Nana Dzagnidze emerges as the first sole leader in Kazan

Nana Dzagnidze defeated Valentina Gunina in the fourth round of the FIDE Women's Candidates tournament, while Aleksandra Goryachkina, who was co-leader before this round, made a draw against Anna Muzychuk. The victory allowed the Georgian player to grab the sole lead in the tournament with 3,5/4. Aleksandra Goryachkina is following her with 3/4. Tan Zhongyi drew against Alexandra Kosteniuk and kept the third place in the tournament with 2,5/4. After an unpleasant loss in the round three, Katerina Lagno managed to win the first game in the Candidates against Maria Muzychuk and as a result appeared on the fourth place with 2/4. Valentina Gunina and Alexandra Kosteniuk share 5th place, while Muzychuk sisters are having difficult tournament so far and share the 7th place after round 4.

Round 4 results:

Nana Dzagnidze — Valentina Gunina | 1 — 0
Alexandra Kosteniuk — Tan Zhongyi | ½ — ½
Anna Muzychuk — Aleksandra Goryachkina | ½ — ½
Mariya Muzychuk — Kateryna Lagno | 0 — 1
After enjoying their first rest day, the eight women's top players came back recharged to the playing venue for the fourth round of the FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament. In the commentary room, Evgeniy Miroshnichenko and Elisabeth Paetz keep on analyzing the games of the players, and online spectators can follow the games while watching and listening to live commentary simultaneously. In a pavilion outside the playing hall, on the walking Baumana street, Russian commentators Sergey Shipov and Ilya Smirin work in front of the public. It's a very popular spot, and some visit it by chance and stay, captivated.

Nana Dzagnidze was surprised to see the French defence on the board today, therefore Georgian player went for the exchange variation. "Everybody knows Valentina's style, so I am not the only one who tries to play calm lines against her," – commented Nana on her opening choice. Valentina Gunina was in an aggressive mood and burned the bridges looking for a fight no matter what. But Nana played with precision and didn't give any chance to her.
The Two Knights Defense appeared in the game between Mariya Muzychuk and Katerina Lagno, and the Russian player went for an exchange sacrifice ruining the pawn structure of White on the King's side. Mariya could have kept an extra material but didn't like her position after possible 16. Re1. After the material balance was restored, it turned out Katerina's pieces were placed more active. With convincing play, she increased her advantage and transferred the game into a winning ending. Mariya could have put up more resistance by keeping the rooks on the board, but failed to choose a better option in time trouble.

Anna Muzychuk, who is failing to find her best play so far, came ready to fight against Alexandra Goryachkina. With the white pieces, Anna came across a nice opportunity to fight for the initiative after 14.Ng5. According to Muzychuk, she missed 14…Bg4, a move that ruined all hopes to get an edge for White. Later on, Aleksandra got an extra pawn, but Anna had enough compensation thanks to her active pieces. The game ended up in a draw after 37 moves.
The critical moment in the game between two women's ex-world champions arose right after the opening when Alexandra chose to play 19.f5. "I think I was pressing a bit, but somehow I rushed to play f5. It looked all nice in other lines except 19…Bg5, which I underestimated. So probably I should have improved my position before going to some direct attack," said Kosteniuk in the post-game interview. After several forced exchanges, the game reached a balanced endgame with rooks and opposite-colour bishops. None of the players had real chances for more than a draw and the peace was signed after 39 moves.
The fifth round will be played on June 5th, at 15:00 local time, with the following pairings:

Valentina Gunina — Mariya Muzychuk
Aleksandra Goryachkina — Tan Zhongyi
Alexandra Kosteniuk — Nana Dzagnidze
Kateryna Lagno — Anna Muzychuk

Report by Anastasiya Karlovych
Photos: Eteri Kublashvili & Anastasya Karlovich

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