The line that separates ambition from prudence can be more or less thick, depending on the category of the rival. Alexandra Kosteniuk risked excessively today and was very close to defeat against the Indian Dronavalli Harika, 12th in the world, but she pulled the tie after four consecutive victories. The Russian (with the flag of the International Federation, FIDE) leads the Women’s Grand Prix very prominently, which twelve players compete in Munich after five rounds of the eleven scheduled. Kosteniuk enters the rest day on Tuesday with 1.5 points more than the three chasing her: Harika, the also Indian Humpy Koneru and the Georgian Nana Dzagnidze.
Harika, 32, knows Kosteniuk, 38, very well, whom he had faced 92 times to date. Knowing therefore that her rival, former world champion, likes to complicate and attack, she adopted with the white pieces the very peaceful (in principle) Exchange Variation of the Slav Defense, hoping that she would be the one to find the paths more confused. And so it happened, but in such a way that Kosteniuk pulled too far on the risk rope and came out of the opening with a clearly bad position. Everything indicated that the experienced Harika was not going to forgive, but she did in the fifth hour of the fight, succumbing to the ingenious resources of the Russian to achieve counterplay.
The one who also forgave was Koneru, to Dzagnidze. The Indian could have signed an exemplary and very brilliant miniature, but it lacked murderous instinct and precision when it was only necessary to finish off her excellent punishment work, and the Georgian snatched half a point that must taste like glory. Almost at the same time the tie was signed, hard fought, between the Ukrainian Anna Muzychuk and the Chinese Jiner Zhu. Long before, without any fight, the point was shared by the Kazakh Zhansaya Abdumalik and the German Elisabeth Paethz, who believe that two consecutive days of rest are better than one.
Something similar to Koneru’s (lack of forcefulness after playing very well to gain a large advantage) happened to Mariya Muzychuk and Zhongyi Tan against the Polish (formerly Russian) Alina Kashlinskaya and the German Dinara Wagner, respectively. With the important nuance that Tan ended up drawing, but the eldest of the Muzychuk sisters will spend the rest day with the very bitter taste of a defeat that should have been a victory.
Fifth round: Tan – Wagner, tables; Harika-Kosteniuk, draw; Abdumalik–Paethz, draws; M. Muzychuk – Kashlinskaya, 0-1; A. Muzychuk – Jiner Zhu, draw; Dzagnidze – Koneru, draw.
Classification: 1st Kosteniuk 4.5 points; 2nd-3rd Koneru and Dzagnidze 3; 5th-10th Harika, A. Muzychuk, M. Muzychuk, Tan, Kashlinskaya and Paethz 2.5; 9th-10th Zhu 2; 11th Abdumalik 1.5; 12th Wagner 1.
Sixth round (Wednesday, 3:00 p.m.): Wagner-Koneru; Zhu–Dzagnidze; Kashlinskaya – A. Muzychuk; Paethz–M. Muzychuk; Kosteniuk–Abdumalik; Tan-Harika.
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Source: EL PAIS