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Glory at the finish line
Closing-1The eleventh and last round was as dramatic as the previous ones, with no less than four decisive games and two 'amiable' results. By drawing with White against Harika Dronavalli, Ju Wenjun ensured the tournament win as the other co-leader, Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, lost to Natalia Zhukova with White, thus dropping on the second position.
The other Chinese player occupied the remaining place on the podium after drawing with Black against Valentina Gunina. The game between the two former leaders, Natalija Pogonina and Nana Dzagnidze ended with the former's win and both players finished on a shared 4th-5th.
As for the other hard fought matches: Humpy Koneru – Antoaneta Stefanova and Pia Cramling – Nino Batsiashvili, they did not cause any major changes in the classification.
Chaos at the top!
R10-54The abrupt changes in classification initiated in the previous rounds culminated in round 10 with a double castling at the top. Both leaders Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue lost with White against their nearest trailers, Ju Wenjun and Sarasadat Khademalsharieh respectively. In the third decisive game of the day, Natalia Zhukova defeated with White Natalija Pogonina, after carrying out an elegant tactic. Nino Batsiashvili - Humpy Koneru, Antoaneta Stefanova - Valentina Gunina and Harika Dronavalli - Pia Cramling ended in draws. After ten rounds, Sarasadat Khademalsharieh and Ju Wenjun share the lead with 7 points, trailed by Nana Dzagnidze and Zhao Xue with 6,5.
Dzagnidze stumbles, Zhao advances
1The second rest day did not have the same effect on all the players. Some of them returned to the chess board with renewed forces, while others seemed to be taken out of their rhythm. Round 9 maintained the high percentage of decisive games (4 with 2 draws) and marked some spectacular changes in the top configuration.
Nana Dzagnidze lost an important point with Black against Pia Cramling and was caught up by Zhao Xue who won with Black against the former leader, Natalija Pogonina. Sarasadat Khademalsharieh obtained her first GM norm by defeating Antoaneta Stefanova with White and Humpy Koneru reached the floating level 50% by winning her second Tartakower QG against Valentina Gunina. Ju Wenjun - Natalia Zhukova and Harika Dronavalli - Nino Batsiashvili ended in draws after fierce defence from Black in the former and White in the latter.
The tournament has two leaders, Zhao Xue and Nana Dzagnidze, both on 6.5/9, being trailed by half a point by Ju Wenjun and Sarasadat Khademalsharieh.
Dzagnidze's breakthrough
R8-25The high rate of decisive games (four, with only two draws) persisted in round 8, but the same applies to the frequency of time troubles and the inherent inaccuracies, mistakes and on board upside downs. The central result was Nana Dzagnidze's win with White against Harika Dronavalli, converting the Georgian into sole leader with a margin of a full point.
Antoaneta Stefanova obtained her first victory in the tournament against Natalija Pogonina, causing the Russian to drop on a shared 2nd-4th. Natalia Zhukova - Pia Cramling and Nino Batsiashvili - Valentina Gunina ended in wins for Black.
The short draw in the Chinese derby Zhao Xue - Ju Wenjun allowed both players catching up with Natalija Pogonina. The other draw of the day was Humpy Koneru - Sarasadat Khademalsharieh.
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