Barely a year after moving its headquarters back to Lausanne, FIDE is glad to stage a major event in this beautiful city on the shores of the Geneva Lake. The third and penultimate leg of the Women’s Grand Prix 2019-20 could already prove decisive in the fight for one of the two qualifying spots to the next Candidates Tournament. Since each of the sixteen WGP players participate in three of the four tournaments, Lausanne is the last stop for some leading names on the leaderboard. To add some spice in the race, Humpy Koneru, dominator of the Grand Prix so far, does not take part in the third leg. Thus, all eyes will be turned on Ju Wenjun and Aleksandra Goryachkina, who will meet again two months after their fascinating match for the World Championship title. It should be noted, however, that both are pre-qualified for next stages of the cycle and therefore out of contention for the two qualifying places.
For Alexandra Kosteniuk, winner of the Monaco Grand Prix in December, there is a lot at stake. Having scored poorly in the first event, she is doomed to perform well in her last tournament if she intends to qualify. Kosteniuk will certainly be supported in her effort by the home crowd, as she is half-Swiss and regularly plays in the national league.
Harika Dronavalli even has to consider Lausanne as a sort of match point. Anything but sole victory would leave the Indian with barely any chance to qualify. As she recently noted in an interview, she often performs well in top tournaments, but has never won any. Will she make it happen on this crucial occasion?
Pia Cramling also takes part in her third and last Grand Prix, but her chances to qualify for the Candidates Tournament are close to zero. Nevertheless, it is always a pleasure to watch such a champion at the board. One should not forget that the living legend was the number one in the world when none of her opponents was even born!
The Muzychuk sisters are potential winners in any tournament. In view of their average performances in their first GP appearance in Monaco, the pressure on their shoulders certainly grows. Ex-World Champion Mariya is the third seed in Switzerland, just ahead of Anna.
All remaining participants will also take part in both final Grand Prix legs and therefore have theoretical chances to make it to the final 2, if showing great results. With former World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova and talents such as Nana Dzagnidze, Marie Sebag, and Alina Kashlinskaya, everything is possible. It should be added that, due to the recent developments in the coronavirus crisis and the increasing travel restrictions affecting Chinese citizens, Zhao Xue won't be able to play in Lausanne. She will be replaced by another Asian representative, the 20-year-old Kazakhstani Zhansaya Abdumalik (2471). The travel restrictions won't affect the World Champion Ju Wenjun, who left China several weeks ago, before the crisis worsened.
Lausanne does not only stage this top event during those two weeks, as some side activities are on the program as well. Local organizers join forces with FIDE to organize two rapid events on a weekend. The “1st FIDE rapid open of the Olympic Capital” takes place on Saturday, March 7, while a rapid tournament for girls under 18 years old is planned on March 8. Both events are held in the FIDE premises at the “Maison du Sport International”.
Venue: Hôtel Mövenpick, Avenue de Rhodanie 4, 1007 Lausanne.
Official website: https://wgp2019.fide.com
1 March, 17h: Opening ceremony at the Olympic Museum
2 March, 15h: Start of the 1st round
3 to 7 March, 15h: Rounds 2 to 6
8 March: Rest day
9 to 12 March, 15h: Rounds 7 to 10
13 March, 11.30 h: 11st and last round ; 18h Closing ceremony
14 March: departure
Saturday 7 March, 10-18 h: “1er Open FIDE d’échecs rapides de la capitale olympique” at the “Maison du Sport International”; address: 54 Avenue de Rhodanie, 1007 Lausanne.
Sunday 8 March, 10-16h: Rapid chess tournament for girls (under 18 y.o.) at the “Maison du Sport International”; address: 54 Avenue de Rhodanie, 1007 Lausanne.
- Ju Wenjun, China, 29 years old, 2583 Elo
- Aleksandra Goryachkina, Russia, 21 years old, 2579
- Mariya Muzychuk, Ukraine, 27 years old, 2552
- Anna Muzychuk, Ukraine, 30 years old, 2539
- Harika Dronavalli, India, 29 years old, 2518
- Nana Dzagnidze, Georgia, 33 years old, 2515
- Alexandra Kosteniuk, Russia, 36 years old, 2504
- Alina Kashlinskaya, Russia, 26 years old, 2484
- Zhansaya Abdumalik, Kazakhstan, 20 years old, 2471
- Pia Cramling, Sweden, 56 years old, 2470
- Antoaneta Stefanova, Bulgaria, 41 years old, 2469
- Marie Sebag, France, 34 years old, 2443
Grand Prix standings after 2 tournaments
1. Humpy Koneru, India (293 points; 2 events)
2. Aleksandra Goryachkina, Russia (253 points; 2 events)
3. Kateryna Lagno, Russia (180 points; 2 events)
4. Alexandra Kosteniuk, Russia (178 points; 2 events)
5-6. Ju Wenjun, China (120 points; 1 event)
5-6. Harika Dronavalli, India (120 points; 2 events)
7. Elisabeth Paehtz, Germany(95 points; 2 events)
8. Valentina Gunina, Russia (85 points; 2 events)
9. Anna Muzychuk, Ukraine (80 points; 1 event)
10. Pia Cramling, Sweden (70 points; 2 events)
11. Mariya Muzychuk, Ukraine (60 points; 1 event)
12. Alina Kashlinskaya, Russia (45 points; 1 event)
13-14. Nana Dzagnidze, Georgia (35 points; 1 event)
13-14. Zhao Xue, China (35 points; 1 event)
15-16. Antoaneta Stefanova, Bulgaria (25 points; 1 event)
15-16. Marie Sebag, France (25 points; 1 event)
The press officer of the event is Yannick Pelletier.