May 15, 2013 19:53

Khotenashvili upsets the field to win Geneva Women's Grand Prix

Bela Khotenashvili scored an upset victory at the FIDE Women's Grand Prix in Geneva. In what was the tournament of her life (at least until now!) the International Master from Georgia finished clear first, with 8.0/11, a 2681 performance and her final GM norm. Half a point behind came Anna Muzychuk (Slovenia), while Tatiana Kosintseva (Russia) and Nana Dzagnidze (also Georgia) tied for third place.

Round 8 in action | Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE

It was a tournament with eight International Grandmasters (and three Women Grandmasters), but the only International Master in the field walked away with the € 10,000 Euro first prize and 160 Grand Prix points: Bela Khotenashvili. We know she was leading after eight rounds and Anna Muzychuk, the second seed behind Hou Yifan.

Round 9

In the ninth round both Muzychuk and Khotenashvili won their games to continue sharing first with 6.5 points. The Georgian player defeated Olga Girya in a theoretical ending and with it she secured her final GM norm. She probably didn't mind at all about the many mistakes that were made!

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Muzychuk won in a Ruy Lopez with a line Bobby Fischer liked to play.

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Tatiana Kosintseva defeated Katerina Lagno and was placed third, half a point behind the leaders. The Chinese derby Hou Yifan versus Ju Wenjun finished in a draw, as well as the games Ushenina-Dzagnidze and Cmilyte-Kosteniuk.

Round 10

Khotenashvili confidently won again in round 10, against Katerina Lagno, and after this she was half a point ahead of Muzychuk, who made a draw with Cmilyte. Kosintseva drew against Ushenina and remained in third place before the last round. Dzagnidze defeated Ju Wenjun to share fourth place with Ushenina.

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Round 11

In the final round Muzychuk didn’t get anything out of the opening and drew with Kostenik, and so Khotenashvili only needed a draw. She did so against Ushenina and thus won the tournament.

I’m very happy to win this tournament and consider this result as the best one in my career so far. I would like to thank the Georgian Chess Federation, its President Giya Giorgadze and our coach Davit Jojua for their help,

said Khotenashvili at the final press conference. Here are the games round of 11:

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The surprising winner in Geneva: Bela Khotenashvili

Women GP Geneva 2013 | Final standings


The tournament in Geneva is the first of the new Women Grand Prix series 2013-2014. It's a series of six tournaments held over two years (2013-14). The winner of the Grand Prix series at the end of 2014 will play the Women World Champion in the third quarter of 2015 in a ten game match for the Women’s World Championship title.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


bob's picture

Congrats to Bela Khotenashvili. Suprisingly inconsistent performances by the World & Ex-World Champs.

Isaac Hunt's picture

Bela played some really great games! And Muzychuk too. Hopefully we'll have some more women at +2600 soon.

Chessguy's picture

First of all, fantastic result for Bela Khotenashvili! It seems as we have another serious 2600+ potential woman player around.

However, I don't get her last game vs. Anna Ushenina. It seems as if both players have completely ignored the known theory of IQP. First, Bela exchanges two sets of minor pieces (Nh5 is a well known maneuver if White has the IQP) including the dark squared bishop. At move 20 it looks like a textbook example of IQP with big White advantage at no risk whatsoever.

However, Anna doesn't pile up on the d-pawn, instead exchanges all the rooks, which should be kept on board in IQP positions. The draw is then clear.

Xenyatta's picture

Yes, Khotenashvili won in fine style! Very impressive command of tactics. It certainly doesn't not seem to be a one-off fluke. 2600+ is a very obtainable goal for her, even in the near term. I concur that she doesn't have a very refined style for positional play--which in a way makes her result all the more impressive.

It is interesting that Khotenashvili is only participating in the Women's Grand Prix series because she is the nominee of the organizer of the Tblisi, Georgia leg. She seems quite underrated at 2499.

Anonymous's picture

When was the last time Hou finished shared 8th in a women's tournament? When she was five?

Chess Fan's picture

You Hifan having trouble in the women's circuit (8th position our of 12) clearly shows how talented the women's circuit has become. She does equally well or better in strong Men GM circuits beating the likes of GM Bu.
Along with the winner, (whose name I will take some time to remember), I really respect Anna Muzychuk. She seems potential World Champion material.

Xenyatta's picture

Hou has reached a plataeu of late, but one must recall that she has been a Professional Chess player since age 12. She has won the World Championship, defended her title, and played in many of these Women's Grand Prix tournaments. For all we know, she might be diversifying her interests, as many of the strong Women Grandmasters from China have done. From the Chinese Federation's standpoint, no one individual is irreplaceable, since there are always so many talented prodigies moving through the pipeline, China would have decent prospects in any Women's Olympiad, with or without Hou Yi-Fan anchoring the team.

Chessguy's picture

As far as I understood she's studying at university with some exams to come midyears. Just imagine Anand going to university and writing exams in a year with a title match :-)

Diamond Engagement Ring's picture

It's wonderful that you are getting thoughts from this piece of writing as well as from our dialogue made here.

Daniel's picture

Congrats on first place!

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