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Gaponenko Joins Kashlinskaya In Lead, WFM Çağlar Secures IM-Norm
WhatsApp Image 2019-04-19 at 17.35.07
There were many interesting developments in the eighth round. The two clashes on top two boards, Kashlinskaya-Ushenina and Tsolakidou-Sebag ended in correctly played, high-level, but fairly uneventful draws which once again allowed Alina Kashlinskaya to take her leading position to the next round regardless of what happens in other boards.

However that also meant that the winner of Atalik – Gaponenko on third board could tie for first at 6,5 points with Kashlinskaya and it was exactly what Ukrainian IM Inna Gaponenko did! Atalik should have mixed up something in the opening because Gaponenko took the game almost by force into a pawn up endgame with rooks and opposite color bishops. The latter fact presented some drawing chances but with rooks on board it’s never easy for the defending side and Gaponenko’s exemplary patient play brought down the resistance of IM Atalik and the Ukrainian scored an important win!

On fourth board Polish WGM Jolanta Zawadzka scored a fine win against the top seed Aleksandra Goryachkina. It can also be said that the Russian player had a horrible day and a few strange decisions of hers cost Goryachkina very dearly. Khotenashvili – Brunello was a tour de force from the Georgian star and Bela Khotenashvili won quite comfortably.

Let’s come to the big news of the day. Sıla Çağlar, the 15 years old WFM from Turkey with 2140 ELO rating is continuing to live a fairy tale and she has now secured an IM (yes not WIM) norm of 9 rounds with a round to spare! So no matter what she will do tomorrow against Socko, Sıla Çağlar will definitely get an IM-norm. Congratulations!

Today even though she found herself in a seriously worse if not lost position Sıla Çağlar continued to fight hard against Bodnaruk and once again was rewarded with half a point.The last important point was instructive:

Çağlar - Bodnaruk

38... Ke7? [38...Kg6! was winning. Black should have immediately thought about her counterattack with passed pawns. Now after this critical loss of tempo the game is balanced.]
39.Kc5! Rb8 40.a5 Rb5+ 41.Kc4 Rf5 42.Kxb4 Kd6 43.a6 [White has gained b4- pawn and has advanced a-passer which should be enough for a draw.Although Bodnaruk managed to take it into a rook+bishop vs rook endgame, WFM Çağlar was never in danger and achieved the draw on 133rd move!]
With this score Sıla Çağlar’s rating has increased to 2294 with an ELO gain of +154 thanks to a 2520 ELO performance! You should definitely keep her name in your mind!
The 9th round will start tomorrow (April 20 Saturday) at 15:00 local time. We will see Gaponenko - Kashlinskaya on first board. The other pairings which might prove to be crucial in determining the leaders after next round are Sebag- Khotenashvili, Ushenina – Tsolakidou and Paehtz - Zawadzka.
Don’t forget to follow the live broadcast with excellent commentary of GM Ioannis Papaioannou & IM Can Arduman and Ivan Sokolov & Eva Repkova or as usual, any combination of those.

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