Great day for the white pieces! Sebag, Mkrtchian, Danielian and Munguntuul won against Dzagnidze, Zhu Chen, Fierro and Cramling respectively.
Here are the standings after the 9th round:
1 GM Danielian Elina 2454 ARM 7½
2 GM Sebag Marie 2489 FRA 6½
3 GM Koneru Humpy 2607 IND 6
4 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2550 GEO 5
5 GM Cramling Pia 2516 SWE 4½
6 GM Chiburdanidze M 2502 GEO 4½
7 IM Mkrtchian Lilit 2475 ARM 4
8 IM Fierro Baquero M 2363 ECU 4
9 IM Munguntuul Batkh 2410 MGL 3½
10 GM Xu Yuhua 2484 CHN 3
11 GM Stefanova Antoa 2546 BUL 3
12 11 GM Zhu Chen 2495 QAT 2½
Sebag-Dzagnidze. It was a Spanish with rare 3…g6 move, white got a very good center and development and started a nice attack with 14.Ng5! which concluded on move 30.
Mrtchian-Zhu Chen. A King’s Indian with 6.h3 in which Black got a good position out of the opening and should have continued 16.a4 to block any possibility for white to play on the queenside. The position was around equal until white got the chance to play 35.Ng4. 34…Kg7 was keeping the equal position.
Danielian-Fierro. 12…Be6 was strange as it gave white the B pair without much compensation. Instead 12…Rd8 looked normal. 15.f4 was a lot more active than Be3 as Black N would have been then pushed back. 15…d5 was a good idea as the white K sits on g2 instead of the B 🙂 17…Nc6 is a good idea, to transfer the N to d4 if it gets the chance. 25.Nc5 would have won the d6-pawn and ruin the pawn structure.
Munguntuul-Cramling. A Scheveningen which is a rare guest in Grandmaster games nowdays. White chose an agressive line with 13.g4, played by Alekseev, Kasimdzhanov, Tiviakov and in the past by Spassky, Anand, Balashov, Adorjan, etc. On move 14, instead of the usual 14.g4, white played 14.Bg2 which was played only once in 2010. 20.f5 was a very strong move after which white has a much better position and an attack. 22.gxh6 was stronger than the text move. 24…Nh7 was a mistake, 24…e5 would protect the N on g4 and block any ideas of white playing …e4-e5 herself.
GM Dzagnidze Nana 2550 – GM Zhu Chen 2495
GM Koneru Humpy 2607 – IM Mkrtchian Lilit 2475
IM Fierro Baquero Martha L 2363 – GM Xu Yuhua 2484
GM Cramling Pia 2516 – GM Danielian Elina 2454
GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2546 – IM Munguntuul Batkhuyag 2410
GM Sebag Marie 2489 – GM Chiburdanidze Maia 2502