Chess24 Jan Gustafsson on Alpha Zero

6th Women's Grand Prix Doha 2011 (8)

Danielian lead cut to a point after losing to Koneru in Doha

Humpy Koneru had to beat Elina Danielian to stay in with chances of winning the tournament and she succeeded.

Humpy Koneru had to beat Elina Danielian to stay in with chances of winning the tournament and she succeeded. | http://qatar2011.fide.com

Humpy Koneru beat Elina Danielian after blunders in time trouble in her must win game in round 8. This not only opens up battle for first place in the 6th and final Women's Grand Prix in Doha. It also keeps alive the additional race between Nana Dzagnidze and Humpy Koneru in over-all standings of the Grand Prix which will get one of them a title shot against Women's World Chess Champion Hou Yifan later in the year. Danielian still leads by a point from Koneru and Marie Sebag (who was probably lucky to escape with a draw against Stefanova). I believe that Koneru can afford to share first with one other player to overtake Dzagnidze in the over all Grand Prix standings (so long as the other person isn't Dzagnidze or that she doesn't finish second alone). Koneru has put herself in the race but she will have to score a minimum of 2.5/3 in the final rounds to have any chance at all but she is playing players in the bottom half of the table.

Match of the day. Elina Danielian thinks at the board whilst Humpy Koneru stands in foreground. Photo © http://qatar2011.fide.com/.

Humpy Koneru moved within a point of leader Elina Danielian after beating her in a game that looks to have been settled in mutual time-pressure. It has been notable just how many games have been settled with blunders around moves 35-45 in this event and I can't but think this is as a result of the time control used. Koneru isn't a win or bust kind of player so she just played a quiet non-theoretical position with no early piece exchanges. Things were balanced until black blundered on move 38 and although Koneru didn't finish things accurately Danielian spurned an opportunity on the following move to struggle on by blundering a rook.

Koneru is now only a point behind Danielian sharing second with Marie Sebag. I believe a share of first place (with just one player) may be enough for her to qualify to play Hou Yifan for the world title provided she isn't sharing with Nana Dzagnidze.

Elina Danielian. Photo © http://qatar2011.fide.com/.

Koneru, Humpy - Danielian, Elina

6th Women GP Doha QAT (8), 2011.03.02

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. Nbd2 c5 6. b3 Nc6 7. Bb2 a6

A very rare move but this position isn't really theoretically sharp.

8. a3

Seems to be new.

8...dxc4 9. bxc4 Be7 10. Bd3 O-O 11. O-O b6 12. Qe2 Bb7 13. Rfd1 cxd4 14. exd4 Re8 15. Nf1 Bf8 16. Ne3 Na5 17. Ne5 g6 18. Rab1 Bg7 19. Bc3 Nc6 20. f4 Nh5 21. Qf2 Qc7 22. Be2

22. c5 bxc5 23. dxc5 Nxe5 24. fxe5 was an alternative line.

22... Nf6 23. Bf3 Nxe5 24. fxe5 Ne4 25. Bxe4 Bxe4 26. Rbc1 h5 27. Bb4 Bh6 28. Rc3 Qd8 29. Nf1 b5 30. Ng3

White's position is perhaps little bit easier to play but there is near dynamic equality.

30...Bf5 31. cxb5 axb5 32. d5 h4 33. Nxf5 exf5 34. Qd4 Bg7 35. Re3 Rc8

Better seems 35... Qg5 36. d6 f4 37. Rf3 h3 38. Rxh3 Rxe5

36. d6 Rc4 37. Qa7 Qg5

White's position looks scarey but it seems that black has more than enough counterplay still.

38. Re2

Elina Danielian

____r_k_
Q____pb_
___P__p_
_p__Ppq_
_Br____p
P_______
____R_PP
___R__K_

Humpy Koneru

Position after 38.Re2

38...Bxe5?

Should lose on the spot. Danielian has at least two reasonable moves here.

38... Qg4 $1 39. Red2 (39. Rde1 h3 40. g3 f4) 39... Bxe5 40. d7 Rd8 41. Qe3 Re4)

38... h3 39. d7 Rd8 40. Ba5 Rc1

39. Rxe5

39. d7 Rd8 40. Rxe5 Rc2 41. Qb7 Qg4 42. Re8+ Kh7 43. Rd3 Qg5 44. Be1 and white wins.

39... Rxe5 40. d7 Rd5?

