Harika Delivers With Black, Joins Leaders

GM Harika Dronavalli was the only real winner on Saturday within the fifth spherical of the Nicosia FIDE Girls’s Grand Prix 2022-2023, defeating IM Oliwia Kiolbasa with Black in 45 strikes. Harika’s victory was complete and it allowed her to affix GM Kateryna Lagno and GM Tan Zhongyi on 3.5/5 in shared first.

After attracts transpired on the opposite 5 boards, the standings stay compact, with WGM Dinara Wagner, IM Polina Shuvalova, and GM Aleksandra Goryachkina trailing the lead by half some extent on 3/5. Goryachkina had small probabilities to repeat her heroics of the final two rounds, this time in opposition to Lagno, however missed the second to enter a rook endgame with an edge.

The fourth leg of the FIDE Girls’s Grand Prix will proceed with spherical six on Sunday, Could 21, at 5:00 a.m. Pacific/14:00 CEST.


You possibly can watch stay video games of the FIDE Girls’s Grand Prix on our Occasions Web page. The rounds begin every day at 5:00 a.m. Pacific/14:00 CEST.

Lagno vs. Goryachkina

Circled as essentially the most attention-grabbing matchup of the day, Goryachkina appeared to finish a hat trick of wins after a disappointing first-round loss by the hands of Wagner. Lagno, who started the spherical with a +2 rating, discovered herself defending in opposition to Black’s highly effective bishop pair following an alternate sacrifice that procured a handed pawn for Goryachkina. 

Combating for first place. Because the gamers close to midway, each half-point is essential. Picture: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

On the essential second, Goryachkina let Lagno off the hook, enjoying 22.Bf3? as an alternative of buying and selling off a pair of bishops. Although optimum play would not have given her a decisive benefit, it might have given her the power to race her king ahead whereas Lagno’s rooks remained paralyzed.

Mammadzada vs. Tan

Tan’s efficiency in spherical 5 was near good, and with the black items she weathered IM Gunay Mammadzada‘s early ambitions and stopped White from castling, a uncommon incidence within the Catalan Opening. The diversion from idea on transfer 11 suited Tan and, as the sport developed, it was Mammadzada who needed to show her place was holdable.

Mammadzada discovered the power to carry former ladies’s world champion Tan to a draw. Picture: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

Following losses to Lagno and Shuvalova, there remained a query mark round Mammadzada’s defensive resilience, however on Saturday she was as much as the duty, discovering a tactical useful resource to alternate right into a drawn rook and pawn endgame.

Tan’s Laptop Aggregated Precision Rating (in any other case often known as CAPS) was over 99% for the sport, which is spectacular factoring in that the gamers executed 36 strikes every after leaving identified idea.

Kosteniuk vs. Wagner

Within the second leg of the FIDE Girls’s Grand Prix, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk scored a tremendous win over Wagner with the Canal Assault in opposition to the German WGM’s Sicilian Protection, and in spherical 5, the German WGM made the courageous determination to attempt her luck as soon as extra within the double-edged opening.

6.h4 on the board! Kosteniuk reveals her intention to play for a win. Picture: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

An early h2-h4 push was on the playing cards for Kosteniuk on Saturday as she hoped to double down on her profitable run in opposition to Wagner. The gamble did repay for the now-Swiss consultant, and after a mistake by Black, she was in a position to go away her opponent’s pawn construction in tatters. After a “difficult begin” to the event, the imbalance was welcomed by Kosteniuk.

Three remoted pawns and one set of doubled pawns remind certainly one of Aron Nimzowitsch‘s well-known quip: “The remoted pawn casts gloom over your complete chess board,” however Wagner expertly deflected Kosteniuk’s advances and infiltrated her opponent’s queenside. Content material with a draw, Wagner supplied a truce on transfer 31 from a place of power and was granted her want.

