Munguntuul Batkhuyag – Lilit Mkrtchian 1/2 :1/2
Black didn’t have big problems and equalized the position after the opening which was French Defence. The game was transferred into the drawish ending with opposite colour bishops.
Munguntuul Batkhuyag: There was not much fight in our game today. From the opening the position was about equal. We changed queens, Lilit played 20…h5 (diagram) but still there was nothing special for me. After she played Nd8-Nf7 and changed my strong knight on g5, the position became totally equal.
Lilit Mkrtchian: I believe that the most critical position was before 20…h5. I had some doubts to play or not to play this move. If I don’t play h5, White and also Black can not increase their positions. If White play h5 I can put my bishop on e8 and just hold the position.
Antoaneta Stefanova – Martha Fierro 1/2 : 1/2
Kings Indian Defence happened in the game Stefanova-Fierro.White got a small advantage after the opening but afterwards Bulgarian player gave the initiative to Black. After the mistake on move 29.Bg5 white got into troubles. Under the time pressure Fierro didn’t play accurately and could even lose the game.
Antoaneta Stefanova: The game was complicated. Martha managed to get some contra play at the right moment. So I`m not sure if I could have played better or not. But then we came to the time trouble. I had more time because somehow Martha was doing the thinking today (smiles). After 35.Rh5 I thought I was winning but I missed 37…Nf6 after 36.Qg4 (diagram). Probably I just had to take on f2 but I don’t know if it’s could win because she has a strong knight and maybe some compensation. I had a feeling that I should be better but I’m not sure. Maybe I did something wrong with my pawns on the king’s side and probably I had to think about trying to stop her initiative. The rook endgame was drawish of course.
Martha Fierro: I don’t know why I get to this crazy time troubles all the time! In one moment I understood that my opponent would play on the queen’s side, pushing her pawns, so I decided that I had to attack! Otherwise I would be just suffering. My first plan was to play Qe8 and push f5 but I could never play that because of Nb5. I was also thinking that 33…Rf6 was a very bad move. Instead I could have played Kg7 and put my knight on f6. Yes, maybe it was better to play 34…Kf8, instead of 34…Kg7 but I didn’t consider that move. In one moment I wanted to play Rf4. I was thinking: I can lose the game after but at least I would sacrifice an exchange!
Antoaneta Stefanova: Yes, I also saw Rf4 but I think the way Martha played was much better. Rf4 is just a nice move but I’m not obliged to take an exchange…
Elina Danielian – Xu Yuhua 1:0
In Ragozin Variaton Elina Danieian, playing with White against Xu Yuhua, got a little edge after the opening. Later on White got more space for her pieces and, after some mistakes from the opponent, transferred the advantage to the winning endgame.
Xu Yuhua: The opening was OK for Black. But I think Bb4 was not a good move (diagram). After my opponent played b3, the move I didn`t calculate, my position became worse: my knight was very bad and white squares also…So it was not easy to defend such position.
Elina Danielian: The opening was quite normal – Ragozin variation in Queen’s Gambit. I think I was just slightly better everywhere. I also agree that after Bb4 the position became quite difficult for Black. I had a big advantage after that. But my opponent defended very well and she was creating some problems for me all the time. I spent a lot of time trying to understand how to win this position and it was not so easy.
Zhu Chen – Maia Chiburdanidze 1/2 : 1/2
Grunfeld Defence was played in the game Chiburdanidze-Zhu Chen. After 18 moves the game was finished by repetition.
Zhu Chen: Maia played very solid today and it’s very difficult to break such an opening. I was trying to play active but 8…Qa5 was probably wrong move (diagram). And later on my queen was a little bit misplaced. Maybe I should have played castle, Bd7, Nc6 but anyway White is slightly better. My opponent preferred to make a repetition and I was happy to make a draw in such position...
Maia Chiburdanidze: I was surprised with the opening because I think she never played grunfeld before. That’s why I decided to play just solid. My opponent made 2 mistakes: Qa5 and Bd7. I got a better position and could continue playing but probably I was too tired after long previous games…And I was sure I had to work hard today again, I didn’t see the easy way to get an advantage. I think I`m better in the final position but I just decided to give a rest for myself.
Marie Sebag – Humpy Koneru 1/2 : 1/2
Breyer Variation in Spanish opening was played in the game Sebag-Koneru. Black didn’t get any serious problems after the opening and equalized the game. White was forced to sacrifice an exchange on 34th move but Black could not use the advantage due to the absence of space for rooks.
Humpy Koneru: After the opening it became very complicated. I think 28.Rd2 was a wrong move because I`ve got a possibility to play Nb6 and Nc4. When my knight came to d3, White was forced to give an exchange because of the bad bishop (diagram). So I had an exchange up but my rooks could not get the file. Her bishop was blocked on b4 but, after she finally played c4, there is a plan to play Bb4-Bc3 and f4. After that she gets a1-h8 diagonal, so that’s why I just decided to give a perpetual check.
Marie Sebag: I think I could have played better in the opening: instead of 20.de I should play 20.ab and force my opponent to take 20…ab because 20…cb is impossible due to the answer 21. d5. But after I took on e5 the move d5 was impossible…
Pia Cramling – Nana Dzagnidze 1:0
From the beginning both opponents were trying to avoid the well-known theoretical lines. But after exchanging the dark-colour bishops, White`s position became strategically better.
Pia Cramling: I prepared for the opening: I had some ideas what I wanted to play and just tried to play my normal chess. I’ve got a very pleasant edge today. Still I think I could have played a little bit better. But the way my opponent played was not successful: she tried to do something on the king’s side but I had 2 bishops and one of them was dominating on e5 (diagram). So maybe she had to play on the queen’s side. After I got a very good position she decided to give and exchange. In the end she should have tried not to push but keep the position and not to play 35…h5 because I always met her with h4.
Nona Gaprindashvili: Pia Cramling showed her class in the game against Nana Dzagnidze. She got a little advantage from the beginning and step by step implemented it into a point.