Round 2: Harika Dronavalli takes early lead
Harika Dronavalli from India defeated Nafisa Muminova from Uzbekistan to become the sole leader after two rounds of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in Sharjah. Her compatriot Humpy Koneru managed to recover after unfortunate start and confidently won against Alina L’Ami. There were two more decisive games as Anna Ushenina and Ju Wenjun outplayed Elina Danielian and Zhu Chen respectively. Hou Yifan split a point with Zhao Xue and one more game between Batchimeg Tuvshintugs and Tatiana Kosintseva also finished in a draw. Five players including Hou Yifan, Zhao Xue, Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, Anna Ushenina and Ju Wenjun are half a point behind the leader.
Zhao Xue 1/2 – 1/2 Hou Yifan
The Chinese derby didn’t last for too long today and after one hour of play the peace has been signed. The theoretical line led to a known repetition and both players seemed satisfied with the final result. Speaking about interest of Chinese media towards Women Grand Prix event, Hou Yifan pointed out that after such a great success of Chinese team at the Olympiad the attention of media turned to chess once again and Grand Prix event will be followed closely in China. At the same time both players of Chinese women’s team seemed unsatisfied with their own result in Tromso. “We have good chances to win this Olympiad as well as a previous one but for some reason we are always second”, said Zhao Xue.
Humpy Koneru 1-0 Alina L’Ami
It ‘s not an easy task to play against two best Indian women players in two days and Alina L’Ami suffered another loss today. There was an opportunity for Romanian player to exchange her knight for White’s light-square bishop but all the same Black got solid position after the opening. The critical moment of this game was perhaps at move 26 when Black didn’t play 26…Ne2 allowing her opponent to win an important pawn on the King’s side. It was just a question of technique from Humpy Koneru and she didn’t give any chance to her opponent.
Ushenina Anna 1-0 Elina Danielian
Anna Ushenina and Elina Danielian could have finished the game around 30th move but both players missed 30.g4 in the time trouble.
30.g4 Nf6 31. g5 Nh5 32. f4 Nd7 33. Nc6 and knight on d7 is hanging.
However the position was still in White’s favor but Danielian found the right moment to complicate the position after a piece sacrifice. Black managed to get 3 pawns for the piece, and in fact at one moment Black could make a draw with a nice move but failed to find the precise way.
Tatiana Kosintseva 1/2-1/2 Batchimeg Tuvshintugs
Once again Tatiana tried her luck in Ruy Lopez against Batchimeg but this time she chose 5.Bc6 comapere to 5.c3 as she played in the previous stage of Grand Prix In Khanty-Manskiysk. Same as before Russian player put a lot of pressure on her opponent but once again Batchimeg showed good defensive skills and managed to hold the position.
Black could have tried to take a pawn on a5.
In order to complicate things White sacrificed a pawn on a5 even it was not so clear if she has enough compensation. Nevertheless Black found another way to keep the balance and after 45 moves the game finished in a draw.
Zhu Chen 0-1 Ju Wenjun
It was a very interesting and complex game with many different opportunities for both sides. Ju Wenjun played aggressively on the King’s side but her opponent kept calm and was holding the pressure. . The game became extremely sharp after 23...f5, and every move was crucial.One of the critical moments happened on move 24 when Zhu Chen decided to change her dark square bishop for the knight. Ju Wenjun continued to fight for initiative and in the time trouble it seemed more difficult for White to find the exact moves.
Harika Dronavalli 1-0 Nafisa Muminova
Harika tried to avoid theoretical lines today and didn’t get anything out of the opening. As she pointed out at the press conference, she was not happy with her play at the early stage of the game and after 17…f5 and 18…c5 she estimated her position as slightly worse. It’s hard to say how Black could have improved her play but as in the previous game Harika showed better understanding of the position. She competently changed few pieces and started to play against black weaknesses. When Nafisa moved her queen on the Queen’s side Harika used a chance to create crashing attack on the weak king of her opponent.