Kosteniuk Loses Final Round, Still Claims Crown In Munich

Kosteniuk Loses Final Round, Still Claims Crown In Munich


GM Alexandra Kosteniuk was crowned as the winner of the second leg of the 2022/2023 FIDE Grand Prix on Monday with a score of 7.5/11 despite losing her final game to WGM Zhu Jiner.

Peace was the theme of the final round in Munich as five of the six games were drawn. GM Humpy Koneru, the only player within striking distance of Kosteniuk, drew quickly with GM Tan Zhongyi to secure second place on 7/11. GM Nana Dzagnidze rounded out the podium with a score of 6.5/11 after an 11-move draw with GM Harika Dronavalli.

Excluding the only decisive result of the day, 124 moves were all that was needed across the other five boards for the standings to be finalized before the €80,000 prize fund and Grand Prix points were divided between the players.

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

Kosteniuk’s astonishing run of form finally came to a halt in round 11 as Zhu put on a showcase in the Nimzo Indian Defense: Botvinnik System. The queens were traded early in the game with many expecting a short draw to secure first place; however, the position went awry for the “Chess Queen” on move 25 as she was forced to give up a pawn without any significant compensation.

Zhu’s destruction of the Nimzo-Indian made for the most exciting game of round 11. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

The position went from bad to worse for Kosteniuk when Zhu exchanged a rook and a pawn for a knight and bishop, leaving her trio of minor pieces to dominate Black’s rooks as the ending neared. The Chinese GM’s knight and bishop pairing eventually prevailed, and Kosteniuk was dealt her first loss of the event.

Annotations for our Game of the Day, provided by GM Rafael Leitao, are included below.

Fortunately for the tournament leader, her first-place standing had already been secured by the time the game ended, courtesy of a 31-move draw between Koneru and Tan where the players duked out theoretical moves at a 96-percent accuracy in just over two hours.

In the battle for third place, Dzagnidze and Dronavalli played out the shortest game of the tournament, reaching threefold repetition on the 11th move and adding some “new theory” to the growing database of hurried draws.

Over before it began., a forgettable game took place between Dzagnidze and Dronavalli. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

Alongside this 11-move draw, the encounter between GMs Anna Muzychuk and Zhansaya Abdumalik also ended in a draw by repetition on move 17 (the rules of the tournament stipulate that draws, excluding threefold and stalemate, may not be agreed upon before move 30), which chief arbiter Jens Wolter cited as one of the “difficulties” an arbiter must deal with in tournaments such as this.

The only other game where a true battle transpired was between IM Alina Kashlinskaya and GM Elisabeth Paehtz. Looking to catapult themselves up the standings and take advantage of the high draw rate in the final round, the players welcomed middlegame imbalance in the Slav Defense: Modern, Chameleon Variation. 

Kashlinskaya and Paehtz played out the hardest-fought draw of the round. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

Typical queenside knight play became the focal point of the position before Paehtz decided to blast open the center with a double-pawn break. Holding a small edge, Kashlinskaya poked and prodded but missed a serious chance with 22. Nf6+, instead allowing exchanges that led to a drawn queen, bishop, and pawn endgame.

After the second leg of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix, Kosteniuk sits atop the overall standings with 250 Grand Prix points and is in the pole position to capture one of the women’s candidate tournament spots. GM Kateryna Lagno, who won in Astana in late 2022, is the other frontrunner but needs to score well in New Delhi and Gibraltar later in the year.

For her efforts in Munich, Kosteniuk will receive €15,000 for first place, while Koneru and Dzagnidze will receive €12,000 and €10,000 respectively.

Top finishers (from left to right): Dzagnidze, Kosteniuk, and Koneru. Photo: Mark Livshitz/FIDE.

Final Crosstable

All Games – Round 11

The FIDE Women’s Grand Prix Second Leg (of four) took place February 1-14, 2023, in Munich, Germany. The format was a round-robin tournament with 12 players. The time control was 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 was 80,000 euros.

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