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Mariya Muzychuk, clear leader after round four
Mariya Muzychuk leader with 3,5 out of 4

The fourth round left the youngest Muzychuk sister as the sole leader, with a clear point advantage, after Mariya was able to defeat Natalia Zhukova in an interesting game which served to prove again one of the main strong points of the current World Champion: she makes few mistakes. Mariya, like Magnus Carlsen, knows how to keep the tension, control her nerves and play long games, and today she used her abilities to collect the full point after her opponent blundered in a difficult endgame. Her sister Anna helped, holding Yifan to a draw, while Koneru was defeated by an inspired Stefanova. In the other games, Kosteniuk beat Khademalsharieh, while Pia Cramling managed to save half point after a stubborn defense against Nana Dzagnidze. Those results leave the Swedish and the Russian sharing second place with Yifan Hou and Humpy Koneru. The game Skripchenko-Pogonina was a quick draw.

Zhukova-Muzychuk  Natalia Zhukova – Mariya Muzychuk 0–1

After a quiet opening the game was heading for a boring endgame with a tiny edge for White, but Mariya decided to take some risk with 10…Ne4!?. “I wanted to play for three results”, she said later. And indeed, it was difficult to predict what was going on in the unbalanced position which aroused. White was slightly better when Zhukova refused to repeat moves, but the World Champion didn’t make serious mistakes and the game was going to be a draw, when it was Natalia who collapsed, with a big blunder on move 57 which meant resignation.
Antoaneta Stefanova – Humpy Koneru 1–0

The opening was quite original, and Black emerged with a very comfortable position. Probably Koneru started to become ambitious, but after a couple of inaccuracies she was against the ropes. Stefanova played really well, and got a clean extra pawn for her efforts. In the endgame, her technique proved good enough to convert the advantage into a full point after 59 moves. With this result, the Bulgarian is the only player who didn’t make a single draw, and the Indian loses for the first time and drops to the third place.
Stefanova-Koneru (2)
Muzychuk-Hou  Anna Muzychuk – Yifan Hou     0,5–0,5

Yifan played the opening again with some ambitions. In a kind of Catalan game, she accepted to concede the center to the opponent in order to get the pair of bishops. A long positional fight could arise, but Anna decided to open the game immediately, changed some pieces and got a slightly better position. After some maneuvering they reached an endgame where Black had to play carefully, but the number one seeded proved that her position was a fortress, and a draw was agreed in move 44.
 Nana Dzagnidze – Pia Cramling 0,5–0,5

A sharp battle appeared on the board after White played an infrequent line in the queen’s gambit accepted. Both ladies showed a lot of ambition, but it looked like Black got into some trouble. Pia managed to overcome some difficult moments after the opening. Later, the middlegame was also unclear, and for a long time anything could happen. There were no big mistakes, but slowly Nana was pressing. In the end, she was close to win, but after a tough defense by Pia, a draw was agreed in move 96.
Kosteniuk  Sarasadat Khademalsharieh – Alexandra Kosteniuk 0–1

The first defeat of the young Iranian came after a quiet Semi-Tarrasch variation of the Queen’s Gambit declined, which led to a positional game. White didn’t get any opening advantage, and massive changes left the board with a couple of pieces for each side, with a draw as the most predictable outcome. But 33.fxe5? was unnecessary, and put White in an uncomfortable position. Slowly, Kosteniuk was able to outplay Sarasadat, and after a new mistake in move 42, White had to resign on the next move.
 Almira Skripchenko – Natalia Pogonina 0,5–0,5

The French player came to the game in bad shape, visibly tired. Almira’s opening was probably a clever choice, since the line of the Four Knights Opening played in the game is extremely dry and offers almost no chances for a real fight. Given that both players lost yesterday and that Pogonina had the Black pieces, a quick draw was agreed on move 21, after a threefold repetition.
Standings after round 4

1 Muzychuk Mariya 3½
2 Hou Yifan 2½
3 Koneru Humpy 2½
4 Cramling Pia 2½
5 Kosteniuk Alexandra 2½
6 Stefanova Antoaneta 2
7 Pogonina Natalija 2
8 Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 1½
9 Muzychuk Anna 1½
10 Zhukova Natalia 1½
11 Skripchenko Almira 1
12 Dzagnidze Nana 1
© FIDE Grand Prix 2015    |    |