There's no recovering from this. Drops a whole rook. 40... Rc1 41. d8=Q+ Qxd8 may turn out to be winning for white but Koneru has some defending to do.

41. Qa8+ Kh7 42. Qxd5 1-0

Marie Sebag. Photo © http://qatar2011.fide.com/.

Marie Sebag hung on to a share of second place where she is joined by Humpy Koneru but only after a very difficult defence for a draw against the out of form Antoaneta Stefanova who probably should have gone on to take her advantage on to a win, although it was not at all easy.

Antoaneta Stefanova. Photo © http://qatar2011.fide.com/.

Nana Dzagnidze has yet to draw a game in the tournament, two wins were followed by three losses and now three more wins. She is only half a point behind Humpy Koneru. Today she Lilit Mkrtchian impressively exploited opening inaccuracies to go straight on to the attack and win.

Lilit Mkrtchian

rn__r_k_
_qpp_p_p
__b__p__
p__p____
_b_R____
_PN__NP_
P_Q_PPBP
_____RK_

Nana Dzagnidze

Position after 16.Rd4. Probably white is already winning here.

16..Na6 17.Rfd1 Bxc3 18.Qxc3 Re4 19.Nh4 Re5 20.Qf3 d6 21.Nf5 Kh8 22.Rh4 Qc8 23.Rxh7+ Kxh7 24.Qh5+ Kg8 25.Qg4+ Kf8 26.Qg7+ Ke8 27.Qg8+ Kd7 28.Qxf7+ Kd8 29.Qxf6+ Kd7 30.Bh3 1-0

Pia Cramling against Maia Chiburdanidze. Photo © http://qatar2011.fide.com/.

Pia Cramling and former World Women's Chess Champion Maia Chiburdanidze drew by repetition after 44 moves of a game where Chiburdanidze showed she had enough compensation for an exchange sacrifice.

Zhu Chen and Xu Yuhua also drew in 44 moves by repetition, the correct result of a game that was balanced throughout.

Martha Fierro Baquero took time exploiting a piece advantage against Batkhuyag Munguntuul but the result was probably never in doubt.

6th Women GP Doha (QAT), 22 ii-5 iii 2011 cat. X (2490)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2
1. Danielian, Elina g ARM 2454 * 0 1 1 . . 1 ½ . 1 1 1 2752
2. Koneru, Humpy g IND 2607 1 * ½ 0 ½ 1 1 . ½ . 1 . 2618
3. Sebag, Marie g FRA 2489 0 ½ * . 1 1 . ½ ½ 1 . 1 2632
4. Dzagnidze, Nana g GEO 2550 0 1 . * 0 0 . 1 1 . 1 1 5 2575
5. Cramling, Pia g SWE 2516 . ½ 0 1 * ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ . . 2545
6. Fierro Baquero, Martha L. m ECU 2353 . 0 0 1 ½ * 0 . ½ 1 1 . 4 2514
7. Chiburdanidze, Maia g GEO 2502 0 0 . . ½ 1 * 1 . ½ 0 1 4 2474
8. Mkrtchian, Lilit m ARM 2475 ½ . ½ 0 ½ . 0 * 0 . ½ 1 3 2406
9. Stefanova, Antoaneta g BUL 2546 . ½ ½ 0 0 ½ . 1 * 0 . 0 2355
10. Zhu, Chen g QAT 2495 0 . 0 . ½ 0 ½ . 1 * 0 ½ 2328
11. Munguntuul, Batkhuyag m MGL 2410 0 0 . 0 . 0 1 ½ . 1 * 0 2349
12. Xu, Yuhua g CHN 2484 0 . 0 0 . . 0 0 1 ½ 1 * 2349
Round 8 (March 2, 2011)
Koneru, Humpy - Danielian, Elina 1-0 42 D30 Queen's Gambit (without Nc3)
Dzagnidze, Nana - Mkrtchian, Lilit 1-0 30 E15 Queens Indian
Cramling, Pia - Chiburdanidze, Maia ½-½ 44 A17 English Opening
Fierro Baquero, Martha L. - Munguntuul, Batkhuyag 1-0 89 A20 English Opening
Stefanova, Antoaneta - Sebag, Marie ½-½ 65 D00 Queen's Pawn Game
Zhu, Chen - Xu, Yuhua ½-½ 44 E32 Nimzo Indian 4.Qc2

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