th move appeared to be worth a second look.

30...h6? (It is safe to say that regardless of black’s choice at this juncture, white is in total command.  However, black at least should have tried to prevent the queen exchange, for example instead playing 30...Qa5 which would also maintain the tension in the position.)  The game continued 31.Rf5! Qh4 32. Qh4 Nh4 33.Rd5 and ten moves later black resigned.

Of course, the chess world is still awaiting the arrival of the real Nino Khurtsidze in Jermuk, the one who is so often the creator of masterpiece games.  Unfortunately for her, she has been unable to locate her A-game this tournament, and her misfortune continued in round 6 as well.  In the game Nino Khurtsidze-Ruan Lufei, after the opening phase, the position was completely equal, but the Georgian began to play somewhat uncertainly.


  17.Ke2?! (17.h4 was preferable to prevent the g5 push.) 

A few moves later, white miscalculated, this time with decisive consequences.


31.c5? (after this move, black’s task became significantly easier.  It was necessary to play instead the waiting move 31.Rhh1).  Black was subsequently able to ratchet up the pressure, and eventually won the game.

The clash between Elina Danielian - Hou Yifan saw white hold a slight advantage out of the opening, but soon after, complete equality was reached and after a few trades, a draw was agreed.
Danielian indicated at the press conference that she hadn’t quite gotten over the previous round’s missed opportunity in which she was unable to convert a winning position on two occasions.  As a result, she steered today’s game into simple, straightforward, and risk-free waters.


23.Rg1 Rg6 24.Kf2 Be4 25.Rg6 Bg6 26.b4 and a few moves later the draw was agreed.

The game Ju Wenjun – Nadezhda Kosintseva had an intriguing conclusion, as the opponents emerged from the opening with an even position.  After repeating moves three times, the draw was registered.  The exact same finish was seen in the men’s Grand Prix game in Astrakhan in 2010 between Wang Yue – Leko, but interestingly as discovered at the press conference after the game in Jermuk, neither Kosintseva nor Wenjun recalled the game from two years earlier.


14…Nf6 15.Qf4 Qc5 16.Qd4 Qg5 17.Qf4 Qc5 18.Qd4 Qg5 19.Qf4 1/2-1/2

The game Mktrchian – Lahno saw a quick, but attractive draw between competitors who are also close friends.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dc 3.e4 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Qb3 Nc6 7.Qf3 Bg4 8.Ng5 Bd1 9.Bf7 Kd7 10.Be6 Ke8 11.Bf7 1/2-1/2


The game between Zhao Xue – Munguntuul Batkhuyag was an interesting affair.  The position was more or less equal after the opening phase, while maybe easier to play as white.  Black responded correctly, avoiding mistakes, and at one point sacrificed the exchange to gain the initiative.  Now it was white’s turn to respond in the right manner, and she was up to the task giving back the exchange to arrive at an equal position.


37...Rb5 38.Nb5 Rc6 39.Ra5 Ba5 40.Ra5 =

After another 20 moves of effort from both sides, the two agreed to share the point and a draw was agreed.

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