Kiolbasa vs. Harika

The spotlight of the day was Harika’s dominant victory over Kiolbasa, who struggled to cope with the Indian grandmaster’s f-file onslaught. Kiolbasa’s queenside pawn breaks had been just too sluggish in spherical 5 and he or she was left rueing in her determination to waste valuable tempi on knight maneuvers that gave her Indian opponent time to swing her rooks to the kingside.

One factor working in Kiolbasa’s favor was the truth that each participant’s time had slipped to beneath 10 minutes every after a posh middlegame, and Harika very almost slipped up, by her personal admission, when she performed 30…Rff4?. 

Regardless of her sizeable benefit, the place was nonetheless tough to transform for Harika below time stress. Picture: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

After White’s response, 31.g3?, Harika was compelled to surrender an alternate with time dwindling however maintained adequate kingside stress to place the sport to mattress. The one decisive sport was the Recreation of the Day and has been analyzed by GM Rafael Leitao beneath.

Harika stated concerning the sport: “I feel it was really fairly straightforward, from the opening, I received an excellent place. However then I difficult it a bit, throughout the time bother I used to be like, overthinking and there have been so many good methods, I used to be confused which one to take.”

Shuvalova vs. Khotenashvili

Having began the occasion with a loss to Lagno, Shuvalova has moved from power to power because the event has progressed and did what she might to place stress on GM Bela Khotenashvili‘s Gruenfeld Protection: Burille Variation in spherical 5. 

The primary check for Khotenashvili got here when Shuvalova performed the novelty 16.h4. For reference, the Grunfeld Protection is so theory-heavy that even a move-16 novelty is of curiosity to exponents of the opening. Maybe taking inspiration from her countryman GM Alexander Grischuk who popularized 3.h4!? in opposition to the setup, Shuvalova clamped down on Khotenashvili’s kingside and burst by way of the middle with an remoted queen pawn break on d6.

Shuvalova put important stress on Khotenashvili’s Gruenfeld. Picture: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

Desperately attempting to carry on, Khotenashvili supplied a last-ditch queen commerce which was accepted and, out of the blue, the place was holdable as soon as extra. Shuvalova would later discover that she had missed two alternatives, one tactical and one positional, to develop her benefit.

Dzagnidze vs. Assaubayeva

GM Nana Dzagnidze and IM Bibisara Assaubayeva performed the lengthiest sport of the day which stretched out to 91 strikes and resulted in a draw. Though Dzagnidze’s kingside assault left the engine flicking between a profitable and drawing place, the Georgian GM has little time on her clock to complete off a staunch Assaubayeva.

Ultimately, the gamers exchanged right into a queen and pawn vs. queen ending the place Dzagnidze’s king had nowhere to cover from the prying checks of Assaubayeva and he or she ultimately allowed the Kazakhstani IM to commerce till solely the kings remained. 

Outcomes – Spherical 5


Dzagnidze 1/2-1/2 Assaubayeva
Kosteniuk 1/2-1/2 Wagner
Kiolbasa 0-1 Harika
Lagno 1/2-1/2 Goryachkina
Shuvalova 1/2-1/2 Khotenashvili
Mammadzada 1/2-1/2 Tan

Standings – Spherical 5

Seeking to spherical six, the pairing that stands out is the conflict between co-leaders Harika and Lagno. Having performed a lot of the kind gamers of the occasion within the first half, a draw for Lagno will make the street house far simpler and he or she will be bullish about her possibilities of profitable the event. In the meantime, Harika has a possibility to take the only real lead if she finds a technique to win, pending the outcome between compatriots Goryachkina and Shuvalova.

Pairings – Spherical 6


Assaubayeva Tan
Khotenashvili Mammadzada
Goryachkina Shuvalova
Harika Lagno
Wagner Kiolbasa
Dzagnidze Kosteniuk

The FIDE Girls’s Grand Prix Fourth Leg takes place Could 15-28, 2023, in Nicosia, Cyprus. The format is a round-robin event with 12 gamers. The time management is 90 minutes for the primary 40 strikes, adopted by half-hour for the remainder of the sport, plus a 30-second increment beginning on transfer one.

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