Batumi, Women's Grand Prix 3rd stage. The storm, the calm

The 8th round was completely uncharacteristic: 5 draws out of 6! So, is this the draw death in women's chess? Nothing of the sort! It is just a sharp contrast with the two previous rounds, which were remarkably bloodthirsty - just one draw in each round.  The players are getting tired and need to recover their strength for the finishing burst. The main events are still ahead! 

Valentina Gunina has strengthened her position. In round seven, she defeated the hitherto unbeaten Anna Muzychuk. 

Gunina-A Muzychuk

20…Nхd5?? – A real gift!! 21.Nc6 – and here Anna, to her horror, realised that she is losing a piece, because of the fork on e7. She has to part with her queen: 21…Nxe3 22.Nxd8 – and White won. (1:0). Next day, having recovered from this, the Lvov girl beat Zhao Xue and returned to the leading group. 

Zhao, in her turn, had before that won two games in succession:

Zhao Xue-Khotenashvili

The Nb4 is loose and obstructed by the Bc6, and the Chinse player exploits this:  18.e4 Qd7 19.Nd5 a5 20.Nxb4 axb4 21.f3 Ne8 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.Qxb4 f6 24.Nh3 Ne6 25.Qd2 Kg7 26.Qe3 Qc7 27.f4 Qa5

28.c5! – The offside black queen, which was hoping to exchange herself for her opposite number, allows White to start an attack on the king.  28…Nxc5 29.f5 Bxe4 30.Qg3 Bxf5 31.Rxf5 Ne4 32.Qxg6 Kxg6 33.Rxa5 Nc5 34.Nf4 Kh6 35.b4 b6 36.Rb5Black resigned (1:0).

Kosteniuk - Danielian

Who can understand the secrets of a woman's soul? On move 20, completely unexpectedly (perhaps even for herself) Elina moved the knight to g8 and now, in an attempt to get the poor horse back into the game, she jumps from the frying pan into the fire: 36.g3 – Starting a queen hunt! 36…Nh6 37.Nc6 Qf8 38.Rd4 Nc5?? 39.Rd8 – The trap closes. Your Majesty, you are under arrest! 39…Ne4 40.Qxh6 – Black resigned (1:0).

Mariya Muzychuk won her first game in round six

The home players are having a tough time so far. But they play very uncompromisingly amongst themselves! In round seven, Nino beat Lela…

Pavel Tregubov waits anxiously for his wife and his pupil - the same person.

Immediately the question comes: «Where could I have improved?» Kosteniuk - Myzuchuk ( ½ : ½ ).

Three rounds remain...

Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8