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Chengdu Grand Prix R9: Harika maintains lead after fighting round
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After the second and last rest day the players are investing great effort to secure a good tournament finish in the remaining three rounds.

Five of six games in round nine of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix in Chengdu, China, proceeded well after the time control and only the tournament leader Harika Dronavalli made an earlier draw with Bela Khotenashvili. Harika was still unhappy as she felt she had missed better moves.

As Zhao Xue won the Chinese derby against Ju Wenjun, and Anna Muzychuk scored her first victory in Chengdu against Humpy Koneru, the former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova remained alone on the second place behind Harika.

Lela Javakhishvili also opened the score by winning against Olga Girya. And to complete the successful day for Muzychuk family, Mariya defeated Tan Zhongyi.

Photo gallery and round 9 standings are updated. Games are available for replay.

The ceremonial first move was made by Mr. Song Bin, Secretary of the Party Commitee of Chengdu Flying Power Company of AVIC and Vice Chairman of the People of Chengdu Board Games Association.

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Ju Wenjun - Zhao Xue 0-1

Ju Wenjun treated the Nimzo-Indian wrongly and after the tactical attempts failed she was left in a poor position with a pawn down.

Black exchanged the queens to eliminate any threats and then duly converted the advantage into full point.

R9 1

Tan Zhongyi - Muzychuk Mariya 0-1

White emerged slightly better from the opening due to the pressure against the black queenside and black's inability to get the pieces out.

However, white started wandering and missing the opportunities. Muzychuk suggested 23.e4 e5 24.b5 Bd7 25.c5 and particularly 25.Nxb7! Rxb7 26.e4 as improvements for white.

R9 2

After the game move the position has equalized and after the black knight started jumping around the trend was reversed.

White's advanced c-pawn was becoming a liability more than asset and following a cute tactical operation after the time control black achieved much better position.

R9 3

Rook and five pawns dominated white's rook and knight and black won the game.

Javakhishvili Lela - Girya Olga 1-0

Black was rather slow to develop in the Reti opening and white assumed certain advantage.

But seeing no clear plan to proceed, white started shufling the pieces around and black was allowed to catch up and even turn the assesment due to poorly placed white pieces on the c-file.

Being in time trouble, Girya made several poor choices, and this continued with 41...Qf4 even after the time control.

R9 4

From that point on Javakhishvili seized strong initiative and convincingly brought the victory home.

Muzychuk Anna - Koneru Humpy 1-0

White's play against the Classical French defence was rather modest but she managed to trade the minor pieces down to knight vs limited bishop.

However, with the possibilities of pawn breaks on both wings and with two pairs of rooks on the board, black had an easy game.

White should be praised for pushing hard to find the tiniest motive that would allow her to play for a win.

Muzychuk was rewarded when Koneru decided to trade the rooks and enter the ending N+3P vs B+2P.

R9 5

With all pawns on one side it was easier for white to push the black pieces back. Muzychuk did so with impecable technique and eventually won the game.

Cramling Pia - Stefanova Antoaneta ½-½

Harika Dronavalli - Khotenashvili Bela ½-½

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