Kosteniuk Draws Wild Game, Sustains 1.5-Point Lead

Kosteniuk Draws Wild Game, Sustains 1.5-Point Lead


GM Alexandra Kosteniuk survived an uproarious game vs. GM Zhansaya Abdumalik in round six of the Munich FIDE Women’s Grand Prix

After this all-draw round, Kosteniuk’s considerable lead over the field persists. GMs Humpy Koneru and Nana Dzagnidze are tied for second, chasing the 12th women’s world champion from 1.5 points behind. 

As we head into the second half of the event, will anyone challenge Kosteniuk’s powerful grip at the top of the scoreboard?

The Munich FIDE Women’s Grand Prix continues Thursday, February 9, 2023, at 6 a.m. PT/15:00 CET.

How to watch?
The games of the Munich Women’s Grand Prix can be found here

Kosteniuk and Abdumalik produced the wildest game of the round. Their Caro-Kann beginning ran amuck after the Kazakh grandmaster―new to the opening―intentionally gave up her right to castle with 8…Kxf7!?

Even later in the game, when much of the chaos had calmed down, Kosteniuk displayed her own fighting spirit by declining a repetition draw with 33.Nc4, despite her comfortable lead on the scoreboard.

This frenzied duel is our Game of the Day with annotations by GM Rafael Leitao.

After the game, Abdumalik shared her feelings on her opening choice: “I decided to play Caro-Kann. I think this is my third or second time playing it in classical chess. So, I was surprised by her g4-move. I didn’t really prepare because she usually plays Nf3. But after g4, I was thinking. It’s not the best when you make only three moves and then you’re thinking. … After she takes on f7 and king takes, I really like my position.”

Kosteniuk has led the event from round one. As the rounds tick down, can anyone catch her? Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

The longest and most hard-fought game of the round was between WGM Dinara Wagner and Koneru where Black’s ambitious kingside expansion in the opening led to a sharp early battle on that side of the board. 

Can the Indian women’s number one gain ground on Kosteniuk’s 1.5-point lead? Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

Another fighting draw occurred between GMs Harika Dronavalli and Tan Zhongyi. Harika gained more activity and a better pawn structure and pressed in the ending. But the opposite-colored bishops, each stranded in their own world on the same chessboard, made it hard to make progress. After a phase of nuanced maneuvering, the game ended in a draw. 

Hard-fought draws can be just as meaningful as victories. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

WGM Zhu Jiner sacrificed a pawn vs. Dzagnidze in the Caro-Kann Advanced, trying to gain kingside pressure with more active pieces. Dzagnidze neutralized her opponent’s pressure and maintained her extra pawn, giving her a small edge to press. However, the game featured an unusual spell of opposite-colored bishops―passing by each other on parallel diagonals yet never crossing―making it hard for the Georgian grandmaster to convert her extra pawn in the ending. 

Will Dzagnidze break out of the pack to fight for first? Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

Both the games, IM Alina Kashlinskaya vs. GM Anna Muzychuk and GM Elisabeth Paehtz vs. GM Mariya Muzychuk, ended in draws in exactly 31 moves. 


All Games – Round 6

The FIDE Women’s Grand Prix Second Leg (of four) takes place February 1-14, 2023, in Munich, Germany. The format is a round-robin tournament with 12 players. The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, plus a 30-second increment starting on move one. The prize fund is 80,000 euros.

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