|Status Quo Preserved at Women’s Grand Prix|
|Tuesday, 06 July 2010|
By DYLAN LOEB MCCLAIN
The penultimate round at the Fourth Women’s Grand Prix in Jermuk, Armenia, was a quiet one as all but one of the games ended in draws, and the one decisive game had no impact on the standings among the leaders.
Nana Dzagnidze of the Republic of Georgia retained her one point lead, so she is guaranteed of at least a tie for first. Tatianan Kosintseva of Russia, who is in second place, can only catch Dzagnidze if she beats Elina Danielian of Armenia on Monday, and hope that Dzagnidze loses to Hou Yifan of China, the tournament’s top seed.
The Grand Prix is a six-tournament series to select a challenger for the women’s world championship. The best three results are used in calculating the winner, who will receive 15,000 euros (about $19,000 at current exchange rates).
While most of Sunday’s games ended in draws, they were highly competitive — continuing the trend throughout the tournament. Antoaneta Stefanova, a former women’s world champion, was in trouble against Kosintseva, but she managed to create a strong enough counterattack to force a draw by perpetual check. Three other games ended the same way.
The one decisive game was the win of Pia Cramling of Sweden over Baira Kovanova of Russia. The game was fairly balanced out of the opening, but Cramling was able to push her pawns forward in the center. In the ensuing position, she found a nice tactic that combined a threat of mate against Kovanova’s king with tripling her rooks and queen on the d file, forcing the win of an exchange. Though Kovanova fought on, she was outgunned and eventually had to resign.
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