Grandmaster Koneru Humpy bagged a silver medal at the Women’s FIDE Grand Prix at the Yacht Club de Monaco. Humpy was, as usual, clinical but a bit unlucky not to pluck the gold. Aleksandra Kosteniuk was crowned the winner and walked away with the gold medal.
The bronze medallist Aleksandra Goryachkina took over the lead in the last round with a full-point advantage over Humpy and Kosteniuk. Humpy soon grabbed her chance and played with the white pieces. Koneru uncorked a fine opening idea against the Semi-Slav opening, much to the utter surprise of Goryachkina. She could not sacrifice a pawn, and the Indian made the most of her frayed nerves who could play defence with opposite-coloured bishops. Koneru continued to assert her supremacy, displaying swagger and confidence as Goryachkina looked out of sorts. Perhaps, the presence of heavy pieces made her task too arduous, and Koneru clinched a neat technical game.
Had Kosteniuk not won her encounter with Germany’s Elisabeth Paehtz, Koneru could have taken home the trophy. But the former World Champion came up with a fine performance to prevail over Paehtz. Both Koneru and Goryachkina had been taking turns to maintain the unassailable leads in the event, but the trophy eventually went to Kosteniuk because of the better tiebreak – direct encounter, followed by the number of wins.
With Kosteniuk winning the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in Monaco, the Grand Prix points and the prize money are shared among all the three players. Humpy Koneru still remains in the lead of the Grand Prix race, ahead of Russian Aleksandra Goryachkina. The next stage of the Women’s FIDE Grand Prix will be held in Lausanne between March 1 and 14 next year.
Results of Round 11
Humpy Koneru (Ind) – Aleksandra Goryachkina (Rus): 1-0
Alexandra Kosteniuk (Rus) – Elisabeth Paehtz (Ger): 1-0
Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr) – Nana Dzagnidze (Geo): ½-½
Zhao Xue (China) – Harika Dronavalli (Ind): 1-0
Kateryna Lagno (Rus) – Pia Cramling (Swe): 1-0
Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) – Valentina Gunina (Rus): ½-½