Women's FIDE Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysk is officially closed Print
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 00:00

Ugra stage of the Women's FIDE Grand Prix is officially closed.

After the end of the final round of women chess Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysk closing ceremony followed.

Naturally chess players were the main actors on the stage, namely the prize-winners of Ugra stage. Chinese Hou Yifan tried on a gold medal. Olga Girya who represents Ugra and Russia won the second place. For Olga her current success is yet the biggest in her career. Bronze medal went to one more Russian Alexandra Kosteniuk.

On behalf of International Chess Federation President, Vanik Zakarian, FIDE Vice-president, thanked the organizers of the Grand Prix stage and personally the Governor of Ugra Natalia Komarova for the warm welcome on Ugra land. “There are so many tournaments held in this wonderful city that no other spot on the map of Earth can compete with it. You make a great contribution to the development of chess in the world. Without your help and support FIDE would not have the strength to organize chess competitions on such level”, stressed FIDE Vice-president.


In the words of Deputy Governor of Ugra Alexey Putin, after the end of Winter Olympics chess became the main sport in Ugra and in the whole Russia. “We closely followed FIDE Candidates tournament and the tournament that ended today. Already tomorrow Ugra welcomes Women Rapid and Blitz Championships. It is safe to say that chess, on its population coverage, is the most popular sport in Ugra. I want to congratulate those who won, and wish the others good luck at the next tournaments in Khanty-Mansiysk”, said Alexey Putin.


The Head of Ugra capital, President of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug Chess Federation Vasiliy Filipenko on the occasion of the closing of the tournament, as he confessed himself, even learned a Chinese proverb, “the shortest step can have a big impact”. He followed his speech with a joke that no one cares for the figure so much as a woman chess player. He thanked the participants for making chess not only intellectual but also very beautiful kind of sport.

All the participants noted the high level of tournament organization. Hou Yifan liked that the hotel was close to the playing venue. Anna Muzychuk admired the beautiful building of Ugra Chess Academy. “It is always nice to come to Khanty-Mansiysk, everything is always on a very high level here”, said Alexandra Kosteniuk. Nafisa Muminova came to Khanty-Mansiysk for the second time and also noted Siberian hospitality.


During the tournament that official site of the competition hosted 55 thousands of unique visitors. Most viewers came from Russia and Germany. Every fifth visitor was from these countries. Americans, French and Chinese also showed interest in this event. Overall, the official site of the tournament was visited by the residents of 122 countries.


Young pupils of Ugra Chess Academy also showed their interest in the tournament. During the whole Grand Prix stage they followed the games, regularly visited the playing hall, and then analyzed the most interesting games with their coaches.

Tomorrow in Khanty-Mansiysk open Women Rapid and Blitz Championships. All the participants of Grand Prix will take part in it, except for the champion who return to China because of her studies.

Official website



Round 11

The FIDE Women GP from Khanty Mansiysk came to an end, delivering two big announcements: it is official – the Chinese chess wall remained intact, as even the former women world champion, Alexandra Kosteniuk, didn’t succeed to discover its weak spot. After a fierce struggle, Hou Yifan hold her position and triumphed in the tournament with 8.5/11, 1.5 points ahead of second place! Congratulations for such a confident victory!

If the chess world was somehow ready to agree that Hou Yifan’s result would be predictable, the star of the event is, undoubtedly, the local Russian hero: Olga Girya! Not only she came unshared second, with 7/11, after succeeding to ferociously defend today against Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, but also she scored a GM norm and kept in her native country a big bunch of rating points! All the fans of Olga would like to congratulate her for the fabulous performance – well done!

Very much to the happiness of the Russian and worldwide supporters, unshared third and with 6.5/11 comes yet another…Russian: the former woman world champion, Alexandra Kosteniuk, who almost seemed to get the Chinese GM under serious pressure…it was not to be but the draw she scored today places her on an honourable third position.

With 6 points out of eleven games are two players: Anna Muzychuk, who didn’t break the defense of Tatiana Kosintseva, and Kateryna Lagno, who ruthlessly defeated her compatriot, Anna Ushenina.

On 50% we have also two players: Nana Dzagnidze and Antoaneta Stefanova, who finished her tournament on a good note, with a win!

Less fortunate are the players on 5/11: Anna Ushenina and Zhao Xue, as well as Nafisa Muminova on four, who lost her game today against Stefanova but, nevertheless, had a good tournament after all! And in the end, comes Tatiana Kosintseva and Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, who are actually positive and looking forward for the upcoming 45 games of Rapid and Blitz!

This is where it all happened!

The Winner was known, two title norms have been achieved, the Rapid and Blitz World championships are knocking at the Khanty Mansiysk’s door…so, did all this mean we would have a peaceful, fight(less), boring last round?

There were actually many good reasons to hope for better and, indeed, today’s last and final 11th round didn’t cease to keep our eyes glued to the monitors!

Hou Yifan – Alexandra Kosteniuk 1/2

Hou Yifan had more than once proven that the favourable tournament position doesn’t dilute her playing mood and killing instinct in any way. Moreover, a last round win against Alexandra Kosteniuk would be a sweet revenge for their 2008 World Championship final match, won by the Russian with 2,5-1,5. At the same time, we can expect Alexandra to fight with full strength to keep or even improve her tournament position (third place so far).


And yes, the public was happy to see a fight straight from the Reti opening! Some fans were suggesting that Hou Yifan is out to destroy them all, by choosing a less theoretical debate just to get a game; others were on the Russian side, claiming that Alexandra would not accept anything else but blood on the chess board, giving all her strength to get the point on her side. All in all it promised to be a very entertaining game and indeed, it was!

The opening and middle-game discussion gave Black comfortable play, as Alexandra’s strong pawn center promised to deliver later on, in the endgame. White had in return more piece activity, so the question was: would the former world champion neutralize the threats of the reigning woman world champion, keeping therefore a long term upper hand?

Alexandra did chase the Chinese all over the board but the tournament winner defended accurately in the only game that she actually found herself in trouble; although, during the press conference, Hou Yifan said she was not truly worried of her position. In the end, as we know, “all rook endgames are drawn”and this was no exception.

Alexandra was not very soft in regard with her play, sharing with us her disappointment of the too many blunders she had made…which, we may add, is the only way too success, self-criticism! And, just like she said, “45 more games in Rapid and Blitz…plenty of time to, hopefully, do better.”

Batchimeg Tuvshintugs – Olga Girya 1/2

Olga Girya, who had constantly built up her image as the revelation of the tournament, has a double sportive aim. Apart from defending her second position in the tournament, she may wish to extend her GM norm to 11 games with a final win. She faced Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, ranked shared last on the standings, but such games are by no means easy! The Mongolian came in an excellent mood after her yesterday’s win…


And indeed, the Exchange variation chosen by Batchimeg against Olga Girya’s Slav was not at all dull and dry, and soon it paid off wonderfully, especially after the unfortunate and unlucky 13th (!) move played by Olga: 13…Bb5.

Olga’s desire to exchange her light-squared bishop is understandable, since activating this piece is Black’s main problem, but with 13…Bb5, Black created a chronic weakness in her camp, losing a pawn by force and Batchimeg happily accepted the offered gift.

Olga further managed to flee into an endgame two (doubled) pawns down when the only question was whether she would succeed to hold a difficult position. After five hours of play she did just that!

Kateryna Lagno – Anna Ushenina 1-0

Finally, we have the Ukrainian derby, Lagno-Ushenina. Sometimes, such duels between colleagues delivers an intensity of fight similar to those from the highest World level, so… we’d better keep an eye on this game, too!


Right after three moves, it became clear we will have a subtle, maneuvering fight, each player trying to outplay the other in the 3.Bb5+ Sicilian. Lagno’s 6.d4 is a bit unusual, the same as (after 6…cxd4, rejecting the pawn sacrifice), 7.Qxd4.

Once landed in the Maroczy type of positions, both Ukrainians tried to impose their plans: Black looking for a good moment to break with b5, White keeping the pressure in the center and being on the lookout to blow things up with a well-timed e5…

19.e5! The “White” Ukrainian found the proper moment, asking Black tough questions in the center and on the weakened black squares.

The bomb in the center vanquished Black’s defense and as soon as move 25, when Katya played the elegant 25.Re8, Anna had to congratulate her compatriot.

Nana Dzagnidze – Zhao Xue 0-1

We seem to have a leitmotif in the last round: the lucky number of Kasparov – 13! This mere number brought luck to some players but for others it delivered the opposite effect. In this game, the Queens Indian, Petrosian System 13.Bxe7 that the Georgian played was logical, trying to take over the ‘weakened’ black squares, but in fact it is less precise, as Black’s play became much easier and it was not clear how would White infiltrate in the enemy’s camp. Instead, 12.g3 and Bg2 was perhaps preferable.


But the game continued, it became a fierce strategical fight which eventually turned into a tactical one, when time was moving faster than it should have… the Georgian found a very good practical way to combat Black’s march of the kingside pawns and its strong center. Although both, the white and the black kings were rather vulnerable, Nana could have stricken first with 30.h3 or just one move later, by having played the same pawn move, clearing the way to the enemy king on the h-file.

Instead she decided to shelter her own king first, but White’s king marathon via g1-f1-e1… and all the way to b1 took too much time, both in terms of moves and seconds on her clock.

Zhao Xue took her chance, cleared up the board of the white coloured pieces, which were falling one by one under the poisonous Black’s moves. In the end, Black’s two extra rooks were too much and Nana resigned.

Zhao Xue: “I am disappointed with my result here, I just want to forget it, although I won the last round. It is my worst performance in the GP series…except for Hou Yifan, I am not sure there are other players which can say that they are genuinely happy with their games…”

Tatiana Kosintseva – Anna Muzychuk 1/2

Tatiana tried to surprise her opponent by meeting her Sveshnikov Sicilian in exactly the same way Nisipeanu did against Anna: with the fashionable and strategically ambitious 11.c4 system. Just like on that occasion, Anna refrained from blocking the queenside with 11…b4 (by far the most popular answer) in the favour of the dynamic 11…Nd4; on the next move the opening surprised re-bounced, as she deviated first from her game against the Romanian GM: 12…Be6 was played, instead of 12…Bb7.


