On 5th of March the Grand Prix of Qatar has ended. Humpy Koneru became a winner of Women Grand Prix in Qatar and also got the right to play the match against Hou Yifan.
Round eleven was as thrilling as it was expected. After two quite peaceful draws between Dzagnidze-Chiburdanidze and Danielian-Stefanova, all the attention turned to the games which would identify the winner of Grand Prix in Qatar and also decide the participant of the match with Hou Yifan. The Chinese has already clinched the first place in the overall Grand Prix cycle and is a current World Champion among women. The first contender Nana Dzagnidze could not have an effect on the situation and was waiting for the result of the second challenger Humpy Koneru who needed to win the game in order to have a chance to qualify.Another important for the final standings game was played between Marie Sebag and Bathkhuyag Munguntuul. The French player also needed to win in order to share the first place. In such case Nana Dzagnidze would get a ticket to the match because Humpy Koneru would not get enough points in overall series of Women Grand Prix. After almost 5 hours of fighting Marie Sebag was defeated by Mongolian player and Humpy Koneru scored a crucial point!
Elina Danielian – Antoaneta Stefanova1/2 :1/2 Slav Defence was handled in the game. In Meran Variation Black easy equalized and White decided to repeat the moves and force a draw.
Antoaneta Stefanova: I think it was about equal. I didn`t have any problems from the opening but such positions are tricky because if I don`t try to play active she can just play Bg2 and push f4-f5 with some problems for Black. It was looking quite nice for me but maybe it was just an impression. Elina Danielian: It was nothing special for White: I didn’t get anything from the opening. I was searching how to sacrifice my knight on g7 but I could not find anything special for White. Draw is draw, what to do! I think it`s difficult to play in the last round and today I was also playing with minimum risk.
Zhu Chen – Humpy Koneru 0:1 Black chose Benoni Variation with Bd6 and tried to play aggressively from the beginning. On Move 19 White decided to sacrifice a pawn and got compensation, but after the tactics Black changed some pieces and entered an ending with a clear pawn up.
Humpy Koneru: The game was very complicated. I think she should have tried 24.g4 instead of 24.Ra3 (diagram). If I play 24…Qb2 then 25.Ne4 and it`s still complicated. Later on in tactics I think I played well.
Zhu Chen: I thought about g4 instead of Ra3 and many other moves. I spent 30 minutes for thinking at that moment but maybe finally I found not so correct way. I played the same today as any other game in this tournament: the first half of the game I played quite good and then I started to give back everything.Actually it was not easy to play this game psychologically because I knew hot important this game was for my opponent. Anyway I was trying to fight but now I`m very glad for Humpy – she is doing very well all those years.
Xu Yuhua – Pia Cramling 1:0 Paulsen Variation in Sicilian Defence was played in the game. White sacrificed a piece for three pawns and got very strong initiative.
Pia Cramling: The opening was fine but then after I took a piece on f5 it became complicated but still ok for me (diagram). My opponent also had three pawns for a piece but then I blundered. I think after Rd6 she was winning but after that I could play better. I had to take with king on d6 of course and I had to play this position. In general it must be better for her but I don’t know how she can win easily. So I was very unpractical today and I allowed her to make many things. I didn’t feel pressure of the last round – it was just normal game and I like to play chess in general. Of course I`m tired but everybody is also tired after this event.
Xu Yuhua: I think after 20.Kf5 White had better position but I didn’t see how to improve it. In fact I missed Bb3 and g6. So I lost my piece but I took three pawns and some attack because Black`s King is not safe. I think Black could defend better. After 31.b5 I think White already had a winning position.
Maia Chiburdanidze – Nana Dzagnidze 1/2 :1/2
Queen`s Gambit variation was played in the game. The line, chosen by the opponents, leads to the well-known force draw.
Lilit Mkrtchian – Martha Fierro 1/2 :1/2 In Trompovsky Variation White got an advantage but opponents entered the endgame and Black managed to equalize the position.
Lilit Mkrtchian: I had an advantage from the opening but I didn’t find a correct plan how to improve my position. Maybe I should have played h4 in one moment and not let my opponent put g5 and h5.
Martha Fierro: I agree that from the opening I was in a worse position. In one moment I decided to make an isolated pawn but maybe I should not do it, just I wanted to get some space for my pieces.
Munguntuul Batkhuyag – Marie Sebag 1:0 Naidorf Variation was played in the game Munguntuul-Sebag. French got a nice position after the opening. Later on the game transferred into about equal endgame but Black made some mistakes which was successfully used by her opponent.
Munguntuul Batkhuyag: The game was very difficult. I didn’t like my position after the opening because I thought her attack can be stronger. Maybe she should not change the queens and also other pieces afterwards.She could make a draw in the end. After d4, Bc4 she could just play 44...dc and after 45.Bf7 we would enter drawish rook ending. Probable she was trying to win but the position was already equal.
Marie Sebag: I think in the end I had to take on c3 and make a draw. I was not playing for win at the moment - I just simply didn`t see Kd2.