Round 4: Ju Wenjun takes lead
In a dramatic fourth round Ju Wenjun beat Elina Danielian to grab solo lead with 3½ points in the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in Sharjah. In the battle of the two top seeds, Hou Yifan, playing black, defeated Humpy Koneru, who unexpectedly lost the drawish endgame. Tatiana Kosintseva had winning position against Nafisa Muminova but missed advantage in the time trouble. The game finished in a draw same as another encounter between Harika Dronavalli and Zhao Xue. Another drama happened in the game Zhu Chen – Batchimeg Tuvshintugs. Qatari player had better position during the whole game but didn’t play well in the rook endgame and even lost the game at the end. Alina L’Ami suffered another loss, this time against Anna Ushenina. Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan of China, Harika Dronavalli of India, former women’s world champion Anna Ushenina of Ukraine and WGM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs of Mongolia follow the leader with 3 points each.
Ju Wenjun 1-0 Elina Danielian
Ju Wenjun, playing white, essayed the Closed Catalan against Danielan. In the middle game Ju had huge advantage but started to play strange moves and in 25 moves the evaluation of the position went from +3 to -2.
Looking for a draw in the unpleasant endgame, Ju exchanged her Knight for two pawns on the king's side on the 55th move. White got good drawish chances but it was hard to imagine that Elina can lose this position.
White started to advance her kingside pawns and under the time pressure Elina Danielian played imprecisely. Ju forced Danielan to resign on the 85th move facing unstoppable pawn promotion.
Humpy Koneru 0-1 Hou Yifan
Humpy Koneru chose Queen’s Gambit Declined against Hou Yifan. An early trade of Queens on the 12th move and exchange of minor pieces transposed to a Rook endgame. Hou Yifan had the better kingside pawn structure and more active rooks. Nevertheless the position remained drawish but Humpy Koneru had to find accurate way to make it.
There was a last chance to fight for a draw by playing 42.Kb5 and pushing a-pawn. Humpy Koneru chose 42.Kb3 instead and few moves later World Champion emerged with two connected kingside pawns against one. Koneru resigned on the 56th move as she was about to lose her only pawn.
Anna Ushenina 1-0 Alina L’Ami
Anna Ushenina had relatively easy assignment, winning against scoreless Alina L’Ami of Romania. Ushenina needed only 28 moves to crush the Pirc defense of L’Ami who blundered away a Knight.
Zhu Chen 0-1 Batchimeg Tuvshintugs
Tuvshintugs had a harder time against Zhu Chen’s Gruenfeld Defense. The Mongolian had to defend the whole game and could only hope for the mistake from he opponent.
Zhu Chen played 46.Rb5 and after 46…Rc8 Black got chances to survive.
White could have chosen very promising 46.Kd3 and 47.Ra7 with an idea to push a-pawn.
Zhao Xue 1/2-1/2 Harika Dronavalli
GM Harika Dronavalli used the Semi Slav defense against GM Zhao Xue and drew on the 58th move by repetition of position in a Bishop endgame. There was one key moment when Black could have played for more than a darw. 34…f5 with idea to play f4 looked very promising but Harika was in time trouble and didn’t manage to estimate the advantages of this line during the game.
Tatiana Kosintseva 1/2-1/2 Nafisa Muminova
A very complex game with chances for both sides after Nafisa Muminova sacrificed a piece for two pawns in the opening. After a long battle Tatiana Kosintseva managed to get winning chances in the endgame but failed to find the precise way.
After 64. f5 Kh5 65. f6 the position of Black is absolutely lost. 64. Ne5 was also good but later on White missed good chances to win.
29th of August is a free day. The 5th round will be on 30th of August at 3 p.m. local time.