So it was actually Tatiana to get a return surprise and it is certainly an unpleasant feeling to have to start thinking over the board in such slippery lines. She didn’t find the best ways, Black equalized and soon Anna started to press with: 22…Bg4+ and 23…Be2 – this is what Tatiana missed and it became clear to her that Black is having very promising compensation for the pawn…and the clock started to tick faster and faster…but for Anna too and, although she truly liked her position, she couldn’t find the best way to increase the pressure and the draw sign appeared on the scoresheet after repetition of moves.

Although Anna hoped for more at the beginning of the tournament “after the terrible losses against Girya and Kosteniuk I had to calm down and try to minimize damages.” We are looking forward to the Rapid and Blitz! – both players exclaimed in the press room.

Nafisa Muminova – Antoaneta Stefanova 0-1

So today we had another “orthodox” kind of opening from the ingenious Bulgarian, the Steinitz deferred Spanish. Muminova used the same setup as against Zhao, the old-fashioned Duras (d2-d3 and c2-c4) system, but Stefanova developed her bishop to g7 instead of e7. After 13 moves, the structure looked as if resulted from some classical Be3 KI lines, with the sequence …Ng4, Bg5 f6 and later dxe5, …fxe5.

After her technique had let her down a bit in the previous rounds, in today’s game Antoaneta displayed, once again, her extremely powerful play! It all started with her move number 13, which was far from being ‘unlucky’, as it punished White’s imprecise opening/middle game strategy: 13…Rxf3!, where the only way for Nafisa to keep the game going was to accept the sacrifice and play: 14.gxf3 where the strong 14…Qh4 is countered with yet another quiet but very important move: 15.h3! – not easy to foresee… the interesting point of this subtle move is that after 15…Qxh3 16.fxg4 Qxg4+ 17.Kh1 Qf3+ White has 18.Kh2! where it is not clear whether Black has more than a draw.


But after the game continuation: 14.Bg5? Nafisa couldn’t hold her position together, although she still put up a fight until move 40, when she had to bow in front of the former women world champion’s strategy…

“It is nice to win the last round, at least I am going with a good feeling and next time I will do better.” (Antoaneta)

A fantastic tournament has just finished, but don’t relax prematurely, dear online spectator! Soon the Women Rapid World Championship starts, so stay tuned for more hair rising, nerve-wrecking but also artistically pleasant experiences!

Official website

Round 11 Photo Gallery


head 2

Round 10

Today, 20th April 2014, was marked by three important moments in the FIDE Women GP from Khanty Mansiysk: the Chinese power-lady proved indeed to be unstoppable: today’s draw against Anna Muzychuk secured the first place unshared for Hou Yifan, even before the last 11th round! Chapeau for the reigning woman world champion, who ruled the tournament with no sign of hesitation and not even once having had a bad position!

On the second position, after her win over her Russian colleague, Tatiana Kosintseva, comes none other than the tournament’s sensation: Olga Girya! Her outstanding 6.5/10 brought her a nice extra detail too: a full GM norm out of 10 rounds.

And just like yesterday, third comes the former women world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, who is not willing to share it with anyone, as after today’s win over Nafisa Muminova, she is alone on 6/10.

It seems that the very important holiday we were all celebrating here through chess, Easter, brought a lot of success to at least two of the Russian players! But we all did enjoy the very nice atmosphere created by the tournament organizers, who succeeded to bring the traditions and cultures together in the big family of chess players! Although far from home, although having to fight tooth and nail over the board, the Easter feeling was certainly present: in the press conference, the players continued the battles in the traditional Easter fight of…breaking the coloured eggs:) It was a common occurrence that the less fortunate chess players took over their more successful colleagues in this small revenge, known as egg tapping.

If Yifan won the tournament, Anna got her vengeance by winning the egg fight!

In the leaders’ footsteps and with 50 % are only two players: Anna Muzychuk and Nana Dzagdnize, who both drew their games. Alone on 4.5/10 is Antoaneta Stefanova , closely chased by Zhao Xue and Nafisa Muminova on four points.

For the third Russian player in the field, Easter will surely cheer her up, as Tatiana Kosintseva lost her game against Olga Girya, remaining on 3 points, just like Batchimeg Tuvshintugs. But the latter scored a very important victory for her moral, by winning against Zhao Xue!

Anna Muzychuk – Hou Yifan 1/2

“After two losses and a terrible blunder, I thought the aggressive approach today will might bring even further disappointments. So a draw against the tournament leader is far from being bothersome, it is good to run away from the unfortunate series I had and try again tomorrow”- Anna said during the press conference.

In the rather calm 3.Bb5+ Sicilian that the Slovenian chose, the Chinese showed she knew was she was doing, as she went for a theoretical line which leads to a forced draw. The key move, also employed by Gelfand, is very well known and considered to bring Black half a point with 11…d5. Soon after, in less than an hour, the ladies shook hands and agreed it was time to properly celebrate Easter, together with us in the press room:)

2 Hou Y
Veni, vidi, vici

An outstanding tournament for Hou Yifan, we all congratulate her for being already 1st no matter what happens tomorrow, and we hope to see her fighting again in the World Cup…although she confessed: ”I haven’t decided yet whether I will play or not. But I am very happy with the tournament here, as I didn’t play quite successfully before…”

Olga Girya – Tatiana Kosintseva 1-0

A loss against the strong GM from China, Hou Yifan, can happen now and then and it was not something to stop the talented player from Russia, Olga Girya. She came back on her feet, confidently taking the advantage in a Bogo-Indian against Tatiana Kosintseva.

3 Girya
Another crucial game for Olga, not only for the standings but also for a GM norm

Further she proved, once again, her class with her voguish repertoire and the lethal bullets Olga always keeps at hand. In this game the gun fight started with: 12.c5! Planning to meet Tatiana’s 12…e4 with 13.cxd6 and 13…exd3? doesn’t work due to the very strong 14.Qxc8!; but Black’s choice didn’t save the house from fire either: 13…Qe6 was countered with Olga’s 14.Bc4!

Powerful play from the local hero (Olga was born in Khanty Mansiysk region), who went straight for the kill in a position where the more restrained 12.Ne4 would have promised White a solid edge.

The pawn Olga won gave her a very enjoyable game, yet with still some technical difficulties to convert it into a full point. But her Russian colleague failed to put up a stronger defense and missed at some point a very good practical chance to hold: 34…Rc4! 35.Qd3 Rc1+ 36.Kh2 Qc4 when the rook endgame after 37.Qxc4 Rxc4 is drawn because Black follows up with Rc2. In the game, Olga Girya was allowed to transpose into a much more favourable rook endgame which she confidently converted into a win.

4-Girya smile
Olga on a very honourable unshared 2nd position and also a full GM norm out of 10 rounds!

Although the Russian WGM’s performance is outstanding, she keeps her feet firmly planted on the ground as she modestly “accepted” the facts: “I cannot say I am thrilled I took this norm, I don’t pay that much attention to statistics, titles and honors; I just want to play good chess.”- and well she did!

Antoaneta Stefanova – Kateryna Lagno 1/2

Slight change of generalship for today’s game from the unpredictable Bulgarian GM; we all know that Grunfeld is Kateryna Lagno’s main weapon in her arsenal against 1.d4, so many would have not expected Antoaneta to go precisely into such lengthy theoretical discussions, to have the fight exactly on the enemy’s favourite battleground.

5 Stefanova
Bring me that point!

But never say never! Antoaneta prepared very well for her game, although she still chose the less topical 5.Bd2, which makes perfect sense, since the lines are not as branched as in most of the crazy Grunfeld variations. It was obvious she tried to hit in the Achilles’ heel, as Katya has played the same line against Elina Danielian, in the Women GP from Jermuk, 2012. Further on, Stefanova used an idea that was recently tried by Shirov, which suits her style very well: 8.h4 – with all forces forward!

But the Ukrainian GM seems to be the kind of player who checks and repairs, if necessary, the possible holes in her repertoire, as she soon deviated from her previous game with the new move 9…e6 (instead of 9…Bxc3+), thus meeting Stefanova’s opening surprise with… a return surprise!

6 Lagno
The Ukrainian spoiled the public with yet another sharp and complicated game

The position remained very unclear for a long time, reaching many interesting and debatable moments, but all in all a great fight! Black had good compensation for the sacrificed pawns, and it was only later on that maybe Lagno didn’t find the best continuations, as she let her pieces land into an unpleasant endgame…

Stefanova might have missed a very good chance with 45.e7 Rb2+ 46.Kf1! (46.Kg3 Re2! draws immediately) 46…Rb8 47.Ke2 and now for example: 47…Re8 48.Ke3 Kg7 49.Kf4 Kf6 50.Ra6+ with excellent chances of winning all of black’s pawns.

But the moment was not spotted and Katya defended like a lioness, to keep her position together for a draw.

Zhao Xue – Batchimeg Tuvshintugs 0-1

The Chinese played in a rather experimental way against the Grunfeld and it didn’t turn out very successfully, especially since Batchimeg reacted in the most principled manner, calculating her way out with a developing but also, tactical move: 10…Nd7! is strong because 12.Bxb7 Rb8 13.Bd5 Qa5! 14.Bc1 Ne5! gives Black winning compensation.

There was not much to be done for White, to improve the less favourable position and the Mongolian demonstrated she can surely put up a fight in Khanty Mansiysk.

The always kind Batchimeg is now happy too!

