The youngest player of FIDE Women's Candidates, Aleksandra Goryachkina, defeated the 2017 World Champion Tan Zhongyi of China and takes the lead in the tournament. The 20-year old Russian benefited from the good game played by her countrywoman Alexandra Kosteniuk, who put an end to the victorious streak by Nana Dzagnidze: after starting the tournament with one draw and three consecutive victories, the Georgian bit the dust in the fifth round.
Both Anna and Mariya Muzychuk had lost positions at some point against Kateryna Lagno and Valentina Gunina respectively but they managed to get away with a draw.
After five rounds Goryachkina is in the first place with 4/5, Nana Dzagnidze has 3,5/5 and is in the second place. Kateryna Lagno, Tan Zhongyi and Alexandra Kosteniuk share the third with 2,5/5. Valentina Gunina is in the six with 2/5, while Muzychuk sisters share the seventh place with 1,5/5.
Aleksandra Goryachkina seems to be following the "Carlsen's strategy", based on playing and winning equal endgames against her opponents in the Candidates. In today's game, after 25 moves, only pawns and rooks remained on the board and it seemed the players would agree on a draw pretty soon. However, Tan Zhongyi had yet to demonstrate the required accuracy to get a half a point, but didn't okay with the required precision and gave a good chance to her opponent. As in the previous games, Aleksandra was able to convert her small advantage into a full point.
In the Alapin Variation of the Sicilian Defence, Alexandra Kosteniuk didn't get any a perceptible advantage out of the opening. However, she kept on trying to put pressure on her opponent, and Nana collapsed in time trouble. "I had just a normal position, which I spoiled in 2 moves. Why did I go with my Knight to a3? I don't have any explanation," said the Georgian player after the game. "It's a part of the game - to win, to lose, it's ok. I am fine," said Nana.
Valentina Gunina keeps surprising her opponents with her opening choices and didn't make an exception today. She went for the Sicilian with b3 against Mariya Muzychuk and finally got the type of position she likes to play – sharp and complicated. She had her chances in the time trouble but overlooked a forced variation that might have lead to a winning ending.