Is Humpy unstoppable?
By WFM Maria Emelianova
In the tenth round Indian players Humpy Koneru and Harika Dronavalli were celebrating victories over Guliskhan Nakhbayeva and Nafisa Muminova respectively. Before the last round Humpy is leading with 7½ points while Harika has 6½. Kateryna Lagno and Bela Khotenashvili on the press conference looked quite satisfied with a peace and are now sharing third to fourth with 6 points each. Zhao Xue outplayed the former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova although her compatriot Ju Wenjun was close to a catastrophe with another former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, but managed to get a half-point. Chinese are now sharing sixth to seventh with 5½ points each, followed by Olga Girya, which has 5 after a draw with Elina Danielian.
For the full standings table please kindly visit this section.
Pictures of the 10th round and press conferences are in the Photo Gallery.
The last round will start at 13:00 local time, Closing ceremony is scheduled at 18:30.
Olga’s play in Slav Defense created the impression of deep preparation by the Russian. Elina didn’t expect 22…Bxb6, however Olga was following one of the games of Sergey Karjakin. Probably the Armenian chose even better line than Sergey’s opponent, by placing the knight on d6.
During the press conference Elina showed an interesting line 27.Rd1 g5 28.Rd3 Ng6 29.b3 Ne7 30.Ra4 with complex position, nevertheless in the game she preferred maybe not so principal but rather tricky move 27.Rc1. Olga didn’t experience any problems in the endgame and the draw was signed after the perpetual check given by White.
Koneru – Nakhbayeva 1 – 0
In the Nimzo indian with 4.Qc2, Black mixed up the moves order in the opening (5…b6) and after critical 7.e5 had to defend a worse position. After proceeding to an endgame White maybe not the most precisely, but successfully converted advantage into a full point.
Stefanova – Zhao Xue 0 – 1
The same opening as in the previous game was played here, but with 4.e3. White had a comfortable position, but Antoaneta underestimated the threats from White’s active play on king’s side in the middle-game and missed up a moment, when it was her last chance to make a draw.
Antoaneta: “Maybe 28.b4 was not correct. The game was complicated, and I tried to play for an advantage, but didn’t expect that 22…g5 can be so dangerous. I thought I could always make a draw, but had to play more precisely.”
Lagno – Khotenashvili ½ – ½
In Bishop’s opening Bela didn’t expect active 11.g4, and White got a slightly better position, but Kateryna overlooked a very dangerous for Black 18.c5, and after 18…Kh8 already didn’t have clear chances to get decisive advantage.
Kateryna: “I was thinking to play c5 couple of moves before, but here probably played too quickly and didn’t consider it”
In the endgame Black had a comfortable position with come chances to play actively by 41. … Nf4+ 42. Bxf4 Bxf4 43. Kf3 Bh2 44. Rg2 Be5. “But I already was too tired to continue”, – said Bela at the press conference.
Maria Emelianova: “What was your plan for this game as you were both in the group of followers and had a chance to pretend on the first place if you won today?”
Bela: “I always fight for a win, no matter of the situation, but I feel very tired at the end of the tournament.”
Katya: “I never calculate my points until the tournament is finished. I just want to play good games.”
Maria: “So does Boris Gelfand! Is he your favorite player?”
Katya: “Yes, actually he is, but in Paris (FIDE Grand Prix) I support my compatriot Vassily Ivanchuk and wish him a very good luck!”
Dronavalli – Muminova 1 – 0
Harika got a comfortable play from the Symmetrical variation of Tarrasch Defense. “After 30…h4 I was happy about my position”, – said Indian. “But I misplayed something after that, I shouldn’t allow 36…Ba3. Then all Black’s problems were over. Maybe 35.Na4 was not good”
Evgenij Miroshnichenko: “Maybe 33.Nd7 is interesting with some tricky ideas after 34.Nb6”
Harika: “And after 50…Kh8 I am already fine”
However, here Nafisa still had chances to pose some questions to White using the centralised queen and active rook, but incautiously Uzbek allowed the white queen to play too active and got mated”
On the question about her feelings before this game, Harika replied: “After yesterday’s blow I was so upset, that even couldn’t get some sleep, and today I didn’t plan to play for any result, even draw was fine.”
Well, in spite of this, Harika didn’t miss her chance and for sure will have good dreams tonight 🙂
Kosteniuk – Ju Wenjun ½ – ½
Alexandra had a slightly better position from the Ruy Lopez Opening, but it was not enough for White’s advantage.
“And right out from the opening I already thought the game will be the first to finish today as the endgame with queens and bishops was completely drawish. She could play 28…Qc6 and Qd6 and we shake hands”, – said Russian on the press conference. “But here she surprised me so much with Kg7! But I don’t know what happened at the end. I was very happy with 57.Kg4, and was already about to play 61.Kg5, but then got scared from some checks. And at least I could have taken on g6. I couldn’t decide when to capture it and finally never did that.”