An off day for the Chinese but for Batchimeg it was certainly a game to cheer her up: ”I am very happy…” – and you can watch the entire press conference, where Batchimeg shares very openly her emotions in a truly inspiring way.

Alexandra Kosteniuk – Nafisa Muminova 1-0

Nafisa Muminova treated the ever-sharp Ragozin in a far from conventional way, moving several times with the same pieces and recklessly pushing her kingside pawns, everything for the sake of getting the bishops pair. Kosteniuk decided to punish Blacks delay in development with 15.e4, but this weakened the dark squares, offering Black strong counterplay, based precisely on her powerful kings bishop.

8 kosteniuk
The strong and elegant Black & White queen

Six moves later, a paradoxical situation occurred. Muminova’s natural 21…Kf8 was good, but not best. 21…Kd8 (!!) would have been the shortest way to ensuring the king’s safety and connecting rooks. Black over-defends the c8-square and prepares to meet 22.Nd4 with 22…Rc8. In the game, this would have failed to 23.Qxc8!+ Bxc8 24.Re8 mate!

The very tough tactical debate moved its territories into the endgame, which seemed to be completeley fine for Nafisa…but then she gave a pawn with an unfortunate check: 37…Rc3 which loses the b7-pawn due to: 38.Kd2 Rc7 39.Bxb7

With such a present in her hands, the former women world champion said “thanks”, won the rook endgame without any extra headaches, firmly keeping her third position in he standings.

Anna Ushenina – Nana Dzagnidze 1/2

Anna Ushenina repeated the 6.a3 Rubinstein Nimzo line which had yielded her a full point in the first round game against Muminova and which had occurred once again, although with an opposite result, in the seventh round game Batchimeg-Muminova.

How to win this game…that is the question

This time, Black refrained from taking on c3 in the favour of the old-fashioned 6…Bd6. The system arising after 7.Nf3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Nc6 had been analyzed by Ragozin, as an essential complement of the opening bearing his name and was a favourite weapon of Fischer and Tal.

Dzagnidze deviated with the very rare 7…b6, which looks like a cocktail of plans, maybe a bit “hotter” than the position allows. After 8.e4 White obtained a comfortable advantage, but then Nana’s experiment was justified psychologically, since Ushenina played slowly in the opening and the initial phase of the resulting middlegame.

With little time on the clock, she missed the tactical operation 26.Bxg7 Kxg7 27.Nxd6, when White’s rook and two pawns would have been stronger than the two knights, especially with the weakened black kingside. One move later, 27.Rfd1 would have kept all the trumps, whereas the played 27.Qd4 followed by c4-c5 eventually led to simplifications and plain equality. The final peaceful result was accepted by the players on move 49.

HAPPY EASTER, all the way from Khanty Mansiysk!

Just one round to go, so see you all tomorrow at exactly the same time as usual: local hour – 15 o’clock!

Official website

Round 10 Photo Gallery



Round 9

The Hou Yifan Express turned into a jet-propelled aircraft after today’s win over her main contender for the 1st place, the Russian Olga Girya. In a very entertaining and sharp game, the Chinese claimed the point and is now enjoying a two points lead of the second place.

The amazing string of victories of the Russian star, Olga Girya, was disturbed today by the tournament leader, yet she is the only one who technically can still catch up with Hou Yifan, as she is alone with 5.5/9 on the second position.

Still on the third place but now shared with two more players, is Anna Muzychuk, who lost against Alexandra Kosteniuk. The Russian GM joined her on 5/9, the same as the Georgian GM, Nana Dzagnidze, after mercilessly defeating Antoaneta Stefanova right on her birthday.

Only two players are on 50%: Anna Ushenina and Kateryna Lagno, who both didn’t manage to break the defense of Batchimeg Tuvshintugs and Nafisa Muminova, respectively. For the Uzbek player, Khanty Mansiysk will have a special place in the drawers of memory, as it was here she scored her last needed third IM norm, after holding Kateryna Lagno to a draw!

Just half a point behind, with 4/9 are: Nafisa Muminova, Zhao Xue and Antoaneta Stefanova, followed by Tatiana Kosintseva on 3 points and Batchimeg Tuvshintugs with 2, after troubleing Kateryna Lagno by stealing an important half a point.

The long awaited direct confrontation between the leader, Hou Yifan, and her closest rival, Olga Girya, has come. Olga seems to be starting with a psychological disadvantage. It is not so much about playing with Black, but rather that a draw would secure her the final grandmaster norm. In case of losing, her rating performance would be just a few points below 2600, meaning that she would miss the norm by a whisker. Will Olga be able to give it all for this battle, leaving half-measures aside?

Nafisa Muminova is the second norm contender – a draw would secure her international master norm. She plays with Black, too, but doesn’t have to live with the pressure of the fight for the first place, so things might be ‘simpler’ for her than for Olga.

Last but not least, Antoaneta Stefanova celebrates her birthday. We can only be curious what kind of rabbit she will pull out of her “opening Magician” hat today…

Hou Yifan – Olga Girya 1-0

Hou Girya

In a typical Scheveningen Sicilian style, with certain queenside strategic achievements for Black but strong kingside pressure for White, both players seemed to have been surprised by the opponents choice, since they spent important amounts of time. Things can get very sharp and it is not clear which is the final word of theory in such lines… It can just be very messy; for example after 20…g6 21.Qh3 Black has a choice between 21…Nxf4 22.Ng4 e5 23.Rxf4 and 21…f5.

During the press conference, Olga told us she had assessed 21…Nxf4 as simply too dangerous to even calculate, which is of course understandable, given White’s scary-looking attack.

After a long thought, the Russian played the passive 21…Bd7? leaving White with free hands to carry out her attack.

And obviously, Hou Yifan did just that, happily taking her chance to make the impressive move: 29.Rxh5, leaving the enemy king with serious injuries. In spite of the lack of time on the clock, the Chinese played very precise, strangled Black’s position further and won an excellent game, which gives her a lead of two full points!

We can almost say that Hou Yifan is the winner of the Khanty Mansiysk FIDE Women GP, although there are two more rounds to go! The only one who can still, theoretically speaking, catch up with her is the same Olga Girya, who, unfortunately, missed her GM norm today…yet, with two rounds left, she is second in the standings and with very good chances to make her norm n an even better scenario: from 11 rounds instead of 9!

Anna Muzychuk – Alexandra Kosteniuk 0-1


Kosteniuk combined two different plans in the Catalan opening. 4…Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 is usually intended as an introduction to a hybrid form of the closed system, but Alexsandra captured on c4 before castling. With the bishop on d2 and the d4-pawn hanging, White couldn’t retrieve the pawn with Nf3-e5; moreover, Muzychuk didn’t find the best way of organizing her pressure in the center and saw herself without enough compensation for the pawn…

Up to move 21, it went Alexandra’s way, but then her 21…Re8 gave just the amount of air White needed to breath in and untie himself with the strong, and played by Anna, 22.Qc4 and 23.Nc1, where suddenly Black’s pieces are awkwardly placed; instead, 21…Qb7 would have set up all kinds of tricks on the diagonal; for example if 22.Qc4 (just like in the game) then 22…Ne3 follows!

And then again, the time trouble showed its scary head in the worst possible moment: when the position became messy and very complicated. Having pressed the entire day and after very powerful moves, Alexandra decided it was about time to prove she is not just the moral winner of the game but also the one to take the point just before move 40.

What started as a shaky tournament for Alexandra, began to take more and more shape of an actually good event, to the injury of her opponent, who suffered two painful losses in a row – free days are not good for Anna…

Nana Dzagnidze – Antoaneta Stefanova 1-0

Starting with a Triangle-system move order, the game soon transposed to a genuine Stonewall Dutch. Although there is no forced theory in this setup, we cannot call Black’s play experimental. It may be that on her birthday Antoaneta decided to play something very classical?

Curiously, both ladies thought an awful while in the opening, around half an hour each for just eight moves.


Black’s 9…b6 might have been premature, forcing Black to answer 10.cxd5 with 10…cxd5 (since 10…exd5 loses a pawn to 11.Qc2). The symmetrical re-capture is known to favour White and, indeed, Nana Dzagnidze managed to develop strong queenside initiative soon.

And yet, which should be the right way to maneuver your way out of these long, strategical battles? The Georgian came up with the very original, but perhaps slow, plan: 15.Bc1, trying to reroute the bishop and exchange it on the stronger colleague from d6. Stronger might have been to increase the pressure with 15.Rfc1, Nfe5 etc.

In the end though, the game continuation favoured White, as Antoaneta couldn’t restrain her aggressive style, choosing the double-edged plan with g5, followed by g4, weakening the dark squares. The Georgian didn’t let her chance vanish, played precisely: 24.Bxe4! and 25.Bd2, increasing her advantage. Probably Antoaneta should have gone later on for 25…Bxe2!? 26.Bh6 Bf3! with excellent compensation.

With the clock ticking the time away, Black’s dark squares suffered more and more of loneliness and soon Nana asked a very dangerous question with an exchange sacrifice: 33.Rxd5! Although not a necessary one, as White could have continued with the more quiet 33.Kg2, the game move was even more difficult for Black, from a practical point of view.

Soon Antoaneta couldn’t hold her position together and got one of the most unpleasant ‘presents’ for a chess player’s birthday: a defeat. For the Georgian player though, today’s win is very important, as it propels her all the way up to a shared third place!

Kateryna Lagno – Nafisa Muminova 1/2

Lagno Nafisova

Kateryna Lagno perhaps mixed up something in the opening, as she was burning a lot of time on her clock. But Nafisa Muminova’s developing plan with 10…Bf5 may also not be the most flexible. Another option would have been the laborious regrouping …b6, Bb7, Ne6, Q somewhere and c5.

Still, Black should be completely fine after the game continuation, too. And yet, Nafisa’s rook maneuver was certainly creative but a bit too sophisticated, as the rook from a8 reached the d5-square via an ingenious route: a8-e8-e6-g6-g5-d5. This took too much time, enough for Katya to claim the advantage.

