The symbolic first move of the day was made by Gérald Béroud, Executive Vice-President of the Swiss-Chinese Association. To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between Switzerland and China, the sinologist was naturally asked to execute the starting move for Ju Wenjun. The World Champion indicated 1.d4, the opening which Mr Béroud preferred in his youth, when he used to play chess actively. Despite this lucky hand, Ju Wenjun did not manage to put real pressure on Antoaneta Stefanova’s Grunfeld and even had to find some precise moves to hold a draw.
The first victory in this tournament came from Nana Dzagnidze, who beat newcomer Zhansaya Abdumalik in a mating attack. According to the Georgian, her opponent committed the lethal mistake quite early on. Indeed, 13..a6 allowed Dzagnidze to place her Bishop on the dangerous diagonal b1-h7, which later paved the way for the white Queen to h7.
The other decisive game of this round occurred in the Russian duel between Aleksandra Goryachkina and Alexandra Kosteniuk. The vice-World Champion obtained some pressure from the opening, but things only became clear after Kosteniuk blundered with 23...Rc4. This allowed Goryachkina to exchange the powerful Ne4, after which the black position collapsed.
The remaining encounters all ended in draws. Alina Kashlinskaya did not manage to cause any problems to Mariya Muzychuk. Queens came off early on and the game remained balanced until both players agreed a draw on move 30. Marie Sebag got a definite advantage in her opening against Harika Dronavalli and won a pawn on move 13. Unfortunately for her, the multiple French champion blundered the pawn back with 25.b4, after which the draw was inevitable. The longest game of the day featured a 5-hour battle between Pia Cramling and Anna Muzychuk. The advantage slowly shifted toward the Ukrainian, who won a pawn on move 34. But the Swedish legend defended well by sacrificing a second pawn, in order to secure the draw in an endgame with opposite-coloured Bishops.
Results of round 2:
Alina Kashlinskaya (RUS) – Mariya Muzychuk (UKR) ½ - ½
Pia Cramling (SWE) – Anna Muzychuk (UKR) ½ - ½
Marie Sebag (FRA) – Harika Dronavalli (IND) ½ - ½
Ju Wenjun (CHN) – Antoaneta Stefanova (BLG) ½ - ½
Nana Dzagnidze (GEO) – Zhansaya Abdumalik (KAZ) 1-0
Aleksandra Goryachkina (RUS) – Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS) 1-0
Standings after round 2:
1.-2. Aleksandra Goryachkina (RUS) and Nana Dzagnidze (GEO) 1,5 points
3.-10. Ju Wenjun (CHN), Harika Dronavalli (IND), Antoaneta Stefanova (BLG), Anna Muzychuk (Ukr), Alina Kashlinskaya (RUS), Mariya Muzychuk (UKR), Pia Cramling (SUE) et Marie Sebag (FRA) 1
11.-12. Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS) and Zhansaya Abdumalik (KAZ) 0,5
Program of round 3, 4 March at 3 pm:
Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS) – Alina Kashlinskaya (RUS)
Zhansaya Abdumalik (KAZ) – Aleksandra Goryachkina (RUS)
Antoaneta Stefanova (BLG) – Nana Dzagnidze (GEO)
Harika Dronavalli (IND) – Ju Wenjun (CHN)
Anna Muzychuk (UKR) – Marie Sebag (FRA)
Mariya Muzychuk (UKR) – Pia Cramling (SWE)
All the action can be followed live with commentary by grandmasters Mikhail Gurevich and Keti Tsatsalashvili on the tournament website http://wgp2019.fide.com. Pictures in high resolution are available for the press at our official Flickr account.
Text: Yannick Pelletier
Photos: David Llada