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Round 7 report
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
round7.jpgThe 7th round of the Jermuk Women’s Grand Prix is history.  While tight at the top of the standings, China’s Ju Wenjun continues to lead, a half-point ahead of two of her fellow Chinese competitors at 5 out of 7.

The organizers, as well as the many fans of chess, were happy to see Nino Khurtsidze register her first victory, and that with the black pieces over Ekaterina Kovalevskaya.  Black equalized out of the opening and then, with initiative in hand, began to dictate the play.


24.a4? (One can state that after this move, white has shelved all hopes of attacking and can only try to defend.  The positional balance has also shifted heavily in black’s favor.  Instead, necessary was 24.Qd5 Qc7 25.Rab1 and the position is completely playable for both sides.)

Later, after taking advantage of her opponent’s mistakes, black was able to earn the full point.


26.Re4? Na6! 27.Qd1 Nc5 28.f3 (if 28.Ree1 e4! and black’s advantage is decisive) 28…Ne4 29.fe Qb4 ...0-1

Another intriguing clash was enjoyed in the game between Kosintseva-Koneru.  Black equalized out of the opening, and after white attempted a dubious idea, Koneru’s advantage might have become significant.  However, black not only failed to take advantage of the opportunity but misplayed the continuation, missing a tactical sequence which led to her demise.


28…Nf5?? (It was best for black to simply have her bishop escape from the attack and play 28...Bf5) 29.Ne6 fe 30.Qe6!! Nd4 31.Qg8 Ke7 32.Qg7 Ke6 33.Qd4 Bd2 34.Qd2 Qh8 35.Qe3 Kf7 and again an attractive combination took place.


36.Bg6 Kg6 37.Qg4 Kh6 38.Qh3 Kg7 39.Qd7 Kg6 40.Qe6 1-0

There was a curious finish in the game Ruan Lufei – Danielian.  Throughout the entire game, the position was about equal, with white possibly enjoying a small advantage.  At some point, the opponents were repeating moves, as white was seemingly contemplating how to continue:


27…Ree8 28.Nc7 Re7 29.Nd5 Ree8 30.Nc7 Re7 31.Nd5

At this point, Danielian, in compliance with the rules, requested that the arbiter Armen Nikoghosian to approach the game so that the draw would be recognized after a three-fold repetition in the position, after the move 31...Ree8.  At this point, the Chinese opponent looked up with surprise, wondering why should this be a draw, evidently after missing the fact that the position had been repeated three times.  Surprised further still was Danielian, who stated that it she was likewise not averse to continuing, but that the rules compel the game to be considered a draw.  Only after clarification from the arbiter and verification that the same position indeed appeared three times, did the players shake hands and agree to the draw.

Hou Yifan – Zhao Xue also saw the two rivals come out of the opening phase of the game with an equal position.  The world champion embarked on a creative approach in the middle game, and established a slight advantage.  However, at the critical moment, white slipped and black was able to salvage a half-point thanks to perpetual check.


25.Rh1? (white’s advantage could have been sizeable after the following alternative 25.Rac1 Re7 26.Be5 Re5 27.dc Rd1 28.Rd1 bc 29.Rd7) 26...Re7 27.dc Rc6 28.Rd1 Ng6 29.Bg5 Re5 30.Rd8 Kf7 31.f4 Rc3 32.Kf2 Rc2 33.Kf3 Rc3 34. Kf2 Rc2 35. Kf3 Rc3 1/2-1/2

White maintained an advantage throughout the opening in the game Lahno – Ju Wenjun.  On two instances, white was unable to realize her advantage when presented with the chance, and finally, after another slip-up in the endgame, her advantage vanished completely.


26.Ne5? (while much of the advantage had receded by now, it was still desirable to play the more exact: 26.cb Qb6 27.Qa2 Kh8 28.Ne5 Ne5 29.Be5 Be5 30.Re5 retaining certain chances for victory) 26…Ne5 27.Be5 bc 28.Qc4 Rf7 29.h3 Be5 30.Re5 Qd1 31.Kh2 Qd6 32.f4 Kg7 33.Qc5 Qc5 34.Rc5 Rf4 1/2-1/2

After the opening phase in the game Munguntuul – Mkrtchian, black emerged with a slight positional advantage.  On several occasions, black could have opted for a more dynamic continuation.


10...Bc5 (10...Bd6!? 11.g3 0-0 and white has certain concerns regarding the development of her pieces.)

However, Lilit took a cautious approach, avoiding complications.  In the middle game, after some pieces were exchanged, the risk in white’s position diminished and after a few more moves, a draw was agreed.


27.Nb4 Nc6 28.Na2 Ne7 29.Nb4 Nc6 30.Na2 Ne7 1/2-1/2

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