When the moment came to collect, Katya stumbled under time pressure, White’s advantage disappeared after the unfortunate queens’ exchange and the game eventually liquidated into an opposite colour bishops endgame. More practical problems Lagno could have posed her opponent with 36.Bxc7, but this didn’t happen and soon the game ended in a very good draw for the Uzbek. She is now the proud holder of her third very much wanted IM norm!

Tatiana Kosintseva – Zhao Xue 1/2

Zhao Kos

In the usual style of the 4.d3-Berlin, a slow maneuvering started, where it is not clear if the Chinese’s plan was the best one in the position: she went for the natural but not too effective 11…Be6 and 12…Qc7, where White is slowly taking over.

The other plan, perhaps not the B but the A-plan, was with …h6, …Nh7, …Qf6/Ng5.

This time Tatiana didn’t hesitate anymore, outplayed the Chinese in the middlegame, bought herself a dream position with bishop pair and attack…she converted her advantage into an endgame with an exchange up but there were still some technical difficulties present in the position.

In the end these technical issues proved too much and Zhao Xue escaped with a draw, although in the mutual time trouble by the end of the game, it was even Kosintseva who had to take care a bit, so as to at least secure half a point.

After 75 moves and 5.5 hour of play, the players decided to make peace and a draw was agreed.

Batchimeg Tuvshintugs – Anna Ushenina 1/2


Batchimeg didn’t expect the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, as she reacted not in the most precise manner. The concept with 5.Qxd4?! is not in the spirit of the position. (The critical line is 3.Bxc4). Black was already better in the endgame resulted barely out of the opening.

Although, far from winning, Anna Ushenina enjoyed her comfortable position the entire game but couldn’t find better methods to make the most of it and had to accept a draw right after the time control. Nothing left to play for, when K+N vs K+B is left on the board.

Official website 

Round 9 Photo Gallery 


Girya 2

Round 8

Hou Yifan enteres the rest day on the right foot, remaining a point ahead of the second place after drawing Zhao Xue. But in the 9th round she will still have to face the sensation of today: Olga Girya! The Russian won, for the third time in a row, a crucial game against Anna Muzychuk, forcing her to swap positions 2nd for the 3rd. Olga is now alone on 5.5/8, plus 21 rating points and very close to score a GM norm.

Just half a point behind the second place and also, still having to face Hou Yifan, is Anna Muzychuk, yet a full point in front of the large number of players on four points.

The players on a balanced 50% are: Kateryna Lagno, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Antoaneta Stefanova, Nana Dzagnidze and Anna Ushenina. Trailing with 3.5 are Nafisa Muminova, who could have had a fabulous tournament but she lost against Nana Dzagnidze, and Zhao Xue, who is the third player in this tournament to force the leader accepting a draw.

The rest day timing is very good for the last two players: Tatiana Kosintseva, with 2.5/8 and Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, with 1.5, who almost defeated Antoaneta Stefanova!

A clear sign of tiredness: many mistakes, missed opportunities and errors all over the place – the players are happy with the upcoming rest day!

As for today’s important 8th round, we had two direct encounters:

Olga Girya – Anna Muzychuk is more than just an open fight for the second place. The winner would get the moral right and some objective premises for catching the Express, Hou Yifan.

The Russian seemed to start with a double psychological advantage. Apart from having the white pieces for the second time in a row, she had an excellent moral condition after yesterday’s win.

Despite her comfortable lead, the World champion was not absolved from a direct encounter, either. Zhao Xue comes after two painful losses, but surely she was going to put all her ambition in the Chinese match!

These were the initial circumstances of the today’s screenplay… Let’s see what happened on the stage!


Olga Girya – Anna Muzychuk 1-0

The Russian player continues to amaze with her home preparation, as she played the Moscow opening in a very correct and precise manner, getting soon a nice and stable advantage. Perhaps she was inspired by the thought she could no way disappoint her Muscovite supporters.

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The theoretical discussion was very interesting, as Olga chose to take on c4 with the queen 12.Qxc4, which, first of all, prevents Black from playing…b5; also she saves a lot of time, since later on the plan is to continue with Bb1, Qd3; had she taken with the bishop on c4: 12.Bxc4, it would have taken ages to reroute the bishop.

The Russian kept the pressure on after her strong opening idea and eventually Anna Muzychuk had to flee into a lost rook endgame.

Muzychuk’s unconstrained 43…h4 (perhaps Black can still fight with a more passive approach, with a waiting move like 43…Rd3) speeded things up, entering a technically lost endgame. After more than five hours of play and a great deal of technique, Olga came out victorious, swapping places in the standings with Anna Muzychuk: she is now second, right after Hou Yifan!

Zhao Xue – Hou Yifan 1/2

One cannot stop but admire the stamina of Hou Yifan, who doesn’t just want to conserve her lead but simply goes the hole hog to get a playable position. Just like in round six against Stefanova, the reigning women world champion went again for the slightly rare setup on top level chess against 1.c4: 1…b6 and 2…e6! No theory, no beaten paths, just a game of chess in China versus China.

Zhao, too, chose an original path, delaying the advance of the d-pawn and keeping the game between English territory. But when the pawn landed on d4, the structure became typical for the 3…dxe4 French defense.

Having no mercy for her friend and compatriot, Hou Yifan seemed to be doing more than ok, as she took advantage of her opponent’s inaccuracies and went on to win a pawn. The only problem Hou Yifan had was to avoid handing the initiative to Zhao Xue.

Hou Zhao

And this is exactly what happened, as Black didn’t find the most precise way ; the compensation proved to be enough to hold Yifan to a draw and to stop Zhao’s self-destructive mode from the unfortunate previous rounds.

Alexandra Kosteniuk – Kateryna Lagno 1/2

A fierce theoretical French battle ensued in the game Kosteniuk – Lagno, so don’t get shocked by the early march of Black’s king, it is all in the books!

Later on, Kateryna’s very logical, developing and certainly suiting her sharp style, 8…Nc6 was perhaps a bit too slow, as it allowed White to quickly grab her chance with 10.Qg4, followed by 11.0-0-0 and an easier to play-over-the-board position.

Lagno Kosteniuk

Instead, Black should have been fast and very precise, by either taking on 8…cxd4 followed by 9…Nc6 with gain of tempo, or immediately hitting on the b2-pawn with 8…Qb6.

As for what happened next…you know the title “Fire on board”?! It would suit this game pretty well, as the question was who’s attack will come first? White pushed the h-pawn, Black his b-one, White sacrificed the knight on d5…

Black took it and then gave a rook back, in return for promoting the b-pawn into a queen on the…a-file! Total chaos in this game, not clear who and if and where someone was winning, as the ladies did fight like real gladiators today! The readers are invited to carefully check the game and to let us know if White had a win along the way…the game ended in a draw by perpetual after 25 moves in 2.5 hours of play.

Nafisa Muminova – Nana Dzagnidze 0-1

Nafisa’s fans were closely watching their favourite player’s game today, as she is getting closer and closer to her third and the last needed IM norm.


Her 3.Bb5 Sicilian went just fine, following the typical plans for this opening up to the less common but certainly more aggressive plan with 7…c4, instead of the more popular 7…b5. The Georgian aimed to paralyze White’s position but, at the same time, this might backfire as this brave solder is vulnerable to b3/d4 breaks.

The Uzbek player didn’t find the exact moment to do that and soon Black enjoyed a more comfortable position. And yet, when the sharp ideas appeared on the board, Nafisa was ready to exploit them with the very thematic for this tournament (yes, I bet you’ve already guessed):

27.f5! exf5 28.e6 Bc7+ 29.Kh1 Qxe6 30.Rxg6+ Kh8 which would have worked wonders had the Uzbek player continued in the same powerful way with 31.Rag1, followed by 32.Bh6, bringing all the pieces into attack.

Nafisa missed the moment and, with the unpleasant interference of the devilish time trouble, suddenly the Georgian was on top! The final blunder appeared though on move 46:46.Qe3? allowing Black to end the game with 64…Qd6, and White’s king is simply too vulnerable; he should have saved his skin with 46.Kg3…


Pity for this shortcoming, as Nafisa had an excellent tournament so far; but a good way for Nana to enter the rest day on 50%.

Antoaneta Stefanova – Batchimeg Tuvshintugs 1/2

Antoaneta must have been born under an explorer’s star…we still don’t know how she manages to regularly get her opponents out of book as early as move five!


And yet, experimenting implies an elevated dose of risk. The unnatural development of the queen’s knight and excessively moving around with the same dark coloured bishop caused White being underdeveloped, without any control in the center and virtually lost, had Batchimeg played: 17…Bc5! where after 18.Bxc5 Nxc5, e4 comes, with complete domination on the light squares. Stefanova’s creative play got her in a bit of trouble today…as she later on confessed:”I played horribly”.

But the Mongolian didn’t accept the gift from move 17, played a bit insecure and slowly but surely the advantage slipped away. During the mutual time scramble lottery, Batchimeg got herself into trouble, when, as Antoaneta said during the press conference, the Bulgarian could have posed more difficult questions with 29.Qf3 and the obvious idea of taking on e6. With the clock mercilessly ticking for both players, the comedy of errors ended by perpetual check.

Anna Ushenina – Tatiana Kosintseva 1-0


Another common theme for the Khanty Mansiysk FIDE Women GP is the Tartakower variation of the Queen’s Gambit, which keeps on popping up. So once again we see this more subtle weapon in the hands of Ushenina; but something must have happened, as she played her moves fast and confident yet mixing up the move order, getting no advantage as White after the opening.

Ushenina’s 14.Bb5 was played one move too early, allowing Kosintseva to equalize with 14…a6; theory goes 14.0-0 first and only after Black has placed the knight in a less favourable position with 14…Nd7, then comes 15.Bb5.

