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A Pack of Six Leads With 3,5 Points After 4th Round
WhatsApp Image 2019-04-13 at 17.32.59A group of six players are in the lead after today’s round: Kashlinskaya, Guichard, Danielian, Atalik, Gaponenko and Houska who have won their games today and thus increased their score to 3,5/4. They are closely followed by a large number of players with 3 points, including amongst many also the top seed Goryachkina.

The wins on top boards today were all very interesting and well played by the winner throughout the game with perhaps few exceptions only. Kashlinskaya – Buksa saw the Russian star playing a line against Buksa’s Nimzo-Indian which -as she confessed after the game- she successfully uses in blitz games against her husband Radek Wojtaszek! One of the privileges of being married to an elite grandmaster is that you have one of the best possible sparring partners always by your side! After Buksa missed 12…c5! with the idea of Ba5 in case of 13. bxc5 White had a significant edge which only increased after few inaccuracies of the Ukrainian and Alina Kashlinskaya was ruthless in converting it to a win.

On fourth board we witnessed quite a spectacle! Eline Danielian of Armenia destroyed Cramling’s kingside completely with two bishop sacrifices!

Danielian – Cramling


17.Bxh6! [Danielian punishes the Swedish legend for her last move 16…Nh7? with a classic bishop sacrifice] 17…Nd5? [17...gxh6 was the only way to resist 18.Qxh6 (18.d5! is better 18…Ng5 19.dxc6 Qxd2 20.Rxd2 Nxc6 21.Nd7 Rfd8 22.Rfd1±) 18...Nf5]

18.Bf4 [18.Rfe1 is computer's choice but Danielian's reaction is a very human one. Why to take a risk again when you have won a pawn?]

18...Qe7 [18...Nxf4 19.Qxf4 Qf6 could have been more resilient]

19.Qd3 g6 20.Bh6 Rfd8 21.Rfe1 Be8 22.Qh3! [Underlining the shakiness of the structure e6–f7–g6]

22...Nxc3 23.bxc3 Qxa3 [Cramling cuts the suffering short]

24.Bxg6! [24.Bxg6 fxg6 25.Qxe6+ Kh8 26.Nf7+ Bxf7 27.Qe5+ Nf6 28.Qxf6+ Kg8 29.Qg7#]


Another game in which a player had a crushing win was Atalik – Ovod. Evgenija Ovod’s decision to take on d5 with 7…exd5 was a bit odd and IM Ekaterina Atalik played a flawless game thereafter, never letting Ovod off the hook. A very nice win showing that IM Atalik is on form!
The tragedy of the round was definitely the Girya – Guichard game on third board. There were many twists and turns, mainly between a Girya win and a draw but the final twist proved to be even fatal for Olga Girya:
Girya - Guichard

With her last move 51...Qc4? Guichard gave her opponent a final chance to win (She should have checked first to draw white king to first rank before playing Qc4 for draw.)
52.Qe3?? [So thin is the line between winning and losing sometimes! The seemingly losing 52.Qxc4! works here thanks to a very beautiful line: 51…bxc4 53.e6 fxe6 54.fxe6 Kg7 55.e7 Kf7 Now that the king is drawn to f7 56.Bf1 works to stop the a-pawn: 56…a2 57.Bxc4+]
52...Qc2+ 53.Kf3 a2 54.Qd4 Qb3+ 55.Kf2 Qc2+ 56.Kg1 Qc1+ 57.Kh2 a1Q 58.Qxh4+ Qh6 59.Qe4 Qa4
The fifth round will start tomorrow (April 15 Monday) at 15:00 local time. The top three boards will see the leaders fighting against each other: Houska-Kashlinskaya, Guichard-Atalik and Gaponenko-Danielian. Don’t forget to follow the live broadcast with excellent commentary of GM Ioannis Papaioannou & IM Can Arduman and other top-class guests like Ivan Sokolov, Adrian Mikhalchishin and Eva Repkova!



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