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The favorites reduce the gap with the leader
Hou Yifan 3,5 out of 5

In round five Mariya made a fast draw with her sister Anna, allowing her persecutors to get closer, at only half point distance. Hou Yifan won a very difficult endgame versus Almira Skripchenko, and with 3,5 points is sharing 2nd place. With the same points we find Humpy Koneru, who beat Dzagnidze quite fast, and Pia Cramling, who got the best from her experience to defeat Sarasadat Khademalsharieh in a very didactical endgame. Kosteniuk and Zhukova played a very sharp game which finished in a fair draw after the time control. The last game to finish was played between Pogonina and Stefanova, a battle which went as far as move 113, the longest in the tournament so far. The Bulgarian won a very dramatic endgame after several mistakes from both sides.

Muzychuk,M-Muzychuk, A  Muzychuk Mariya-Muzychuk Anna    0,5 – 0,5

The result between the two sisters was pretty predictable.  A Grunfeld Defence was played and the game finished in a fast draw in 33 moves, in a rook endgame. In the press conference Mariya and Anna explained that they know their opening repertoire too well, and it’s always very difficult for them to play each other, because they are working together all the time.
 Koneru Humpy-Dzagnidze Nana    1 – 0

The game between number two and three of the Women World chess ranking started in a very promising way: Humpy chose a sharp line of the Nimzo-Indian Defence (4.f3). Nana answered in an even more aggressive way, with an early sacrifice of a bishop for only one pawn. Despite some unclear moments, the game showed that compensation was probably not enough, and after consolidating her piece advantage, Koneru won the game in move 33.
Cramling  Cramling Pia- Khademalsharieh Sarasadat     1 – 0

Pia gained a small but lasting initiative from the opening, and was pressing along the whole game. At one point, she didn’t mind to change queens, and played for a slightly favorable endgame. Finally, Sarasadat made a mistake with 35…c4 and Cramling got a decisive advantage. The knight’s endgame with an extra passed pawn finished with victory of Pia in 53 moves.
 Alexandra Kosteniuk- Natalia Zhukova     0,5 – 0,5

This game shows that the exchange variation in the Slav Defence (3.cxd5) doesn’t need to be boring. Alexandra played the typical plan on the Queen’s side, while Natalia created some interesting counterplay against the White king. After the time control it looked like White’s strategy may prevail but Black found some original ideas of creating a perpetual check and the game finished in a draw in 52 moves, after some little mistakes from both players.
Hou-Skripchenko (2)  Yifan Hou-Almira Skripchenko     1 - 0

Hou, being White, played the opening quite modestly and Almira did not have problems to equalize. The play went smoothly to a balanced endgame and a draw looked like the most logical result. But Yifan kept on trying to find chances and at last Almira made a couple of mistakes 48…Kg7 (48…Ra8 was a very good move with clear counterplay) and 56…Rd3? (instead of the correct 56…Re1+). At the end, a very laborious victory of Hou Yifan in 74 moves.
 Natalia Pogonina - Antoaneta Stefanova     0 – 1

Antoaneta surprised Natalia with the 9…e5 variation versus the Anti-Meran Defense and she got a favorable middlegame. Positional advantage transformed to an extra pawn for Black in the rook’s endgame. Pogonina was defending very well and at the end, the rook endgame with 3 versus 2, was completely draw. But the players were very tired and after several mistakes Black won in 113 moves.
Pogonina-Stefanova (2)

Standings after round 5

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