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Round 9: The leaders defeated, Khotenashvili joins the group of followers
By WFM Maria Emelianova

r9 019 WGPTashkent2013 In spite of loss to Bela Khotenashvili, Humpy Koneru is still leading by a full point, as Kateryna Lagno and Harika Dronavalli were defeated by Zhao Xue and Alexandra Kosteniuk respectively. Elina Danielian and Antoaneta Stefanova both scored their second full points by winning against Guliskhan Nakhbayeva and Nafisa Muminova accordingly. The only one draw was signed between Olga Girya and Ju Wenjun.

Pairings of the 10th round are available here.
For the current standings table please kindly visit this section.

Pictures of the 9th round and press conferences are in the Photo Gallery.

Nakhbayeva - Danielian 0 - 1
r9 034 WGPTashkent2013
The game started with Catalan Opening and pretty quickly went to an endgame. After a pawn sacrifice the position looked better for white, but Guliskhan didn't continue to play actively, and in a time trouble miscalculated some variations and couldn't equalise an endgame without a pawn.

Elina: "White had to find an immediate active move. I think 14.Rab1 was very strong, and I can't play 14…Rb8 because of 15.Nc6. And after 14.Rfd1 I also didn't play Rb8 because of same reason, so I decided first to push the knight away by 14…f6 and then develop my pieces. After that Black is already OK."

Guliskhan: "I spent too much time trying to find the best moves, and this was my mistake.  At the end I miscalculated under the time pressure." I saw the line 20.Rxd7 Nxd7, but missed 21.Bd6! It looked very dangerous. And was better to play 37.d6 with good chances for a draw, as after 37…Rc6 38.Bxc5 she can't capture with the rook (38…Rxg7+!), and after 38…bxc5 it is equal."

Zhao Xue - Lagno 1 - 0
r9 011 WGPTashkent2013
The same variation of the English Opening with Nf3 already happened in the game of Harika Dronavalli against Kateryna Lagno in the seventh round, where White got a comfortable position after 6.d4. But Zhao Xue chose to go her own way by playing the classic line with 6.0-0. The Ukrainian didn't experience any problems in the opening, but chose unsuccessful plan leading to an endgame with the pawn down.

Kateryna: "I think I had a lot of possibilities to play better, maybe 18…Qb2 19.Qc4 Qxe2 20.Nd4 Bxd4 21.Bxc6 bxc6 22.Qxd4 Rxa5 23.Rxc6 Qf3 with some draw chances. But then I just blundered."

Zhao Xue: "I think 14…a5 was a better move, with 15.bxa5 Qxa5"

Dronavalli - Kosteniuk 0 - 1
r9 008 WGPTashkent2013
Alexandra started the game quite ambitiously, and position transposed to the Volga Gambit with an extra tempo for Black, but after a couple of inaccurate moves the initiative quickly moved to the White's side. However, Harika overlooked 13.e4 and missed tactical 16.Rxe4 with very good chances for White, and after the blunder was defeated by the former world champion with no difficulties.

Harika: "I was thinking too much for the move 13.e4. It must be winning, but I thought how I played is even better. But then I just lost control."

Alexandra: "I am sure I was losing by force after 16…d6. 19.Qxd5 looked very scary in my opinion."

Evgenij Miroshnichenko: "Maybe better 19.Qc3 Nbd7 20.Rxd5 Qxd5 with 21.Ne5 or even Ng5."

Harika: "Yes this looks fine for white, at least much better than what I played. I completely forgot, that after my 19.a5 she is not forced to answer a6. And after 21…e6 I understood how bad I've played."

Alexandra: "Yes, at the moment when I finished development by 20…Qb6 and 21…e6, it was already very good position for Black."

Muminova - Stefanova 0 - 1
r9 014 WGPTashkent2013
In the Pirc Defence Black solved all the opening problems, but entered some unnecessary complications trying to fight for a win, and Bulgarian could been put into her place by the less experienced opponent. Unfortunately for Nafisa, she missed the opportunities of White's position.

Nafisa: "I didn't expect this opening. I should have played 22.f3, I completely missed that after 22.f3 g5 23.fxe4 gxf4 24.Nxf4 black can't take the knight on b8 because of 25.Bh5!"

Antoaneta: "Well I also didn't see this move. I was thinking for a long time about 22…g5. And I didn't consider that the variation with 24.Bxc4 it so bad for Black."

Alexei Barsov: "27.Rd1 Rxb8 28.Rxd4 was equalising the game."

Antoaneta: "30.Bg3 was the last chance for White, 30.c6 was a mistake, and after 31…Nd3 Black already winning."

Khotenashvili - Koneru 1 - 0
r9 027 WGPTashkent2013
Quite a principal duel, as both opponents won one Grand Prix stage, went into Bogo-Indian Defense with not very popular 4…c5, which however was successfully used by Alexander Moiseenko during the European Championship. Humpy also managed to have a good position, but Georgian didn't give any chance to Indian for an initiative play. When Humpy already had to change the plan in order to equalise, she couldn't stop herself from playing for a win, and was not so lucky as Antoaneta. In a great satisfaction for Bela, who is now sharing second to fourth place, she managed to bring the first upset for Koneru in the current Grand Prix Series.

Humpy: "I was slightly better in the middle game. Maybe it was better to play 27…Rc4 with Nb6. I knew that 28…Bxe2 was a way to draw, but I wanted to play for more, and it was my mistake."

Girya - Ju Wenjun ½ - ½
r9 016 WGPTashkent2013
The only game, which finished with a draw, was however full of fighting spirit, as it usually happens in the duels of both players. An interesting hybrid of Dutch and Nimzo Defences was played, the position was equal but rather complicated strategically. Olga allowed her opponent to close the position on the queen's side, and this could end in Black's favor, but the Chinese was not precise trying to create an attack on the white king. In the endgame Russian had to balance on the edge, but succeeded to score a half-point. It deserves to be noticed, that the players shook the hands when just the kings were left on the board.

Olga: "I think 12.b4 was not good move. It was better 12.b3. If she played 17…d5, it would be completely no play for White."

Evgenij Miroshnichenko: "Yes, it was very easy to prepare the attack on the White's king. Maybe it 20…Rf7 followed by f4."

Olga: "Maybe my opponent shouldn't change the rooks on g4. After 24…Kh8 my position is terrible."

Ju Wenjun: "Maybe in the endgame I could play better. 36…h5 is interesting. And maybe 43...Bf5 44.Bh3 Bg6 45.Bg4 Rc4 46.Bh5 Kf5 with some better chances for Black."
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