Munich will host the second stage of the 2022-23 Women’s Chess Grand Prix series from February 1 to February 13. The top two players from each of the four tournaments will advance to the Candidates Tournament. The action begins at 15.00 CET. Live coverage of the games will be provided by Stefan Kindermann and Veronika Exler.
Alexandra Kosteniuk, Tan Zhongyi, Elisabeth Paehtz, and Nana Dzagnidze all won their first games as the second leg of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix began on Thursday in Munich, Germany. One of the draws sparked some debate.
The second of four legs of the 2022-3 FIDE Women’s Chess Grand Prix features 12 of the world’s best female players. Kateryna Lagno won the first event in Astana last year, and there will be another in India in March and Poland in May following the second event in Munich. Each of the Grand Prix’s 16 participants will compete in three of the four tournaments.
The top two finishers advance to the Women’s Candidates Tournament, which will take place at a later date and location to be determined.
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The duel between the Ukrainian Muzychuk sisters Anna and Mariya were not decisive. Mariya acquired a piece for three pawns in a quick game in the Benoni Defence, but despite the lopsided position, the game was drawn after only 30 moves.
To avoid any last-round squabbles, players from the same federation were matched in the first round. As a result, the round was bloody, with four out of six games finishing decisively.
While FIDE described the game as “most intriguing,” according to databases, the tranquil outcome was the 22nd consecutive draw between the sisters in tournament play. The last crucial game between the two came in 2015, in France.
The sisters’ attraction sparked yet another round of social media suspicion about pre-arrangement.
If there is one, it goes to Elisabeth Paehtz for her devastating 24-move triumph with White against Dinara Wagner. The 33-year-old had her GM title verified by FIDE, making her the 40th female player in history, and she appears to be in great shape playing on home soil.
Munich will host the second Grand Prix tournament in the 2022-23 series from February 1 to 13. Four tournaments with a total of 16 players will be held as part of the Grand Prix series. Each participant will compete in three of the four tournaments, and each tournament will have 12 players.
Each round in Munich will begin at 15.00 CET, with the exception of the final round, which will begin at 11.00 CET. The 7th of February is a holiday.
The official FIDE commentators are Stefan Kindermann and Veronika Exler, who will provide their insights live in English.
Something went awry in the opening for Wagner, as she was clearly worse after move 6 and lost after move 7.
Her 22.Rd7! was a particularly lovely finale, though it was far from the only one.
Paehtz later revealed that she had received assistance in preparing the opening.
My coach had arranged for an opening for me. Meanwhile, my father was working on something very different. Then my father told me that I couldn’t do anything else because he typed everything for three or four hours and it shouldn’t be for anything. I told my father I’d play his stuff, and I basically won the game because of him.
Alexandra Kosteniuk, who was formerly represented by the neutral FIDE flag before moving to Switzerland, began with a win, defeating her former countrywoman Alina Kashlinskaya, who is currently representing Poland.
The former Woman’s World Champion grabbed control with doubled rooks on the e-file, bringing an apparently dry Petroff to life.
Kashlinskaya made a big error by allowing herself to be finished off directly.
31…Ne7? 32.Rf6! Qe8 33.Rxd6! As White threatens mate on g7, the loss of a hefty piece is unavoidable.
“It’s one thing to get a decent position; it’s another to actually get through,” the 38-year-old stated after the game.
The game between Zhansaya Abdumalik and Nana Dzagnidze was also intense, with the latter employing the theme of Rxc3 sacrifice in the Sicilian Defense. As a result, the Georgians had a distinct advantage. Abdumalik blew a chance to win the game before the time limit, but Dzagnidze prevailed in the end.
34…Re2 35.Kxh4?? As White escapes after 36…, the computer offers 35.Qe8 Kh7 36.Kxh4. Rxe3 37.Qxf7 Rh3+ 38.Kg4 Qf3 39.Kf5. 0-1
“I gained a very nice opening position because my opponent dropped several tempi. “Now that I’ve sacrificed on c3, I have a significant advantage: I have a simple play and it’s not easy for my opponent to resist,” Dzagnidze explained.
Tan Zhongyi won the final deciding game, defeating her countrywoman Zhu Jiner after 38 moves. That game, too, was a tense duel with opposite-side castling.
Tan Zhongyi eventually exploited Black’s weaker king and delivered the crucial blow.
38.Re8! And Black surrendered as a result of the double threat on the queen and h7.
Harika Dronavalli and Humpy Koneru’s last game was drawn in 41 moves after reaching an equal queen and rook endgame.