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Round 7: Black side revenges, Koneru is back to sole lead
By WFM Maria Emelianova

r7 024 WGPTashkent2013
Without any doubt, the seventh round of the Grand Prix happened to be the most exciting round here so far. Besides the theoretical clash of the leaders Harika Dronavalli and Kateryna Lagno, which finished with an early rather logical draw, none of the games had a predictable result. And after the principal battle of two former world champions, Antoaneta Stefanova and Alexandra Kosteniuk, finished in a draw with plenty of mistakes on both sides, one could have thought "OK, that was very exciting". But then we found ourselves watching how the lowest-rated Nafisa Muminova created a crucial attack on the king of the leader, top-seeded Humpy Koneru. However, the experience and steel nerves of the Indian helped her to fight back and outplay the Uzbek and once again get her sole leadership. 
Elina Danielian was celebrating her first victory in the tournament as she forced Zhao Xue to blunder in an uncomfortable position after an exchange sacrifice by Armenian.
Ju Wenjun was stronger than Bela Khotenashvili to share with her the fourth place in the current standings.
But "the sweetest treat" of the evening was the long battle of Guliskhan Nakhbayeva against Olga Girya, where the Russian after over 100 moves managed to convert a nearly equal endgame to her favor.
Pictures of the 7th round and press conferences are available in the Photo Gallery.

Dronavalli - Lagno ½ - ½
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Quite a typical line of the English Opening was played, and both players had opportunities to play more active, but soon the game was equalized and finished  with tree times repetition in 34 moves.

Katya: "This line happened in the old game of Ivanchuk. Vassily took 6…cxd4, but I wanted to capture with the knight first. I liked this trick with 12.Qb3: if I give check 12…Qa5, then 13.Bd2 Qxc5 14.Bb4."

Harika: "I was thinking about 13…Kg8 14.0-0, and if g5 is possible Black was some nice counter play."

Katya: "Yes, it looks interesting, but dangerous for Black. I think only computer can easily hold this position.
And there was an interesting idea for White: 17.Nxb7 Bxb7 18.Qxb6 axb6 19.Rc7 Ba6 20.Rxe7 but it didn't work because of 20…Kf6. After 14.Bxg7 the position was equal. As I remember Ivanchuk played 14.Bd2 and it was a long game which finally finished with the draw"

Zhao Xue - Danielian 0 - 1
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In the Bogo-Indian Defense Elina sacrificed an exchange in order to get an active play, the Chinese however had enough resources for defense but blundered the tactical 26…Rxf3! after her uncareful  26.Nc2.

Elina: "I think I have played the best game in this tournament so far. I sacrificed an exchange and had a lot of possibilities. Of course the position was holdable for White, but my opponent helped me a lot by her blunder 26.Nc2. For example after 26.h4 Nf7 27.Nc2 Rb3 I still have a comfortable position, but it is much better for White anyway."

Khotenashvili - Ju Wenjun 0 - 1
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Despite that Ju Wenjun is known to be a King's Indian player, she decided to use the Dutch defense, and Bela chose her favorite side-line against it. Position was complicated but equal, however Georgian chose the wrong plan for White, and the white king from a safe position very quickly appeared to be in a mate cage.

Ju Wenjun: "White's position was OK, but I thought she would play 23.b4 gxf4 (23...Bc6 24.Qf3) 24.exf4. and 26.Nxe4 was a mistake."

Stefanova - Kosteniuk ½ - ½
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In the popular nowadays line of the Queen's Gambit Declined Alexandra and Antoaneta were following the game of Nakamura against Bacrot, which just happened yesterday in the third round of Paris Grand Prix. Instead of 9.Bg3 Bulgarian preferred a sharp 9.g5, 10.g6, but Alexandra was not surprised as she has already met this idea in her game against Nana Dzagnidze in Geneva Women's Grand Prix. After White's  imprecise 19.Kd2 Alexandra held the initiative but couldn't find the best moves as both players were already struggling in the time trouble. After 26…d4 and 28…Rcd8 already Antoaneta was able to convert the advantage into a full point, but couldn't find 30.Rg1. However after few more mistakes from white's side Alexandra had a chance to put white king under pressure with 36...Rd3+ 37.Kc2 Rc8, but couldn't calculate all the line and committed the perpetual check.

Muminova - Koneru 0 -1 
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In the rare line in Sicilian Defense, which had been transposed into a Scheveningen type of position later, Nafisa has got an overwhelming attack on the king's side, but didn't find the winning continuation and allowed her opponent to maintain the pieces and to hold the initiative.

Humpy: "At the opening I had a comfortable position, but instead of 16…Na7 should have played e5. Then I think I shouldn't take 23…Bxe4. And in the middle game I was just co very bad. After 30.f6 Black is completely lost: 30…Qd2 31.Ne4 Qxd4+ 32.Kh1 h5 33.Qf4 Kh7 34.Ng5+"

Nakhbayeva - Girya 0 - 1
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In the Exchange Slav Defense White got a pleasant position, but couldn't get anything from the opening. After blunders exchange the players got into an endgame with slight chances for Black, and Russian managed to gradually outplay her less experienced opponent.

Olga: "My 13…Nc6 was a strange move, White were slightly better, but later the position became equal. I already expected she would play 39.Bxf5 with a draw, but then she blundered a pawn. I had good winning chances, but blundered a pawn back. Very difficult and tiring game."

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