Xu Yuhua wins Nanjing GP tournament
Nana Dzagnidze was leading the standings for most of the tournament, but in the final phase she was caught by Xu Yuhua. The former World Champion from China won the 2nd FIDE Women Grand Prix with a score of 8/11 and a 2619 performance rating. Dzagnide came second, half a point behind the winner and half a point ahead of Zhao Xue.
The 2nd tournament in the FIDE Women Grand Prix Series took place September 27 – October 9 in Nanjing, China. It was 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 played for a € 40,000 prize fund.
We left the tournament after the 5th round, when Georgian GM Nana Dzagnidze had just lost her first game to Marie Sebag, but was still leading the standings. She recovered well after the rest day and beat the eventual winner Xu Yuhua in a Sicilian slugfest.
After the 8th round the tournament suddenly had a new leader: French GM Marie Sebag. Dzagnidze had lost to Shen Yang in round 7 and drawn with Mkrtchian the next day, while Sebag had won five games in a row, against Munguntuul, Dzagnidze, Ju Wenjun, Yildiz and Zhu Chen. However, the Française lost her subsequent Black games against Kovanova and Zhao Xue.
At 2.00am in the morning of the 9th round, WGM Batkhuyag Munguntuul from Mongolia "was not feeling very well," as the official site reports, "and asked for the hotel doctor. She was diagnosed with chickenpox and immediately Chief Arbiter Ignatius Leong was informed. After a long discussion and consultation with organisers, players and arbiters, it was agreed that Munguntuul would be isolated in a special room which was set up by the Nanjing organisers at record speed. All remaining players also sportingly agreed that they had no objection with playing her under these conditions."
WGM Batkhuyag Munguntuul playing with her mouth and nose covered
In these conditions Munguntuul managed to draw with both Zhao Xue and Dzagnidze before losing to Ju Wenjun in the last round. Because Dzagnidze had never been exposed to chickenpox before, her game with Munguntuul in round 10 was played with each player having an arbiter facing them and a third arbiter relaying the moves. Additionally, Dzagnidze was given an additional time increment as the live clock was kept on her table.
Eventually it was China’s third World Champion (after Zhu Chen and Xie Jun) who emerged on top in round 10. Interestingly, the top 4 played each other in the last round, but both games Sebag-Xu Yuhua and Dzagnidze-Zhao Xue ended in a draw. Xu Yuhua thus won the 2nd FIDE Grand Prix with a score of 8/11 and a 2619 performance rating. She had started with 3.5/4, then lost two games and finished with 4.5/5!
Selection of games rounds 6-11
Game viewer by ChessTempo
The beautiful playing hall of the Women Grand Prix
A very unfortunate tournament: WIM Betul Cemre Yildiz (TUR, 2224) ending on 1/11 (performance 2084)
IM Martha Fierro Baquero (ECU, 2386), 11th with 2/11
GM Zhu Chen (QAT, 2488), 10th with 4.5/11
WGM Baira Kovanova (RUS, 2408), 9th with 5/11
WGM Batkhuyag Munguntuul before she got ill (MGL, 2418), 8th with 5.5/11
WGM Shen Yang (CHN, 2453), 7th with 6/11
Super-talent Ju Wenjun (CHN, 2443), shared 4th-6th with 6.5/11
IM Lilit Mkrtchian (ARM, 2468), shared 4th-6th with 6.5/11
GM Marie Sebag (FRA, 2519), shared 4th-6th with 6.5/11
GM Zhao Xue (CHN, 2542), 3rd with 7/11
GM Nana Dzagnidze (GEO, 2535), 2nd with 7.5/11
GM Xu Yuhua (CHN, 2485), 1st with 8/11
The winner giving a speech after receiving a cheque of € 6,500
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