Round 5: two Chinese Hou Yifan and Ju Wenjun at the top
There were two decisive games and four draws in the fifth round of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in Sharjah. The sole leader after four rounds, Ju Wenjun, was the first one to finish her game. Her opponent Batchimeg Tuvshintugs decided not to check her luck today and the players repeated the moves in the middle game. Elina Danielian relatively quickly outplayed Zhao Xue, while World Champion Hou Yifan defeated Tatiana Kosintseva after long and complex fight. Indian derby between Humpy Koneru and Harika Dronavalli as well as the game Ushenina-Muminova finished in a draw. Alina L’Ami and Zhu Chen split a point and thus both players have stopped the unfortunate series of losses.
After 5 rounds Chinese Ju Wenjun and Hou Yifan are leading with 4 points. Three players Batchimeg Tuvshintugs. Anna Ushenina and Harika Dronavalli share the third place with 3, 5 points out of 5.
The distance between two players, who fight for the victory in Grand Prix Series Hou Yifan and Humpy Koneru, increased to two points.
Batchimeg Tuvshintugs 1/2-1/2 Ju Wenjun
Ju Wenjun was not familiar with the plan of White chosen in the opening and got slightly worse position. The game has just started and Batchimeg could have tried to check the attacking resources of her position. Nevertheless the game followed with repetition and according to Batchimeg she decided not to continue playing because of problems with her health.
Elina Danielian 1-0 Zhao Xue
White obtained very comfortable position out of the opening and was trying to maintain the pressure.
After 17…h6 White found a very nice respond 18.d5! After 18…ed 19. Bd5 Black could have entered the position without a pawn after 19…hg 20. Bc6 Qc7 but Zhao’s position quickly fell apart after 18…Qb8?. Elina Danielian, who managed to recover after huge disappointment from the previous round, played very precisely and after 26 moves Zhao Xue had to resign.
Alina L’Ami 1/2–1/2 Zhu Chen
Alina L’Ami decided to play a new opening but Zhu Chen didn’t repeat the way she played in her previous games. Qatari player managed to surprise her opponent and Alina had to look for a plan in the relatively unknown position. According to Alina the reason she gave up a-file and played Rd1 was her idea to find some play.”Draw is not a word from my vocabulary and I just always want to fight in each game,“ said Romanian player. She also admitted it was not the best moment to avoid an exchange of the rooks because after Black response 18…b5 White’s position became worse.
The pawn sacrifice gave Zhu Chen white squares and initiative. The were few interesting opportunities for Black however it’s hard to say if Black could have fight for something more.
Hou Yifan 1-0 Kosintseva Tatiana
In a complex position Hou Yifan gave up two pawns hoping to obtain an attack on the king’s side. With accurate play Black managed to change few pieces and hold an extra pawn. The position remained very complex and while Kosintseva was looking for a plan to increase her advantage, Hou Yifan managed to reinforce her pieces. In the time trouble World Champion found a very powerful exchange sacrifice, which led to winning rook endgame.
54.Rd3! Perhaps, the last chance for Black was not to take an exchange. After 54...Nd3 it's hard to hold for black.
Harika Dronavalli 1/2–1/2 Humpy Koneru
Humpy Koneru chose a solid line with Black and didn’t get any problems in the opening. If there was a moment to fight for something more for white than Harika had to play 15.Ne5. After 15.Nd2 all light pieces were exchanged and the position became simple and balanced.
After the end of the game Rajai N Alsusi, General Manager of Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club presented flowers and cake to former world champion Anna Ushenina, who turned 29 today.
The fate of the beautiful and tasty cake has been decided by players and other guests one hour later!