The fight for the second place continues in the Women's Candidates

Aleksandra Goryachkina, who became the winner of the Women`s Candidates two rounds to spare, made a quick draw against Nana Dzagnidze in the thirteenth round. The fight for the second place continues and Anna Muzychuk increased her lead to one point by defeating Valentina Gunina. Her nearest pursuer Kateryna Lagno held to a draw against Tan Zhongyi. Alexandra Kosteniuk, who lost the two previous games, managed to pull herself together during the free day and outplayed Mariya Muzychuk.

After 13 rounds Aleksandra Goryachkina leads with 9,5 points, Anna Muzychuk is in the second place with 7,5 points. Kateryna Lagno is in the third place one point behind of Anna. Nana Dzagnidze and Tan Zhongyi share the fourth place with 6 points. Mariya Muzychuk, Valentina Gunina and Alexandra Kosteniuk have 5,5 points.

Aleksandra Goryachkina and Nana Dzagnidze finished their game in less than an hour. According to the winner of tournament, she was not ready for the Benoni Defence today and could not get any advantage with White. "It was not my best game, maybe I should not have celebrated yesterday,"- commented Aleksandra after her draw with Nana Dzagnidze. "People wrote to me, two rounds to go, don't get relaxed. But it's not easy to find motivation when the goal is reached," added the finalist of the Women`s World Championship Match.

Kateryna Lagno spent a lot of time in the opening trying to get some playable position in the symmetrical structure, which appeared after the Berlin Defence. According to Kateryna, she was a bit optimistic to play 23.b4 and after 23…Qh4 thought her position was already dangerous. Tan Zhongyi could have put more pressure on her opponent closer to the first time control but with 50 minutes on her clock and with a better position, she didn't play precisely, and the advantage slipped away.

It seems the outcome of the game Gunina-Muzychuk was decided after the fight in the opening. A sharp line with 4.Ng5 of the Two Knights Defence was played in the encounter and, as Anna explained in the post-game interview, she was expecting this variation. It`s not clear what exactly Gunina was opting for as after the Queen`s exchange, Black got two pieces vs rook and pawn. Valentina missed an opportunity to open files for her rooks after possible 15.h5 and could not manage to get extra space for her pieces later in the game. Despite the fact, the game lasted more than 5 hours, the outcome was never in doubt.

The Alapin Variantion of the Sicilian Defence appeared in the game between Alexandra Kosteniuk and Mariya Muzychuk. One of the critical moments happened just before the first time control when both players had to make their decisions playing in the time trouble.
White decided to "forget" about the rook, hoping to create a dangerous attack on the Black`s King. After 34.Qd7 Qd1 35.Kh2 Mariya didn't find the maneuver 36…Qh5 and Qe8.
Two moves later Mariya blundered a tactical blow 38. Nc5!, which finished the game.

Monday, June 17th, at 15:00 local time, the last round will be played with the following pairings:

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

Anna Muzychuk needs to make a draw against Alexandra Kosteniuk to win the silver medal in the Candidates tournament. The prize fund in the tournament is 200,000 Euro. 1st place: 50,000, 2nd place: 40,000, 3rd place: 30,000, 4th place: 25,000, 5th place: 20,000, 6th place: 15,000, 7th place: 12,000, 8th place: 8,000. According to the Regulations, all prize money is divided equally where players have the same score in the tournament.

The report by Anastasiya Karlovich
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