Reports | October 03, 2009 23:03

Dzagnidze leads Nanjing Women GP

Nanjing GP r5Like their male Grand Slam colleagues, the Grand Prix women are enjoying their first rest day today and so we take the opportunity to do a first report on this second FIDE GP event. After a 4/4 start, GM Nana Dzagnidze lost her first game in round 5 yesterday, to French GM Marie Sebag, but the Georgian lady is still in clear first place, with six more rounds to go.

The 2nd tournament in the FIDE Women Grand Prix Series takes place September 27 - October 10 alongside the Pearl Spring Grand Slam, in Nanjing, China. It's a 12-player round-robin with GM Zhao Xue (2544), Wenjun Ju (2443), GM Nana Dzagnidze, (2536), GM Marie Sebag (2531), GM Xu Yuhua (2485), GM Zhu Chen (2473), IM Lilit Mrktchian (2467), WGM Shen Yang (2453), WGM Munguntuul Batkhuyag (2412), WGM Baira Kovanova (2406), IM Martha Fierro (2394) and WIM Betul Yildiz (2217), who play for a € 40,000 prize fund.

Rounds 1-5

With 4 out of 4, Georgian GM Nana Dzagnidze had an even better start than Magnus Carlsen in Nanjing. She started off with a nice, positional game against Ju Wenjun in which the players borrowed some ideas from the Benkö/Volga gambit in their Sämisch KID. After easily outplaying the lowest seed, Betul Yildiz, Dzagnidze then beat Zhu Chen in a hypersharp Meran Slav, the line we saw a few times in Kramnik-Anand last year. Grinding down Kovanova with Black until a winning pawn ending meant a fourth consecutive victory, but yesterday things didn't go as smoothly against a well-prepared Marie Sebag.

This 2nd Grand Prix event doesn't have Humpy Koneru, the winner of the first tournament, among its participants, but there are two former World Champions: Xu Yuhua and Zhu Chen. With 3.5/5 and a clear second place Xu Yuhua (China's third World Champion) is doing quite well and with only half a point less we find Zhu Chen on shared third place - she's China's second World Champion after Xie Jun, but playing for Qatar since she got married to Mohamad Al-Modiahki.

Betul Yildiz, Istanbul's nominated player, is much lower rated than the rest of the field and it shows: so far she hasn't been able to collect any (half) points. In Istanbul she eventually scored 2 out of 11, so she still has some work to do if she wants to improve on that one. Top seed Zhao Xue is also underperforming in Nanjing so far, with only a 50% score.

Selection of games rounds 1-5

Game viewer by ChessTempo

2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009 | Round 5 Standings
2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009


The playing hall of the 2nd FIDE Women Grand Prix in Nanjing, China


Leading after five rounds: GM Nana Dzagnidze (GEO, 2536)


Clear second with 3.5/4: GM Xu Yuhua (CHN, 2485)


Shared 3rd-5th: GM Marie Sebag (FRA, 2519)...


...GM Zhu Chen (QAT, 2488)...


...and Ju Wenjun (CHN, 2443)


Shared 6th-8th: IM Lilit Mkrtchian (ARM, 2468)...


...WGM Batkhuyag Munguntuul (MGL, 2412)...


...and GM Zhao Xue (CHN, 2542)


Shared 9th-11th: WGM Shen Yang (CHN, 2453)...


...WGM Baira Kovanova (RUS, 2408)...


...and IM Martha Fierro Baquero (ECU, 2386)


Last place with 0/5: WIM Betul Cemre (TUR, 2224)


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


vooruitgang's picture

Very exciting games...especially the Kovanova - Dzagnidze Sicilian game. I really admire the character of Dzagnidze and fighting spirit displayed in this game (and this tournament). She could have repeated moves but instead kept at it and found a way to win.

This is what chess is about. Thank you Grandmasters Kovanova and Dzagnidze for your brilliance and courage.

Thomas's picture

Does Nana Dzagnidze really like her Chinese shirt? Is she superstitious, "never change a winning outfit"? Or is it compulsory, but only for the tournament leader?

In the first round, but apparently only in the first round all women were dressed accordingly - see group photo and other pictures in the Chessbase report:

vooruitgang's picture

Perhaps the "Big Bad Organizers" aren't as imposing and oppressive as people believe. HAHA! Haute couture controversy! Too funny!

Petr's picture

vooruitgang: Agree with you, the game is great! I have to admit that I would probably repeat move in that position and I admire Dzagnidze's will to win!

Thomas's picture

So GM Dzagnidze is "more Chinese than the Chinese players"? It's of course perfectly fine if she likes her "gift clothes", while ALL the other female players seem less impressed. I just hope (and assume) that the organizers provided her with several shirts, not obliging her to wear the same one every day and to do washing and drying between rounds [or have someone else do it]. :)

As far as Carlsen is concerned, maybe he really means what he says, but maybe he is just polite to the organizers. I find it hard to imagine someone bluntly stating "actually I hate this outfit, but it's part of my contract, so what can I do?". And organizers can impose any rules they want - as I wrote before, players are free to (dis)agree, either signing the contract or refusing to play. But as another example: What if the organizers decided to have the rounds start at midnight local time, which would be more convenient for live coverage in both Europe and North America? Even if players (reluctantly) agree, anyone else would still be free to consider it rather odd. [not completely absurd, as far as I remember some of the competitions at the Beijing Olympiad took place at odd hours to satisfy TV viewers in other places ...]

redpawn's picture

why aren't the Women section all wearing chineese shirts (as the Men's GM section are) ?

rdecredico's picture

A very fine set of photos.

leigh's picture

It is not compulsory for them to dress gift clothes. But many players respect Chinese tradition, respect the organizers. I think this is the reason Chinese would like to invite them. Like GM Nana, she has been playing chess more than one month and 3 tournments in a row in China. She may understand Chinese feeling and try to do something better for local and herself. She plays the Chinese League and many tournments in China. People like her and organizers like to invite her. She is the leader in the GP right now.
Like Carlsen, he said he likes the dress very much. He is also a good pingpong player(very popular sports in China). I saw some pictures he played pingpong with Chinese players, tournment organizers and other players. But for now, Leko is the best pingpong player for sure.

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