After this ‘hand slip’ from White, Black’s position was somewhat comfortable, where the bishop pair ruled the board in the latter stage of the game and around move 42/43 Tatiana’s advantage was getting really serious, thanks to the strong supported passed c-pawn. But then the unfortunate move 48 came, where the Russian GM missed a little trick: 48…Rb1? which loses the precious c2 pawn, due to 49.Rxc2 Bxd4 50.Qxf7 Bg7 51.Rc7 Qd6+ 52.f4 – this f4 is what Tatiana didn’t see …

After having stabilized the position and without Black’s dangerous c-pawn, Anna Ushenina won the game without any further disturbance.


The initial question about catching the Hou express remains open…And just like in the popular TV shows, the commercial announcement arrives at the most interesting moment – we now take a break with a free day!

Official website

Round 8 Photo Gallery



Round 7

Hou Yifan express keeps a steady pace forward after today’s win against Anna Ushenina, to the despair of second place, requested by Anna Muzychuk, who also won her game against Zhao Xue. Just like in yesterday’s standings, third comes the local hero, Olga Girya, with a remarkable 4.5/7, after winning a beautiful game (we highly recommend it to our readers!) against her compatriot and former women world champion, Alexandra Kosteniuk.

As you might have noticed, absolutely nothing changed at the top: Hou Yifan is waving from her 1st position to Anna Muzychuk and Olga Girya, who are on the 2nd, respectively 3rd place and some work to do to catch up with the Chinese, as she is a full point ahead and only 4 rounds to go.

On 50% we have four players: Antoaneta Stefanova, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Kateryna Lagno and Nafisa Muminova, who keeps on proving her tactical skills after today’s win over her friend but rival on the chess board: Batchimeg Tuvshintugs.

Less fortunate are the players on 3 points: Zhao Xue and Anna Ushenina, who lost their games today; also on 3 points is the Georgian Nana Dzagnidze, after drawing Kateryna Lagno.

Last but hopefully not least, are Tatiana Kosintseva, with 2,5 points and a rough tournament so far, as well as Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, who has difficulties to restore her bad luck.

Hou Yifan – Anna Ushenina 1-0


In this crucial meeting between the reigning and the former World Champion (almost some sort of revenge game after their match, which passed the crown from Ushenina to Hou Yifan), White used the latest trend in the 3.Bb5+ Bd7 Sicilian variation, choosing the previously neglected 4.c4. Many top players used it in 2013, including World title candidates Karjakin and Svidler.

After ten moves the position was almost identical to a popular Maroczy Sicilian tabiya with the only difference that the white bishop was on b5 and not on e2.

Ushenina seemed surprised by her opponent’s choice and barely out of the opening, she had only half an hour left.

Hou Yifan didn’t let such a ‘little’ detail like extra time to go away, pressed further and when the critical moment came, the Chinese squeezed the life out of Black’s position with the strong: 30.e5 where 30…d5 doesn’t work due to, the thematic already for this tournament, 31.f5!

Soon after, the Chinese proved that not all rook endgames are drawn, as she confidently converted her advantage into a full point.

Olga Girya – Alexandra Kosteniuk 1-0


Who would have thought that a classical and rather strategical opening can bring so many fireworks?!

For 11 moves, the Tartakower line of Queen’s Gambit followed in the footsteps of the third round encounter Ushenina-Kosteniuk. Olga Girya deviated with 12.a4, preventing Black’s queenside expansion with …b5, but otherwise the scenario was similar for a few more moves, including 13…Qe8, which, although a novelty in this concrete position, is a typical maneuver in general.

Black’s next move, 14…Bd6, was also quite original and the game took an unusual course for this opening when the center was blocked. During the press conference, Alexandra Kosteniuk expressed her opinion:”When I went for this setup, I thought I should be doing fine; but if I cannot find the right way, Black’s position will fall apart” like a sandcastle.

But Olga found an extremely interesting idea, bombing the center with the dynamite: 19.d6! Kh8 followed by 20.Be7! fxe4 21.Nh4…fantastic concept, giving a full piece in return for a dangerous attack. She continued with yet another strong move, completely dominating Black:25.Qc4! and the question is…how can Black untangle from such a cramped position ?Alexandra didn’t find her way out and the mutual time trouble didn’t help either. This time though, Olga Girya was not disturbed anymore by the ticking of her clock.

Anna Muzychuk – Zhao Xue 1-0


In the Italian game (which Zhao didn’t expect, as she said during the press conference, although the Slovenian GM did play it in the 1st round of this event), Muzychuk chose the solid and flexible Giuoco Pianissimo, based on d2-d3 rather than an early d2-d4. From modern perspective, this doesn’t look that passive anymore, since in the Ruy Lopez White plays d2-d3 quite a lot these days. Zhao met her opponent’s lack of early territorial ambitions with the active 8…d5, causing the game to be to a lesser extent „pianissimo”.

Black seemed to be doing fine but then Anna Muzychuk found what even computers have difficulties to discover: a positional exchange sacrifice!

17.dxe5! , which put Zhao Xue under big pressure, as her king had to open up after 17…Nd3 18.exf6 Nxe1 19.fxg7+ Kxg7 20.Qxe1 where White has excellent coordination and Black’s pieces are scattered all over the board.

When initiative is handed in the skilful hands of Anna Muzychuk, little can still be done and Zhao Xue had to accept it was again, not one of her best days.

Tatiana Kosintseva – Antoaneta Stefanova 1/2


Faithful to her principles, Stefanova played the 3…g6 Ruy Lopez, not really an unusual line, but definitely not a topical one, either. The game simplified soon, reaching a position where both players had double pawns. White’s kingside structure enjoyed higher mobility though, allowing Kosintseva starting a positional attack.

The Bulgarian sensed the danger and countered back on the queenside, questioning White’s strategy who had to come up with yet another punch, the very often seen key move this tournament: 23.f5! played by the Russian GM (this important move keeps on coming, even for this game it is the second time!). After all the pieces went off the board, the players agreed to shake hands in the rook endgame: a draw before the time control.

Batchimeg Tuvshintugs – Nafisa Muminova 1-0


Trying to improve her tournament position, Batchimeg met the Nimzo with the same line as in the first round game Ushenina-Muminova. This time, Nafisa Muminova didn’t allow the transposition to the Saemisch attack and the massive central pawn aggression anymore, deviating with 7…dxc4. This is supposed to offer Black free piece play to compensate for White’s bishops’ pair and mobile center. The Uzbek player seemed well prepared, as she played relatively quickly the next moves, while her opponent started going down on her clock.

After yesterday’s excellent game against Tatiana Kosintseva, Nafisa delighted the public with yet another attacking game! Having the upper hand out of the opening, She crowned her excellent play with the beautiful:

24…Ng4! winning the game soon and jumping on a great 50%.; obviously 25.fxg4 fails to 25…Qxg3+ 26.hxg3 Rh1 mate, making it a good example for any tactics book.

Nana Dzagnidze – Kateryna Lagno 1/2


In the shortest game of today (16 moves in two hours), White chose one of the most principled systems against the Grunfeld, the 7.Be3 exchange variation. Curiously, Nana Dzagnidze seemed surprised by the highly topical 10…Rd8, as she expected 10…Nd7, which Katya has played before against her.

To get over the board something which you haven’t checked right before the game in the sharp and tricky Grunfeld, is not a dream came true…After a long thought, Nana played the modest 11.h3 and on the next move didn’t find anything better than forcing a draw by repetition. To call it a day was the practical approach, which most players would opt for, too.

Official website

Round 7 Photo Gallery


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Round 6

We enter the second half of the FIDE Women GP with the same leader: Hou Yifan, who keeps the one point distance from the second place, after drawing with Black against Antoaneta Stefanova. In her shadow, just like yesterday, follows Anna Muzychuk, who drew the second Anna from the tournament: Ushenina.

On the heels of second place jumped Alexandra Kosteniuk, who won her game against Nana Dzagnidze, being now the collector of 3.5 points, just like her compatriot, Olga Girya, who won against Zhao Xue.

Trailing on three points are: Kateryna Lagno, Zhao Xue, Antoaneta Stefanova and Anna Ushenina. On an honourable 2.5 is Nafisa Muminova after a convincing win against Tatiana Kosintseva, as well as Nana Dzagnidze, who lost her game against Alexandra Kosteniuk.

With the hope to do better in the upcoming rounds are: Tatiana Kosintseva on two points and Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, who broke her unfortunate series and drew against Kateryna Lagno.

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The ever-growing tournament tension erupted through two small incidents:

One of them, as unpleasant as it may seem in a chess tournament, could also be regarded positively. At some point one of the spectators was absorbed by the surrounding atmosphere of the round to the extent that he was calculating and suggesting moves and variations in loud voice. He was immediately evacuated from the playing area, but we could indirectly be glad that chess can sometimes raise a type of enthusiasm which is typical for a football stadium…

The second incident is also double-faceted. From outside, it looked pleasantly diverting, but for its protagonist, Zhao Xue, it caused an internal tragedy…

Zhao Xue – Olga Girya 0-1

The game started after an amusing moment, at least for the spectators. On her arrival, Zhao Xue sat down in front of… Anna Muzychuk! Was this provoked by over-focusing or rather by stage fright, this didn’t seem important. The main question was whether Zhao Xue had prepared against the… right opponent, which was Olga Girya today, and certainly not Muzychuk.

Zhao Xue taking the right seat

The truth came out at the press conference when Zhao Xue confessed that she had mixed up everything with preparation: not only the opponent, but the colour, too! She added that the shock was so strong that she couldn’t recover properly.

