FIDE Grand Prix chess players after the third round games explain to the journalists their strategy and answered to the questions.
The game was started with Nimtsovich defense. After the opening the position with a castling on opposite sides appeared. Owing to possession of an open line “g” and active game, White have achieved the won position. However, having gone on tactical actions, they were mistaken in calculations and remained without a material. In the final position - queen-versus-pawn ending - Zhu Chen had chances for the draw but did not used them.
Zhu Chen – Zhao Xue. 0–1
Zhao: Though the opening went well, I did mistakes in the middlegame, and my opponent had advantage and took the initiative. My opponent played very well. I was very lucky, somehow I managed to get some piece. At the end I had a completely winning position, but again I played very bad. Maybe even in the last position White should’ve played 64. Ka8, not Kb8.
Zhu: I do not have anything to say, she said it all.
Q: Why did not you take opponent’s queen in the middlegame after 27.Qc6?
Zhao: I really did not see I had 28…Re8 defence.
Zhu: Also as me.
Sebag Marie – Shen Yang. 1/2-1/2
The game was played in Spanish Opening. White tried to avoid Berlin Variation, 4. d3 does not occur often. Afterwards a game ensued when opponents began to probe each other’s position. After 25 moves equality was established. The two players passed a time control and the game ended in a draw.
Marie: I probably did mistakes, but I do not know where.
Yang: Most of the game it was in equal terms. In the queen-bishop ending we asked the arbiter about a draw but he did not allow it. Maybe we could repeated sometimes, but she played some very strong moves and I was under pressure. In queen ending I lost b7 pawn, probably she could have played Qd5 somewhere. I managed to force perpetual check.
Q: What could you say about opening? Do you usually play this variant?
Marie: It was the first time I played this opening. I wanted to escape Berlin Variation
Yang: Though I decided to prepare well for this game, I did not think that variant would be played.
Q: What do you think about the level of the tournament organization?
Yang: Tournament is very well organized. We can choose our food and choose time for meals. In this tournament the most strong and respected players are participating.
Q: You have played for many years so many games. Did not you get bored of chess?
Yildiz Betul – Koneru Humpy. 1/2–1/2
The game was played in Paulsen variation of Sicilian defense. There was quiet maneuvering in the middle game, while Black overplayed the opponent and received an advantage. Maneuver h5-h4-h3 allow them to weaken the king position. However, accurate defense lead White to the draw.
Yildiz: It was a complicated position in the middlegame. I choose to give to the opponent two-bishop advantage. Queens were changed, and my position became difficult. But I managed to draw, having changed the pieces.
Humpy: I missed many winning chances, I had a clear advantage, taking the pawn on c4. After h3 I was winning some points. Probably I should’ve played 33…Ne5 instead of 33…Rc8. But even later I had better but played very bad.
Hou Yifan – Xu Yuhua. 1–0
Tarrash variation of French defense has developed. Black blundered a tactic and lost a pawn. After some changes were made, an advantage of White became noticeable: two-bishop and extra-pawn.
Yifan: I did not know much about the opening. After Xu made a mistake Qc7, I managed to gain a pawn and in the end I won. As I think, she should have played Qc5.
Xu: Today I did not play well; I made a serious mistake and subsequently lost the game.
Q: What style do you prefer to play?
Yifan: I prefer active play, but both styles are OK.
Xu: First of all, I try to learn about weaknesses of my opponent and use them. Planning the strategy for the game I also rely on my previous experience.
Maia Chiburdanidze – Tatiana Kosintseva. 1/2–1/2
Nimtsovich variation of Queen Gambit was developed. After the opening there was an even, later White pushed e3-e4 and had an advantage. The subsequent inexact play has not allowed them to win the game.
Maia: I did not have any advantage after the opening, however then Tatiana did her best to stand worse. Having played 27.Qf4, I almost lost all chances to win: after 27 … Qf5 28.Re8 a lot of pieces have been exchanged and queen ending has appeared.
Tatiana: After an opening there was approximately an equal position which I played badly. Pawn maneuver a5-a4 is mistaken. In worst position I tried to use every chance.
Tatiana: Yes, I think that 19 … Qg6 was inaccuracy. Though after the capture White also have slight pull.
Q: What do you think of a capture 19 … de after pawn advance 19.e4?
Maia: Yes, there were some chances. Honestly, it’s easy play by White than Black there as well.
Maia: I think the more tournaments the better for us.
Q: What do think about Grand Prix system of qualifying to World championship?
Tatiana: The Grand Prix series obviously is a plus. There are few tournaments for women, so this new system is an extra-opportunity for champion’s title.
Batkhuyag Munguntuul – Stefanova Antoaneta. 0–1
In Spanish Opening White tried to avoid Berlin Variation by rare continuation 6…Kb5. White got nothing in the opening, they would have better refused an exchange of queens. Having two-bishops advantage, Black gradually outplay the opponent.
It was a drawing line in the opening. Usually they play there Qe4 – Qd6, Qd4 – Qd6, Qe4 – Qd6 repetition, but she choose to play Re1, where I got an advantage. Having the two-bishop advantage, rest of game was just a matter of technique.
Munguntuul: I think instead of 20.Kf2 I should have exchanged rooks first.
Q: Munguntuul, why did you choose this variation?
Munguntuul: I did not want to play Berlin variation.
Q: Taking the famous chess players, whose style do you like most?
Antoaneta: I like styles of all famous players. But, perhaps, Kasparov’s style is which I like most. But I am not saying that I play like him.
Munguntuul: Recently I studied style and games of Vassily Smyslov. He is a master of positioning play. His pieces are always positioned in such a harmony, like described in his book “In search of harmony”. I spent much time studying his games.