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Kashlinskaya and Guichard Leading After Five Rounds
IMG 5922The less rounds there are to be played the more important the games become and so the tension becomes higher and higher. Even before the round it was clear from the atmosphere in the hall that things have become serious.

We saw lots of excitement on the top boards today. Hardly a game had a drawish course and we could see even more decisive games than it turned out to be. On top board Houska played a Reversed King’s Indian (King’s Indian Attack) setup against Kashlinskaya. Since the Russian star played a bit of a routine moves Houska could have emerged with some advantage had she taken 18. Bxd4 and force 18…exd4 instead of playing 18.b3?! and allowing 18…Ne6!.After that Black had a slightly more comfortable position and it took two mistakes of Houska (25. Qxa5? and 30.Nb6?) for Kashlinskaya to score the full point. A third victory for Alina Kashlinskaya and she definitely seems to be on fire!

Pauline Guichard joined Kashlinskaya in lead with a fine and unexpectedly easy win against Ekaterina Atalik. In a very typical IQP position IM Atalik misplayed completely -12…Bf5 and 13…Ne4? looked completely out of place- and ran into a standard trick:

Guichard – Atalik


Can you spot the simple tactical trick here for white?

In the rest of the game the Frenchwoman didn’t give any chances and converted her material advantage into a win. A fantastic performance so far from Guichard! Tomorrow will for sure be a big test for her, playing black against Kashlinskaya.

On third board we’ve seen a see-saw game in which the balance swung many times between Gaponenko and Danielian but it was mostly the Armenian who had the upper hand. In fact she had a completely won position which seemed to be over. The following position and sequence of moves in zeitnot shows what kind of a game it was:
Gaponenko – Danielian
White knight is not helping the defence at all and it looks like Black should eventually be able to give mate...

35... Nd3?? [A terrible blunder which could cost Danielian a full point. 35...Qh5 threatening Ne2 and Rxh2 was easily winning]
36.Qe2?? [36.Rxd3! won a piece and now it is White who wins!]
36...Rf4 [36...Nf4 and trying to return to Qh5 was better]
37.Rg2? [37.Rh3 was a tricky move intending mate after Rh8. After the move in the game once again the game is completely lost.]
37...Rf3! 38.Rg3 Rxg3+?? [The obvious 38...Rf2 was almost mate! And a very cute one: 39.Qxe4 (39.Rh3 Qg6+) 39...Rf1+ 40.Kg2 Rg1+ 41.Kxg1 (41.Kh3 Qh5+ 42.Qh4 Nf2#) 41...Qf2+ 42.Kh1 Qf1+ 43.Rg1 Nf2#]
39.hxg3=  and after some more moves the game was drawn with perpetual.
So both Gaponenko and Danielian are now at 4 points. They are joined by Sebag, Ushenina, Khotenashvili, Salimova and Balajayeva who all won their games today.
The sixth round will start tomorrow (April 16 Tuesday) at 15:00 local time. We will see Kashlinskaya – Guichard clash on top board. Gaponenko – Khotenashvili, Salimova – Sebag, Danielian – Ushenina and Goryachkina – Balajayeva are the other matchups at the top.
Don’t forget to follow the live broadcast with excellent commentary of GM Ioannis Papaioannou & IM Can Arduman and Ivan Sokolov & Eva Repkova will join like today!




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