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The game didn’t go her way, either. Girya’s 4…e5 is reported to be a refutation of White’s setup (for instance, Caruana’s faced it against Karjakin, after which he played it with Black, too!) and the rare 6.exf6 only made things worse for White. Girya went on increasing her advantage confidently and, much to the spectators’ delight, forced her opponent’s resignation in a double-queen ending, something not very common in practice.
The torture ended with: 41…Qc6 42.e4 fxe4+ 43.Qxe4 Qd1+

Nafisa Muminova – Tatiana Kosintseva 1-0

The Uzbek player played an excellent, sharp Scheveningen Sicilian variation today against Tatiana Kosintseva, which brought her an important victory! From outside (and for the players either, as revealed during the press conference), it was not clear  where and when precisely did things go wrong for Black; perhaps 11…Nxd4 was premature. Later on it became more and more difficult for the Russian GM to find all the best and, by no means easy, defensive moves… after the very strong 23.f5! from Nafisa, followed by 25.Rxf5! nothing could be saved from fire anymore and Tatiana soon resigned.

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Powerful play from Nafisa Muminova

The beautiful execution reminds the public of the same deadly break of Hou Yifan against Dzagnidze!

Antoaneta Stefanova – Hou Yifan 1/2

Judging by the opening played, we could easily believe that colours were actually reversed. Hou Yifan played the Owen opening (something she had done twice so far, but only against 1.c4), which is held to be rather experimental, thus seeming to rather suit Stefanova’s style! But the systematic way Black undermined the white center and the ensuing dynamic compensation for the pawn weakness suggests that Hou Yifan had analyzed the position thoroughly, rather than improvising over the board. We can also appreciate the width of the World Champion’s preparation, as well as her constant aim to put pressure on her opponents.

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Antoaneta Stefanova’s stubborn defense couldn’t be broken

The game ended in a draw only when there was not even one trace of tension left: the relatively popular lately king versus king ending…

Alexandra Kosteniuk – Nana Dzagnidze 1-0

Dzagnidze played the Paulsen-Kann Sicilian, eventually leading to a known Hedgehog tabyia. Her choice seemed to match the yesterday’s approach, when she had offered to her opponent all the space she wanted, just to bounce back at the right moment. Today, after the initial regrouping maneuvering, Nana played the rare (but not really uncommon as a general idea) 17…f5, which suddenly placed her on the side heading for space. Due to White’s harmonious mobilization, weakening the e6-pawn looked risky, but during the post-mortem Aleksandra confessed that she didn’t like her position at that point.

A very disciplined Alexandra Kosteniuk, who always arrives amongst first in the playing hall

The game had a slightly fluctuating course with some white pressure but reasonable chances for Black.

At the culminating moment the uninvited guest, the mutual time trouble, caused the players throwing the point from one to the other…

After the unfortunate 28.Bf4? the Georgian could have profited to the maximum and maybe even won the game, had she played 28…e5! where after 29.Bh2 Bh6 comes… the moment slipped away and as soon as the next move came, the table turned and suddenly Kosteniuk was in the lead.

In such cases, the player who commits the penultimate mistake wins… And as this was the last twist in the evaluation of the position, Kosteniuk confidently claimed the full point.

Kateryna Lagno – Batchimeg Tuvshintugs 1/2

A difficult game for the Mongolian player, not only due to her position in the standings but mostly psychologically. In round-robin events, the chess players tend to metamorphose into ruthless sportsmen, fighting up to the last gasp if necessary, against those considered to be out of shape or simply on a low score. As a consequence, the pressure on the player who’s position is less comfortable in the standings, is even higher, this having a good deal to say in the unsatisfactory Batchimeg’s result so far.

Batchimeg Tuvshintugs and Nafisa Muminova supporting each other. And they both did well!

The English went fine for the Ukrainian, who was not shy to grasp the advantage and to apply more and more pressure on Black. She had an interesting idea by playing: 16.b5!? where if 16…cxb5 17.Qxb5 there is big pressure in the endgame.

Kateryna chose instead to chase the queen away with 16.Nc4, which perhaps gave her even more practical chances as she soon could have taken a pawn with 19.Qxa7; perhaps she was afraid of 19…Bg4, feeling that her pieces would be too far away from the king, in some sort of isolation on the opposite side of the board.

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The Mongolian broke the spell

The more cautious move 19.Nxc8 came, giving Black chances to fight back and hope for rescue. The game simplified in a rook ending with an extra pawn for White. Determined to break the less favourable series, Batchimeg defended accurately and the maximum Lagno could achieve was… stalemating her!

Anna Ushenina – Anna Muzychuk 1/2

The wrestling between the two Anna-s followed in the footsteps of Kramnik vs Kasparov 2000 World Championship match, and further on it seemed to copy the Hungarian GM’s repertoire, Berkes.


Soon Anna’s strategy, the one which still plays for Ukraine, worked wonders for this typical Nimzo’s line: the pawn sacrifice was just a temporary one, getting in return a good deal of space and ideas for attack.

Perhaps Ushenina’s concrete but natural 18.Qd4 was not the most precise way to question her opponent’s defense, giving Black some time to breath and regroup.

Instead, 18.Rfc1 Qb6 19.Qd4!? would have been interesting. This looks paradoxical in a position where common sense would dictate keeping the queens for the attack; here though it is justified by the weak a7 pawn and excellent coordination of White’s pieces; in case Black responds: 19…Qxd4, then 20.Nxd4 and Black cannot take the b4-pawn because of 21.Nc6 with huge pressure.

In the game, Anna Ushenina obtained some rather symbolic advantage and tortured her opponent for a few dozens moves, but it all ended up peacefully.

Official website

Round 6 Photo Gallery


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An apparently pacific 5th round

After the rest day, the podium remains unaltered: Hou Yifan cruises to another win against Nafisa Muminova, running with a full point away from Anna Muzychuk. The Slovenian GM drew Antoaneta Stefanova, being on the second place unshared with 3.5 points.

Third comes Zhao Xue with three points after her draw against Alexandra Kosteniuk. Just half a point behind follows the platoon with 2.5/5: Kateryna Lagno, Antoaneta Stefanova, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Olga Girya, Anna Ushenina and Nana Dzagnidze, who climbed her way up to 50%, after receiving a present from Batchimeg Tuvshintugs in a cliff-hanging queen endgame.

On two points is the Russian GM, Tatiana Kosintseva, who didn't break the Ukrainian defense (Kateryna Lagno), followed by Nafisa Muminova on 1.5 and Batchimeg Tuvshintugs with 0.5, who strikes a bad patch.

The fifth round saw a relatively high drawing rate: four out of six, although it should have been five... The same as in round three, all the Russian players drew, not before all the possibilities had been exhausted. The apparently peaceful results right after the free day, may suggest that by having relaxed a bit the players increased their accuracy in all phases of the game, including defense.

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The players and media alike enjoying the rest day!

After four long and hard fought games, Stefanova thought it was about time to spare her energy and finished first today, drawing against Muzychuk with Black. Although at first glance it looked like a game completely lacking fireworks, you will be surprised by the inventiveness the Bulgarian always keeps in her pockets.

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Antoaneta Stefanova's shortest game so far

Today she chose a rather unorthodox way to play the Scotch, with 4...Bb4+, which worked perfectly well for her. Black equalized quickly, much to the despair of Muzychuk, who surely had hoped for more as White. Further on, it could have been a total war zone, after the eccentric but very strong rook maneuver, via b8-b5-h5, looking forward to blow the position with g5, g4... Stefanova said at the press conference. But after the safe 18.Nf1, killing any attacking idea, and followed by the queens' exchange, the game ended up in a rook endgame. The logical and expected result: a draw by repetition.

Shall we be surprised that Hou Yifan played another model game in the Catalan, winning her fourth game already? Noteworthy is the first move 1.c4, which she copy-pasted after her first round win against Kosintseva.

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Hou Yifan cruises to another win, consolidating her sole lead, by restoring the advance of a full point over the second place.

The Chinese mastered the new opening and middle game almost perfectly, thus proving that she had thrown another lethal rifle in her weaponry. She sacrificed a pawn early in the opening, gained an advance in development and gradually took over the control of the whole board. In the final phase, the doubled rooks on the seventh rank completely paralyzed her opponent, culminating with the simple but nevertheless elegant Queen sacrifice Qxf8+! Facing inevitable mate, Muminova had to sign the scoresheet below a zero.

Grandmasters in deep concentration

In China against Russia today, the game started fresh, as early as move 4. Zhao Xue continued in a very original manner, but perhaps a bit too slow for claiming an advantage. The plan b4-b5 is typical for these positions but Kosteniuk reacted well and neutralized all the threats. After 34 moves and 3.5 hours of play, the strategical battle ended in the correct: draw. As a coincidence, the last move of the game was a back rank queen check, the same as in her compatriot's game, Hou Yifan.

If in the previous rounds Girya's technique didn't deliver the expected results, in today's game against Ushenina she turned the tables around by saving a difficult position.

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Olga Girya fighting her way back in a difficult position

The new trend in Cambridge Springs used by Ushenina today worked wonders, especially after the little help from her opponent, which started with the less fortunate 16.a3. But the clock was ticking mercilessly and the Ukrainian didn't find the most precise way to convert the advantage, having to go content herself with bringing home only a draw.

Tatiana Kosintseva came well armed for a potentially long fight against Kateryna Lagno

In one of the most interesting games of today's round: Kosintseva vs Lagno, White met the Najdorf with Fischer's old favourite 6.h3, which seems to enjoy a marked popularity lately. A shoulder to shoulder combat started, where White tried to prove the d5 square is a chronic weakness, crowning her strategy with a positional pawn sacrifice precisely on the same quadrate. But the Ukrainian didn't let her guard down, she took the offer, pulled-back White's compensation on the light squares and directed the game into a dead drawn opposite colour bishops endgame.

