All four games finished decisively in the sixth round of the FIDE Women's Candidates tournament.
The central game between the leader of the tournament Aleksandra Goryachkina and the nearest rival Nana Dzagnidze finished with the victory of the Russian player. Nana Dzagnidze missed good chances to overtake Goryachkina in the lead. Muzychuk sisters won their first games in the tournament. Anna Muzychuk defeated Valentina Gunina, while Mariya outplayed Alexandra Kosteniuk. Tan Zhongyi lost a second game in a row, this time against Katerina Lagno.
After six rounds, Goryachkina has 5 points, which is 1.5 points more than Dzagnidze and Lagno. Tan Zhongyi, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Mariya Muzychuk and Anna Muzychuk have 2.5 points. Valentina Gunina has 2 points.
Valentina Gunina chose her main weapon- the Caro-Kann against Anna Muzychuk. Black`s long manoeuvre Ne7-Nc8-Nd6 allowed White to obtain a serious initiative on the kingside. After Anna won a pawn and started to push her passed e-pawn, the position became desperate for Black.
Mariya Muzychuk against Alexandra Kosteniuk was a relatively quiet English Opening. According to Alexandra, she got a comfortable position with Black and was playing well until the vital moment in the game, which happened just a few moves before the time control. Mariya came up with an exchange sacrifice and got two strong passed pawns in return, which eventually decided the outcome of the game.
“Sometimes the tournament goes well and sometimes not. It`s hard to predict as it does not depend on preparation or anything that happened before the start,” commented Mariya on her play in the Candidates.
The game between Tan Zhongyi and Katerina Lagno was a real thriller. At first the Chinese player had an advantage due to the better coordination of her pieces but later on, Katerina Lagno managed to come back to the game. The Russian player found nice tactical recourses, which allowed her to get the ending with rook and 3 pawns against two pieces. The Chinese player was close to make a draw after Katerina sacrificed her rook but failed to find the precise moves. The Russian profited from a mistake by her opponent on the move 70 and thus scored an important point.
A roller-coaster game was played between the leader and her closest pursuer. Nana Dzagnidze gained a decisive advantage after a long positional fight but the Russian player put the stubborn defence, trying to create counter chances. Nana Dzagnidze failed to find the precise moves in the critical moment and went for a dubious knight`s sacrifice, which turned out to be on the favour of her opponent. Friday is a rest day. Saturday, June 7th at 15:00 local time the seventh round will be played:
Alexandra Kosteniuk — Anna Muzychuk
Aleksandra Goryachkina— Mariya Muzychuk
Kateryna Lagno — Nana Dzagnidze
Valentina Gunina — Tan Zhongyi
Report by Anastasiya Karlovych
Photos by Eteri Kublashvili and Anastasiya Karlovych