Round 2 Report
Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The gloves came off in the second round and after three wins in the first round we saw four decisive games yesterday. Even the draws went the full length and all possibilities were exhausted before they were accepted by the Chief Arbiter, IA Ignatius Leong.

In the first game to finish, former World Champion Zhu Chen carried out a sparkling attack against WGM Muungutuul from Mongolia. She launched her attack in a QGD Meran with 14.Ne5 and soon uncorked a decisve manouevre with 19.Bxh6 destroying black's defences. Black put up the best defence, given the circumstances, but the position was too far gone and finally WGM Muungutuul lost on time.

Just a few minutes after, number one seed GM Zhao Xue lost to Ju Wenjun. It was a no holds barred contest in a Grunfeld where Zhao followed a line normally played by compatriot super-GM Wang Yue. Black held her own quite well and was slightly better. Maybe White's best chance to equalize was 25.Bh5 but the position was quite dynamic and possibly Zhao Xue was looking for more. Eventually, the clock kicked in here and when white overstepped the time limit, her position was quite lost.

Kovanova - Fierro was a dour Philidor's defence. Both sides played very solid and there was very little opportunity for anyone to exploit the position. The inititie just swung from one side to another for a few moves but there was never anything serious for anyone to hope for more than half a point.

Games seem to end in twos, as immediately after the above draw, GM Sebag and IM Mkrtchian repeated position in a sterile position to share the point also. The game was more interesting however, and from an Advance Caro-Kann, black had some initiative. After an inaccuracy on white's 17th black had a good chance to go for more with 18...Qc4! After the exchange of queens, and some more pieces shortly after, there was little hope for any side to make progress.

Local favourite Shen Yang held former World Champion, GM Xu Yuhua comfortably for most of the game and it is difficult to find exactly where black went wrong. In an interesting Ruy Lopez, Xu kept on putting pressure for all the game and eventually Shen Yang's position got worse. Maybe the best  chances she had had for a good game were around the 24-25th move. After this the white knight controlled the position and eventually was the determining piece in the game.

GM Dzagnidze slowly out manouevered her opponent. She now leads the tournament with 2/2. Her opponent from Turkey, Betul Cemre Yildiz had a slight advantage but the experience of the Georgian GM came through in a Modern defence, and she slowly moved the trend line from a slight disadvantage to a big advantage. The critical square in the game was d4 as both sides attempted to control it and black finally dominating. GM Dzagnidze has shown in both games so far that she prefers to strangle her opponents slowly, rather than go for the jugular and this has proved uqite effective.

The games and analysis can be found here.

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