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Luck is not on the Mongolian side so far

In the game between Tuvshintugs – Dzagnidze, Black treated the opening, a Queen's Indian Petrosian system (a2-a3) very provocatively, completely refraining from the fight for the center. Both players spend lots of time even before move 10 and somewhere after move 15, White started losing control. Dzagnidze won a pawn after an unclear tactical phase but failed to convert it into a winning advantage due to Tuvshintug's stubborn defense. A long discussion in a queen endgame followed, which seemed to be treated well by Tuvshintugs...but, after a long day of pressure applied by the Georgian GM, the tragedy happened: 98.Qh4? was fatal, handing in the point to Dzagnidze.

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Only an apparently restful day after the rest day!

Round 5
SNo.   Name Rtg Res.   Name RtgSNo.
3   GM   Zhao Xue   2552   ½ - ½   GM   Kosteniuk Alexandra   2527 12
4   WGM   Girya Olga   2450   ½ - ½   GM   Ushenina Anna   2501 2
5   GM   Muzychuk Anna   2560   ½ - ½   GM   Stefanova Antoaneta   2489 1
6   GM   Hou Yifan   2618   1 – 0   WGM   Muminova Nafisa   2321 11
7   GM   Kosintseva Tatiana   2496   ½ - ½   GM   Lagno Kateryna   2543 10
8   WGM   Batchimeg Tuvshintugs   2340   0 – 1   GM   Dzagnidze Nana   2550 9

Official website

Round 5 Photo Gallery

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Round 4: small changes at the top

The first player in this tournament to have thrown sand into Hou Yifan’s wheels was the Ukrainian GM, Lagno, who successfully hold the Chinese to a draw.

In the second position, just half a point behind the leader, advanced the Slovenian GM Muzychuk, who is now the proud holder of three points, after defeating Muminova.

Alone on 2.5 points and third place, comes Zhao Xue, after she drew her game against Ushenina. The fourth place is shared between five players on 50%: Lagno, Ushenina, Kosteniuk, Stefanova and Girya.

After losing their games today, Kosintseva and Muminova are on 1,5 points, as well as the Georgian GM, Dzagnidze, who recovered from a shaky start and won a well prepared game against Kosintseva. Last comes Tuvshintugs, on half a point, who hopes for better times after tomorrow’s rest day.

The first to press the break pedal on Hou Yifan’s string of victories was the Ukrainian Kateryna Lagno. Few had expected, though, that the crazy Benoni which appeared on the board would lead to a peaceful end by repetition, as early as move 24. This is the third game the Chinese finishes under 25 moves, an important detail, helping her to preserve energy. Hou Yifan employed a sharp line, entering early complications with a relatively new 12…Rxf4 (a positional exchange sacrifice), showing she is ready to play double edged positions, if this is what it takes to steal the point.


Although surprised by her opponent’s opening choice, Kateryna picked up the gauntlet but kept cool, assessing if the e4-e5 break was good or not along the way. Given the impossibility to foresee and evaluate all the branches of the tree, she restrained herself and brought home a well-fought half a point.

After the unpleasant attacking lesson from yesterday, the Georgian came back in full force for today’s game. The very good home preparation in the highly debated Ragozin soon paid off, as she knew what she was doing up to the 22nd move: f5. Kosintseva put her clock on fire, as she had to find over the board strong defensive but by no means obvious moves. Pressed by the horrendous time trouble, the Russian GM couldn’t keep pace anymore and collapsed under the skilfully exerted attack of her opponent.


An important victory for the Georgian GM, the first one for her this tournament, which brings her not only higher in the standings but also in a better mood right before the rest day.

Having had had three Whites in the first four rounds, Stefanova’s performance is a bit unconvincing so far. The terrible time troubles she entered, had an important word in it and, up to a certain point, today’s game against Olga Girya was no exception.

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Although the Bulgarian GM did enter more serious theoretical discussion, meeting the Slav with the same kind of setup she had faced against Zhao Zxue yesterday, it didn’t have the desired effect. As the time was ticking faster and faster on her clock, Stefanova took too many risks, played the too ambitious 16.g4, followed by 17.Ne5, which were happily met by her opponent. As a consequence, Black’s coordination was highly superior, allowing her to win two pawns and it looked as if it would be all over soon. But Girya started playing slowly and in mutual time trouble the miracle happened: Stefanova saved half a point in a queen ending with a pawn down; “I guess I was the lucky one today and I definitely look forward to have some rest after four too long games in a row”(Antoaneta) – good timing, tomorrow we have a rest day.

The less topical line in the 4.e3 Nimzo employed by Zhao Xue (with 4…b6) was well met by Ushenina, who played creative chess. She sacrificed a pawn for advantage in development, space and attack and it seemed her strategy was well chosen as she got the upper hand. Under pressure, the Chinese defended well, missing though an interesting queen sacrifice on move 17.


She continued to suffer but managed to hold on to a draw, since Ushenina was not able to find better ways to increase the pressure. A draw was agreed after everything liquidated into an opposite colour bishops endgame.

A good way for the former women world champion to enter the rest day in good spirits: Kosteniuk defeated Tuvshintugs with a smart opening choice and is now back on 50%. She went for the Berlin with 4.d3, in her compatriot’s footsteps, Kosintseva, who had played the same yesterday, getting a winning position against Batchimeg.

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If Kosintseva failed to win, Kosteniuk was in no mood to hand in presents and she convincingly increased her opening advantage. Soon the Mongolian went wrong, as the 5 minutes left on her clock for 20 moves were far too little for the complexity of the position. She lost a pawn, then an exchange and everything ended in an over the board tragedy.

In a game that made their trainers’ hair curl, Muminova vs Muzychuk was not a battle for the faint-hearted. After the rather modest and rare Sicilian setup, Muminova soon got into trouble under the Slovenian’s skilful wand.

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The position of the Uzbek player went from bad to worse but she gave again a good account of herself by defending a bad position like a lioness! Muzychuk’s technique lacked the necessary precision, as she allowed her opponent to liquidate into a, let’s face it…”all the rook endgames are draw”. But practice shows that miracles can happen, especially with a little help. Under time pressure and after many hours of play and after defending again and again, Muminova collapsed in the end and Muzychuk grabbed the point.

These having been said, after today’s 4th round, we all (players, spectators, commentators) can happily go into a well deserved rest day.

ROUND 4 ON 2014/04/12 AT 15:00
12 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2527 1 – 0 WGM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs 2340 8
9 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2550 1 – 0 GM Kosintseva Tatiana 2496 7
10 GM Lagno Kateryna 2543 ½ - ½ GM Hou Yifan 2618 6
11 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2321 0 – 1 GM Muzychuk Anna 2560 5
1 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2489 ½ - ½ WGM Girya Olga 2450 4
2 GM Ushenina Anna 2501 ½ - ½ GM Zhao Xue 2552 3

Official website

Round 4 Photo Gallery


Round 3: Hou Yifan – a full point ahead of her nearest rivals

In the 3rd round of the FIDE Women GP, Hou Yifan keeps the lead, the perfect score and our headline. She won a model game with White against the Georgian Nana Dzagnidze, scoring her third win in a row, running thus away from her nearest rivals, who are a full point behind. 

With two points out of three games are Zhao Xue, who won against Antoaneta Stefanova, and Anna Muzychuk, after her draw against Kateryna Lagno. They are closely followed by a large number of players on 50%: Anna Ushenina, Tatiana Kosintseva, Nafisa Muminova, Kateryna Lagno, Olga Girya and Antoaneta Stefanova.


On one point is Alexandra Kosteniuk, with two draws so far and with half a point on the scoreboard are: the player from Georgia, Nana Dzagnidze and the Mongolian Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, who broke the ice and scored the first draw.


For the Russians the day was a rather peaceful one, as all three Kosteniuk, Kosintseva and Girya drew today, not without some hair-raising moments though; Kosintseva and Girya missed good winning chances, but for Kosteniuk was a good day, as she escaped unpunished in her game against Ushenina.

The game of the reigning women world champion was definitely the highlight of today’s round and a good lesson to study for those who want to start up chess. She proved, if still necessary, great understanding on strategical level, when she forced Black to move away from a typical hedgehog into a worse position after having to play: 10…dxc6. The change in structure created new attacking ideas for White and the Chinese showed her masterclass in the sharp phase of the game as well. Hou Yifan didn’t fail to play one strong move after another: f4,e5, Ne4, culminating with the stunning f5 blow, followed by Rf5, Qh6, e6 – and the game soon ended in her favour, as early as move 24. Nice piece of calculation and powerful play from the Chinese, who is currently winning no less than 9.1 rating points in only three games.

After the many decisive games from the Khanty Mansiysk’s production line, it was about time, at least from a statistical point of view, for more draws to come. The first one of today occurred in the game between Muzychuk – Lagno, which, according to both players, was the logical and natural result of accurate play. The rather ‘peaceful’ 3. Bb5+ Sicilian was speeded up by the Slovenian GM who played creatively, employing an early 6.e5 and another pawn advance on the side of the board: 12. h4. Lagno didn’t fail this time to play the surgical 12…Nc6 (remember the first unfortunate game against Zhao Xue, when she played it one move too late), liquidated all the pieces, and, with a cleared board, the game ended in an inevitable draw.

The second draw of today was seen on the board of Girya – Muminova, where the Russian got an advantage out of the fashionable Queen’s Gambit opening with 5.Bf4, went on to win a precious pawn but soon entered a nail-biting time trouble, which didn’t allow her to convert the material. Muminova defended ferociously and, with less than a minute on the clock, Girya decided that safety comes first and agreed to a draw by repetition.


What could have been another bad day for the Mongolian player Tuvshintugs, turned into a happy one as she managed to escape the long lasting pressure of Kosintseva, breaking the ice and scoring her first half a point. For the Russian GM though, instead of receiving a nice present for her birthday, she gave one in return. The Berlin with 4.d3 went fine for her, but after White acquired the upper hand and later on a pawn, the advantage disappeared; with no pieces left on the board, the players had to agree a draw.

