The combat zone
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||1 - 0
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This is how the chess life wheel is spinning around, with the inherent pressure accumulating before the game and being released move by move, requiring enormous nervous strength to emerge as a winner. The chess world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck. And yet, the participants of the Tehran FIDE Women GP prove the image of a chess player as a ruthless warrior wrong. They are all beautiful, have family lives, university studies… plus, the "genius" label completes the profile too.Harika Dronavalli - Natalija Pogonina 0-1Hard fought game but time trouble ruined everything for Harika...
After a very interesting strategic fight, implying a pawn sacrifice for initiative by her opponent, Natalija Pogonina, Harika's clock started to run too fast. With the seconds ticking away, she went for the concrete:32. Rd1
which failed in view of:32...Rxe2 33.Rxd4 Qxd4!
(this is what Harika missed) 34.Qxd4 Rxc2
and a long term advantage for Black, which was eventually converted into a point.
Had the Indian GM had just a bit more time, she would have gone for the more solid 32.Qa5 or 32.a4 but today it was not to be.Good game played by Natalija Pogonina, even though she couldn't remember precisely her opening theoryPia Cramling - Ju Wenjun 0-1A good day in the office for Ju Wenjun
During the game I thought: 12. Bf4
, which was played in the game, to be an interesting decision, but Pia was not too happy about it afterwards, as she said during the press conference.12... Bxf4 13. gxf4 Rb8 14. Rb1 Ba6 15. Bf3 Qc8 16. Re1 Ne7 17. cxb6 axb6 18. Rc1 Qd8
White's initiative has vanished and Black retained the better structure. Pia confessed she did not manage to find the right places for her pieces, slowly but surely her position deteriorated and in the end Black won the game.Long game and long analysis - this is how Pia keeps on playing high level chess, in spite of today's hiccup.
Natalia Zhukova - Valentina Gunina 1-0Congrats Natalia for a good game and many thanks for removing the water bottle on the other side of the board!
The Catalan tabyia of this game bears structural similarity with the advance French but it is not easy at all to find the right way, given the rather difficult knight placed on e8... Both players agreed that the following bishop manoeuvre was inaccurate, by losing too much time without getting anything in exchange:13... Ba6 14. Nf1 Nb8 15. Bd2 Nc6 16. Rac1 Bc4 17. Qd1 Bd3 18. Re3 Bc4 19. a3 Kh8 20. Rec3
mistake though was only the next move:20... f6
(another typical French break), but Black didn't notice her pieces were hanging. 21. b3 Bxa3 22. bxc4 Bxc1 23. Qxc1
and there is nothing to be done to save the house from fire.Zhao Xue - Humpy Koneru 0-1Always good to start with a point
In this more or less typical Tartakover QG structure, White's next move prematurely displayed aggressivity, weakening the c4-square chronically:17. b4
was not the most fortunate plan as 17... b5
is a very strong counter-move, stopping White's ideas on the wing and preparing to jump with the knight to c4 via b6.18. Qb3 a5 19. a3 Nb6 20. Ne1 Nc4 21. Ra2
After the first success on the queenside, Black will soon establish a domination on both wings, which was rewarded in the end with the coveted point.Antoaneta Stefanova - Nino Batsiashvili 1/2-1/2Tough position --> tough defence by the former Women World Champion, Antoaneta Stefanova
Antoaneta was not happy with her early middlegame play and soon landed in a joyless ending with a pawn down and a passive position. During the press conference none of the players could formulate a clear winning plan but probably a good moment could have been:31... Bc5
was played in the game, missing the right time to strike with the idea mentioned by the players during analysis:
31... Bg1! (obviously taking is out of the question, since the White king will be invited for a walk, with the final destination - mate in four!) 32. g4 (what else?) 32...Bh2! which is by the way, a difficult move to make I believe... and if
33. Rd4 then 33... Ra3 with a beautiful, if not winning position for Black.Nana Dzagnidze - Sarasadat Khademalsharieh 1/2-1/2Playing in your native country: pressure or additional energy?
Today's answer for Sara was: the more support, the better!
The local player had a very good game, celebrating the Revolution Day with very nice play. As she confessed later, she did not
feel the pressure of her family, fans and the whole country following her, but more of a support and encouragement.23... d4
was played which keeps White under serious pressure but, as suggested by her very good friend later on, Sara had an even stronger reply: 23... Bh6! increasing the force of ...d5-d4.24. Bxc6 Rxc6 25. exd4 Bh6 26. d5 Rd6 27. f4 Nxd5 28. Nxd5 Rxd5
and White somehow managed to save this position.Sometimes things go differently than planned; good save by NanaA wonderful sight for any chess photographer: the extra bits of energy are resting outside of the cameras' frames...
The strongest chess tournament ever organized in Iran has just started. On the way to finding out who will have the strongest nerves to stand the pressure all the way, do stay tuned for the second round tomorrow at the same hour, 15 o'clock!By the Press Officer, IM Alina l'AmiPhoto GalleryPairings & ResultsStandings