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Kashlinskaya Still Clear First, Followed by a Group of Five
WhatsApp Image 2019-04-18 at 15.56.07
The seventh round didn’t change the leader as Sebag and Kashlinskaya agreed to a quick draw, probably because both players thought that it’s a needless risk to play against each other when they entered the round as sole first and second. However the number of players following Kashlinskaya half a point behind has increased and now Alina Kashlinskaya is facing more pressure to preserve her driving seat.

The game between Bodnaruk and Goryachkina on second board was probably the game of the day. The sheer complexity of the position reached after a long theoretical line of French Winawer was simply amazing! It would be unfair to criticize any of them but computer shows that Bodnaruk missed a win:

Bodnaruk – Goryachkina 
29.Rb4?! [29.Qe7+ Kc8 30.Rb4 Compared to the game this way Black doesn't get Ng6 included which obviously favors White. In such a position it's impossible to calculate everything on the board so a comparative thinking like this should be applied to be able to choose the move which is likelier to be correct.]
29...Ng6 30.Qf6? [30.Qd3 was according to computer still winning.]
30...Qxc2 [Now that all black pieces are defended and no mating threats against black king, it's a wise decision from Bodnaruk to make the draw. A fascinating game!]
31.Qf7+ Ka8 32.Qg8+ Kb7 33.Qf7+ Ka8 34.Qg8+ Kb7 35.Qf7+

On third board Khotenashvili also came close to winning but 31. Bd5? allowing 31…exd4 and the opening of e-file let Danielian back into the game. On the next four boards the higher rated players have all won, namely Atalik, Ushenina, Tsolakidou and Gaponenko, and they all joined Sebag at second place with 5,5 points. All of them went according pretty much according to same scenario, with higher rated players getting an early advantage and then capitalizing on it.

Let’s come to the sensation of the championship, the 15 years old Turkish talent Sıla Çağlar. The young Turkish player who was performing at 2493 ELO until this round has won again! This time her victim was French IM Sophie Milliet. All it took WFM Çağlar to score another point was just one mistake:
Çağlar - Milliet
40... Kf6? [40...Be5 was the only way not to lose a pawn or pawns and it was sufficient for equality. After the move in the game Black is losing both a- and b- pawns and with them the game.]
41.Rd7! Rc1 42.Rxb7 Rxc4 43.Rb6+ Kg5 44.Rxa6 Rc2 45.Re6 [Of course e3 should be prevented. The rest is straightforward.]
45...Kxg4 46.a6 Ra2 47.a7 e3 48.Rxe3! Bxe3 49.Bxe3 h5 50.b5 h4 51.b6 h3+ 52.Kh2

With this win Sıla Çağlar’s performance rating has increased to a meteoric 2530 ELO and she has amassed 140 (!) ELO points! A vertical take-off which will surely place her on the chart of most talented young players in women chess. Bravo!
The 8th round will start tomorrow (April 19 Friday) at 15:00 local time. We will see Kashlinskaya- Ushenina on first board. The other matchups between players with 5,5 points are Tsolakidou – Sebag and Atalik - Gaponenko.
Don’t forget to follow the live broadcast with excellent commentary of GM Ioannis Papaioannou & IM Can Arduman and Ivan Sokolov & Eva Repkova or any combination of those.

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