Four decisive games in the round 8. Muzychuk and Khotenashvili still tied for the first place.
In the eighth round of Neva Fondation Women Grand Prix the game between two leaders Anna Muzycuk and Bela Khotenashvili finished in a draw and both players keep on leading before the free day. Kateryna Lagno and Tatiana Kosintseva won their games and share third place half a point behind. One of the central games of the tournament was an encounter between Hou Yifan and Anna Ushenina as in a few months they will play in the World championship match in China. The world champion Anna Ushenina outplayed Hou Yifan with black pieces after 40 moves and after 8 rounds shares 5 place with Ju Wenjun, who lost against Alexandra Kosteniuk today. The game between Viktorija Cmilyte and Tuvshintugs Batchimeg finished in a draw.
Nana Dzagnidze got a position with a big advantage after the opening, as her pieces were placed better than opponents’ and she had good play on the queen’s side. It was possible just to increase her advantage step by step by playing 21.Rf2-22.Rb2 but Nana decided to grab a pawn on the King’s side which seemed also logical. Despite the fact that she opened the g-file for Black, her position was still much better. At the same time Black got very good practical chances, as it was not easy for White to play precisely under the time pressure. After few inaccurate moves Georgian player had to force a draw but missed 35…Rb3 and since that it was Black who started to play for win and after 79 moves Katerina Lagno won the game.
The first draw for uncompromised Georgian player! Anna Muzychuk didn’t have problems to equalize with Black and after 12…Qb6 transferred the game into the equal ending. The game finished after three-time repetition.
The game finished in draw but only after the evaluation of the position has changed a few times. The position was about equal after the opening but then Viktorija transferred the position into the endgame where her pawn structure was worse than opponents. After 37.g4 h5 White got slightly better position and after 42.h5 Tuvshintugs Batchimeg could get a decisive advantage. White missed his chances after 48.Rg6 as rook endgame was drawish.
Tatiana Kosintseva decided to play a new line with 7.Be3 in Karo-Cann, compare to her games against Alexandra Kosteniuk where she chose 7.b4. Olga Girya was not ready for this variation and had Bf3 seemed dubious decision. Black started to have problems with development and after 13.c4 Qa5 the position of Olga Girya position became hopeless. During the press-conference Olga pointed out it would be better to play Qa5 on the 12th move instead of Nf5.