The key game of the tournament between Humpy Koneru and Anna Muzyhcuk, who have the best chances for the second place in the Grand Prix Series, happened in the ninth round. The leader of the tournament Humpy Koneru chose a bit passive strategy and was defeated by Anna Muzychuk. Thus Slovenian player became the sole leader half a point above two rounds to go. Former world champion scored first full point in the tournament by winning against Kubra Ozturk who sacrificed a pawn in the middle game but didn’t get enough compensation later on. Tatiana Kosinsteva committed three times the same mistake until Betul Yildiz found the winning move and converted the score in her favor. Zhao Xue was persistent in finding winning chances against Monika Socko and eventually succeeded to take the full point. Two more games could be decisive today if Viktorija Cmilyte and Ju Wenjun would manage to convert their advantage into more.
Ruan Lufei – Ju Wenjun 1/2-1/2
Ruan Lufei: I think g4 was a mistake but I overlooked e4 and after that move I think the position is not good for white. Later on in the endgame it seems black had some chances but over the board I didn’t see any winning position for black.
Ju Wenjun: I think black had good position in the opening and I agree that maybe g4 was not a good move. If we didn’t exchange “c” and “a” pawns I could have had some chances.
Zhao Xue – Monika Socko 1-0
Zhao Xue: Actually I forgot how to play in the opening after e5. It’s was not easy for me to find the move because after Bd2 I didn’t like e4.
Monika Socko: I think white had to play g4 and Bg2 after e5. It happened in the game Lazniczka-Wojtaszek in the last Olympiad. And if I play Qe4 there is a simple answer Qd1. I think my position was slightly better after the opening but it was better to play e4 instead of ed4. White made short castling, so I wanted to create some threats. There were many different plans in the middle game.
Betul Yildiz – Tatiana Kosintseva 1-0
Betul Yildiz: We played Sicilian but it looked more like Queens Indian. She had an attack on the king side and I had some counter play on the queen side. I think I changed pieces a little bit early. Then I found Nf5 finally after so many chances and got winning position.
Tatiana Kosintseva: Yes, I didn’t see Nf5. I think gh was not correct move maybe I should have played Bf6 and Bg5 instead. She managed to play g3 and her knight started to play. It seems I did something wrong earlier because white made everything they wanted but my queen left on a6 and did nothing there.
Humpy Koneru – Anna Muzychuk 0-1
Anna Muzychuk: Nf3 was a liitle surprise for me because normally Humpy plays 1.d4. I started to think and tried to remember what I play. I played g6 which normally I don’t play – I have chosen e5 before. I wanted to get more sharp position because after e5 there were some draws. But even in the position in the game white didn’t risk losing. Later on she just lost a pawn but even in the rook endgame it should be draw. She was trying to keep the position but instead she could have played more actively, take pawn on a7 after Rc7.
Humpy Koneru: I think in the middle game I played a bit passive after I got those c3 and d4 pawns. Maybe I should have played d5 earlier instead of Re1 for example. I clearly blundered in the endgame and still not sure how it was better to play.
Viktorija Cmilyte-Munguntuul Batkhuyag 1/2-1/2
Munguntuul Batkhuyag: First of all I played terribly in the opening. White wanted to attack me on the king side, so I made short castling. I also opened the position after c5 d5 and then lost a pawn. So I believe after white won the pawn their position should be winning. My only chance was to go into the rook endgame because with bishops and knights the position should be winning for white.
Viktorija Cmilyte: Yes, of course I had good chance to win but at the same time the position was very complicated and it was not so easy.
Antoaneta Stefanova - Kubra Ozturk 1-0
Antoaneta Stefanova: It was unclear from the opening. The first critical moment was when Kubra decided to sacrifice a pawn because if she plays Nd7 she will be just passive. I’m not sure about my move Nd3 maybe I had to play Nf3 immediately. After Nf4 black have some compensation but I think if white play precisely it should be not so much for black. It was my feeling but in the time trouble it’s not easy to calculate everything. Rd2 was probably not so good because after h4 black didn’t have compensation any more.
Kubra Ozturk: Yes, I didn’t want to play passively that’s why I sacrificed a pawn. In the opening I had to play Bc5 earlier. And of course Rd2 was not good move I miscalculated that white can take the knight on e2 with their queen. It was better to play Rc8 or Re8 and keep the pressure.