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Harika Dronavalli victorious in round 1

Harika Dronavalli scored a win with black pieces in the first round of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix in Chengdu, China.

The remaining five games were drawn, but not without fight. Anna Muzychuk dropped big advantage against Zhao Xue, while the battle of two former world champions - Antoaneta Stefanova and Mariya Muzychuk was full of excitement.

Replay games with analysis

The ceremonial first move was made by Mr. Gong Jinhua, advisor of Sichuan government and president of Chengdu Board Games Sport Association, and Mr. Ye Jiangchuan, Vice President of CCA.

Tan Zhongyi - Harika Dronavalli 0-1

In the exchange variation the two players tried to outsmart eachother by playing some waiting moves. Harika was self-critical about the knight maneuvers, but eventually she settled for opposite castles not fearing the pawn avalanche.

Tan was a bit over-optimistic with 17.h4? Black collected a pawn and the "bad" knight on g7 turned to be a useful defender of the pawn wall.

R1 1

After black started her own pawn advance in the center, white was forced to trade the queens. At that point Harika already assumed big advantage and duly converted into full point.


Javakhishvili Lela - Ju Wenjun ½ - ½

In an interesting Vienna Queen's Gambit white gave away bishops pair and two pawns for huge positional gains.

Black got one pawn back but at the cost of further structural weaknening. White was clearly pressing and black had to find unique moves to hold the balance. Ju managed to do so and the players agreed to a draw on move 33.

R1 2

The Chinese player suggested that white should have tried to transfer the rook to h4 and possibly h6.


Zhao Xue - Muzychuk Anna ½ - ½

In the Anti-Moscow Slav defence Anna Muzychuk employed an interesting "waiting" move 13...Rb8. Zhao Xue's reaction on the kingside was probably not the best, since black simply collected that pawn.

R1 3

The Chinese got herself into even greater trouble by grabbing the pawn on c5 instead of trading the queens. Black's initiative appeared to be decisive.

Zhao pointed that 33.Bb3 was not good enough, while Anna claimed that she missed the win with 34...Qc2 when 34...Qb1 looked much stronger. The tempo gain 37.Re2 apparently saved the game for white.

R1 4

Khotenashvili Bela - Koneru Humpy ½ - ½

In the Catalan opening both sides played logical and solid moves. After the massive exchanges an interesting ending with three pairs of minor pieces was reached.

Since neither side could make progress, the game ended with moves repetition after the time control.

Girya Olga - Cramling Pia ½ - ½

Pia Cramling surprised her opponent by playing a rare line of the Queen's Gambit Accepted. Girya tried to occupy the weak c6-square but black was on time to cover everything.

Cramling disliked white's 18.Qf3 and transfer of the bishop to h3. She claimed the bishop belongs to c4.

Both players were short on time, and despite seeing several interesting tactical possibilities, notably 28...e5!? and 30...Nxf2!?, Cramling decided to be safe and repeat the moves.

Stefanova Antoaneta - Muzychuk Mariya ½ - ½

The two former world champions were involved in the longest game of the day.

Stefanova was surprised by 3...Bg4, but she believed the resulting position - Slav opening with extra tempi - was better for white. However, she criticized 11.e4 which was met efficiently by 11...e5. Stefanova proposed 11.Bd2 as better option for develoment.

Stefanova also noted that black should have played 19...Qa6! and only after 20.cxd5 to give check on a4. In the resulting position white claimed a slight advantage due to the bishops pair.

26.b4 might have been a bit hasty and 26.Ne2-c3 was proposed as safer option. Stefanova said she should have followed the game move with 27.Rd3.

Instead of the interesting 29.bxa6!?, which white saw and calculated, she played 29.Bxc7 and effectively entered an ending with one pawn in deficit.

From then on only black could play for a win, but after many advantures the game ended in a draw on move 84.


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