Leaderboard Tightens Again at Women’s Grand Prix
Once again, there are co-leaders in the Women’s Grand Prix in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Zhao Xue of China, the leader after Round 4, was held to a draw in Round 5 on Tuesday by Batkhuyag Munguntuul of Mongolia,
Zhao Xue of China, the leader after Round 4, was held to a draw in Round 5 on Tuesday by Batkhuyag Munguntuul of Mongolia, while Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria beat Tatiana Kosintseva of Russia to draw even with Zhao. They each have 4 points.
Hou Yifan of China also won in Round 5, beating Marie Sebag of France, and is tied for third with Humpy Koneru of India, the top seed, who drew with Zhu Chen of Qatar. Hou and Koneru each have 3.5 points.
Kosintseva is tied for fifth with Maia Chiburdanidze of the Republic of Georgia, who was another winner in Round 5, beating Xu Yuha of China. Kosintseva and Chiburdanidze each have 3 points.
Though there were four decisive results in Round 5 (the other victory was by Shen Yang of China over Betul Cemre Yildiz of Turkey), the games were over relatively quickly. None of them went more than 36 moves and Koneru’s draw against Zhu was only 37 moves. Zhao’s draw with Munguntuul was the exception, stretching to 69 moves. That has not been the pattern in this tournament — nor in many women’s tournaments, where long, drawn out games are usually common. The high number of decisive results in Mongolia (17 out of 30 games, or 57 percent, so far) is also typical.
The shortest game Tuesday was apparently Stefanova’s win over Kosintseva — apparently because the move transmission was garbled again, as it was during Round 3. The final move given in the transmission was 27 Qa7, and Black resigned, which makes no sense as the move would be a blunder of White’s queen. Black’s position was certainly difficult before the 27th move, but what happened afterward is not clear, only that White won.