Goryachkina, undefeated, maintains her advantage in Kazan

Anna Muzychuk was not able to stop Aleksandra Goryachkina in the eleventh round of the Women's Candidates. The sole leader of the tournament made a comfortable draw and is still 2,5 points ahead of the nearest pursuer. Kateryna Lagno drew against Mariya Muzychuk and remains in the second place. The derby between two former World Women's Champions Tan Zhongyi and Alexandra Kosteniuk ended with a victory of the Chinese player. The Women's Candidates is a roller-coaster for Tan Zhongyi who collected 4 losses, 3 wins and 4 draws so far. After 106 moves and more than 5 hours of play, Valentina Gunina grabbed the victory.

After 11 rounds Goryachkina leads with 8,5 points, Kateryna Lagno is in second place with 6 points, Mariya and Anna Muzychuk share third place with 5,5 points. Tan Zhongyi is in fifth place with 5 points. Valentina Gunina, Alexandra Kosteniuk, and Nana Dzagnidze have 4,5 points.

The Grunfeld Defence with g3 was played in the game Aleksandra Goryachkina vs Anna Muzychuk. It seems neither player wanted to take too many risks and as a result, the game petered out to a balanced position. White managed to get a very solid position with a small edge. The leader of the tournament didn't see any direct way to improve her position significantly and chose to make a comfortable draw. Three rounds to go Goryachkina needs to gain only half a point to become the winner of the tournament.

The Sveshnikov Variation of the Sicilian Defence appeared in Lagno`s practice for the first time and according to Katerina, it went pretty good for her. "It was an interesting game and my opponent defended well. Maybe I could have played better somewhere but after 29.Bh6 it should be just equal," commented the Russian player. Mariya was not sure when her preparation stopped and even though she spent a lot of time in the middle game, she didn't feel Black was at any danger after 23.a5. The players signed the peace after the first time control.

The Nimzovich Defence happened in the game Tan Zhongyi vs Alexandra Kosteniuk. The critical moment appeared after 14.e5.
Alexandra relatively quickly answered 14…g6, which turned out to be a fatal mistake for Black. The Russian player didn`t like her position after 14…Nce5 15.Bh7 Kh8 16. Ne5 Ne5 17.Re3 but it looks like Black was doing fine after 17…Nf3! 18.gf f5!
20.Be8! A very strong move, found by Tan Zhongyi. Bishop is untouchable because of 21. Qd7. The position of Black became hopeless and a few moves later Alexandra resigned.

One of the variations of the English Opening, which later on was transferred into Queen's Indian Defence, was played in the game Valentina Gunina against Nana Dzagnidze. The longest game of the round was a great fight, in which both players were choosing the most principal lines. An exceptionally double-edged struggle continued in a very complex ending, and Dzagnidze was the last to make a mistake.

Friday, June 14th, at 15:00 local time, the twelfth round will be played with the following pairings:

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

Report by Anastasiya Karlovich
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