Things could have gone terribly wrong for Kosteniuk, in her direct encounter against another former women world champion, Ushenina. She suffered under the Ukrainian pressure in a typical isolated pawn position but, given the time trouble, Ushenina missed many winning opportunities along the way and even had to take care a bit in the endgame. After many hours of play, she had to admit there was nothing left to play for and accepted the draw.

The painful loss the Chinese suffered against Muminova yesterday, didn’t leave visible marks in Zhao’s play, as she confidently outplayed Stefanova in the Slav with 4.Qb3. Black’s lack in development had a great say in how White’s advantage increased with each move, reaching an inferior endgame for the Bulgarian player, who had to defend it with a pawn down. She succeed to keep the game going but after more than five hours of play, she had to admit defeat as Black, the first loss she suffers this tournament.

ROUND 3 ON 2014/04/11 AT 15:00
2 GM Ushenina Anna 2501 ½ - ½ GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2527 12
3 GM Zhao Xue 2552 1 – 0 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2489 1
4 WGM Girya Olga 2450 ½ - ½ WGM Muminova Nafisa 2321 11
5 GM Muzychuk Anna 2560 ½ - ½ GM Lagno Kateryna 2543 10
6 GM Hou Yifan 2618 1 – 0 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2550 9
7 GM Kosintseva Tatiana 2496 ½ - ½ WGM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs 2340 8

Official website

Round 3 Photo Gallery



Round 2: Hou Yifan in sole lead with a perfect 2/2 score

The history tends to repeat itself and chess is no exception: another cut-throat day, with no less than five decisive results and just one draw!

After the second round of the FIDE Women GP in Khanty Mansiysk, Hou Yifan is in sole lead with 2 points out of 2. She got an advance in development out of the opening, which Tuvshintugs was not able to neutralize. The spell was broken and the Black scored the first point in the tournament.

Perfect score for the Chinese GM: 2/2!

But the big upset of today's round was provided by Muminova who defeated Zhao Xue with the white pieces. What initially looked as a rather suspicious forth and back maneuver Bc1-e3-c1, escaped unpunished and even turned out to be completely justified after the subsequent 16.Bb2 and the strong 33.f4!

Nafisa Muminova was the surprise of today

Furthermore, in the Russian derby Kosteniuk – Kosintseva, Black won again, after a very sharp and interesting battle. In a Two Knights Game variation involving an early black pawn sacrifice, Kosintseva took over the initiative and after 35 moves proved that White's lack of development and poor coordination were fatal.

Similar story but with reversed colours, occurred in Lagno-Girya, featuring the same pattern with an uncastled king. Black played creatively yet risky, to which White fought back, found a nice antidote via an exchange sacrifice and went on to win the game in a a hopeless endgame for Black.

Lagno is back on 50% after today's win

In a game featuring mutual opening surprises, since both players were out of book on the 7th move, as they confessed during the press conference, Muzychuk equalized comfortably against the Georgian GM and seemed to apply some pressure in a preferable endgame. It proved not enough as Dzagnidze reacted in a surgical manner and went on to draw the game.

The last decisive result occurred in the direct encounter between two former women world champions: Stefanova vs Ushenina. The Bulgarian made us believe the position was a Reti, it moved into a Catalan/Slav sort of game and ended up in a Caro Kann, Advance variation structure – a true hybrid, as Stefanova tends to spoil her fans with her innovative play. The game faced a fierce strategical battle, which was greatly conducted by White and Black succumbed in the endgame, after a long day of pressure.

Round 2
SNo.   Name Rtg Res.   Name RtgSNo.
12   GM   Kosteniuk Alexandra   2527   0 – 1   GM   Kosintseva Tatiana   2496 7
8   WGM   Batchimeg Tuvshintugs   2340   0 – 1   GM   Hou Yifan   2618 6
9   GM   Dzagnidze Nana   2550   ½ - ½   GM   Muzychuk Anna   2560 5
10   GM   Lagno Kateryna   2543   1 – 0   WGM   Girya Olga   2450 4
11   WGM   Muminova Nafisa   2321   1 – 0   GM   Zhao Xue   2552 3
1   GM   Stefanova Antoaneta   2489   1 – 0   GM   Ushenina Anna   2501 2

Official website

Round 2 Photo Gallery


Round 1

White’s day: only Kosteniuk saved Black’s honour, escaping with a draw!

Maybe not many had expected to see so many decisive games straight from day one, but the women chess players proved they can play very interesting, fighting chess that is definitely worth watching! White won five out of the six games, to which maybe a little help, on a symbolic level, came from none other than the Mayor and the President of the Ugra Chess Federation, Vasiliy Filipenko himself. The Mayor opened the Women GP's first round by playing the first move on Hou Yifan's board. "I made the first move in the Candidates, on the board of Anand and he went on to win the event. Maybe this little detail will prove to be a talisman for Hou Yifan as well?" It certainly was, as the Chinese came out on top in a Catalan type of position against Kosintseva, where she won two pawns and soon after, the game. 


Since it was obviously White's day, for one of the three Russian players in the field, who was facing Black, things could have gone terribly wrong. In the game against the former world champion, Antoaneta Stefanova, Kosteniuk seemed to have been close to equalize but in the subsequent time trouble, Stefanova made all of us think she will win the game. But on move 58 all White's advantage vanished, when Antoaneta played: 58.f8Q, blundering 58...Nd5+. After a fierce struggle and a persistent defense, the former world champion escaped with a draw and saved Black's honour as well!


The third Russian player in the field, Olga Girya, made the day for the local supporters by winning against Nana Dzagnidze in a crazy game. The initially doubtful compensation for the sacrificed pawn in the Nimzo Opening, turned out to be a killing one in the subsequent time trouble and Olga took home the point.

Another game won by White was in the encounter between Zhao Xue and Kateryna Lagno, where the blame was put, as both players shared during the press conference, on the unfortunate Black's 15th move: 15...e4. This allowed White to seize the initiative and in the end, to win the game.

In the first game they ever played against each other, Anna Ushenina defeated the WGM from Uzbekistan, Nafisa Muminova, in a typical Saemisch structure from the Nimzo opening, the second one of today's round. After a small inaccuracy from the Ukrainian player, who pressed the entire game, Muminova seemed to be close to a draw in a rook endgame. She soon returned the favour though and Ushenina proved her technique was good enough to secure the point.

The last, but not least, game of today ended again in White's favour. Although the way Anna Muzychuk conducted the play gave the impression she will slowly but surely win the game, there was a small moment which could have been fatal for her. After many hours of play and with only 30 seconds on the clock, the Slovenian player offered a big present to her opponent, who could have drawn on move 75 by perpetual check. But the favour was not accepted, Tuvshintugs took a piece instead but the effective army of White's pawns decided soon the game.

This was the bloody story of the first round, which makes us all hope for even more fighting games in the forthcoming days! 

Round 1
SNo.   Name Rtg Res.   Name Rtg SNo.
1   GM   Stefanova Antoaneta   2489   ½ - ½   GM   Kosteniuk Alexandra   2527   12
2   GM   Ushenina Anna   2501   1 – 0   WGM   Muminova Nafisa   2321   11
3   GM   Zhao Xue   2552   1 – 0   GM   Lagno Kateryna   2543   10
4   WGM   Girya Olga   2450   1 – 0   GM   Dzagnidze Nana   2550   9
5   GM   Muzychuk Anna   2560   1 – 0   WGM   Batchimeg Tuvshintugs   2340   8
6   GM   Hou Yifan   2618   1 – 0   GM   Kosintseva Tatiana   2496   7

Official website

Round 1 Photo Gallery


Women's FIDE Grand Prix stage started in Khanty-Mansiysk

The fourth stage of the women’s FIDE Grand Prix officially opened today in Khanty-Mansiysk. A concert where the main character was a unique musical instrument – an organ, was organized for the participants and guests of the tournament.

12 chess players representing 8 countries of the world will participate in the competition that will take place until the 21st of April.

Women Grand Prix is a series of six tournaments that are being held over a two years period. The tournament uses round robin system. The time control for each player is 90 minutes for 40 moves, then 30 minutes for the rest of the game with 30 seconds increment after each move.

In his welcome address Director of Physical Culture and Sports Department of Ugra Evgeniy Redkin wished everyone an interesting tournament.

“I wish that the stage in Khanty-Mansiysk would help you score more points in the overall standings and fight for the main prize of FIDE Grand Prix 2013/14. It should be noted that during the last month the attention of chess fans all over the world was focused on Khanty-Mansiysk. Now we will have Grand Prix, and it will be followed by FIDE Women’s World Rapid and Blitz Championships, once again proving the words of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: “Khanty-Mansiysk is a chess Mecca”. I hope that participants will not only be interested in playing in the tournament, but will have time to visit all the tourist sights of the city”, – said Evgeniy Redkin.


The Head of Khanty-Mansiyks, President of Ugra Chess Federation Vasily Filipenko recalled that “chess spring” continues in Khanty-Mansiysk. “Today I welcome the best women chess players of the planet in the capital of Ugra. In the words of a famous poet, a woman can stop a galloping horse, and the participants of the tournament can even capture a knight! I wish everyone success and beautiful games”, – summed the mayor.

FIDE CEO Geoffrey Borg congratulated the participants and all chess spectators with the start of another Grand Prix stage.


Drawing of lots for the tournament was held during the opening ceremony. So, the pairs of the first round are:

Antoaneta Stefanova – Alexandra Kosteniuk

Anna Ushenina – Nafisa Muminova

Zhao Xue – Kateryna Lagno

Olga Girya – Nana Dzagnidze

Batchimeg Tuvshintugs – Anna Muzychuk

Tatiana Kosintseva – Hou Yifan


The opening ceremony was followed by a concert. Chamber Music Ensemble “Canzone” performed world classics. Opera vocal sketches alternated magical organ sounds, live chess pieces took the stage, reminding the audience that very soon new chess battles will start in Khanty-Mansiysk.


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