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Round 11: Humpy Koneru Wins İstanbul Grand Prix
Thursday, 19 March 2009
In the last round of İstanbul Women Grand Prix, Humpy Koneru won against Marie Sebag while Hou Yifan faltered against Shen Yang. Elina Danielian scored an important victory and outplayed Xue Zhao to take the second spot. Martha Fierro won against Maia Chiburdanidze while Pia Cramling closed the tournament with a win against Antoaneta Stefanova. Zeinab Mamedyarova and Betül Cemre Yıldız drew.

The leader changed for the third time and Humpy Koneru won İş Bank Atatürk FIDE Women Grand Prix with 8.5 out of 11. Elina Danielian took the second place with better tie-break having 8 points while Hou Yifan took the third place.

Detailed last round report below.
picture18.jpgThe crucial game of the round and actually the decisive game of the tournament was Marie Sebag-Humpy Koneru won by the Indian grandmaster. Black's choice was the less popular option of 9...a5 against the closed Ruy Lopez, which has some drawbacks but also have its own subtleties. Black equalized rather comfortably after the opening. White seemed to have better pawn formation and play on king side while black chose to seek her chances on the kingside. White eased black's intentions by playing Nd5 and black immediately exploitated the grave mistake and won swiftly.

White took over the initiative and utilized tactics from early on in Elina Danielian-Xue Zhao and the Armenian international master won rather easily against the Chinese player who has been one of the top performers until the last two rounds. The game was also crucial in terms of determining the top spots and Danielian took the second place by having better tie break against Hou Yifan. She also scored her second GM norm with a performance of 2658-norm performance-.


In Shen Yang-Hou Yifan, black chose a dynamic variation of Nimzo Indian which is occasionally played at top level intending to win and ensure the shared first place. However, white had somewhat better chances in the endgame which were eventually neutralized by the younger Chinese player and the game ended as a draw, which was only enough for Hou Yifan to share the second place but third because of having worse tie break.


Martha Fierro won against Maia Chiburdanidze with black pieces in Benko Gambit where black equalized after the opening. White's intention of exchanging queens with Ne4 allowed black to enter a much favorable endgame and the Ecuadorian IM converted and finished the first edition of GP with a win.


Zeinab Mamedyarova employed Colle System against Betül Cemre Yıldız and achieved a better position after the opening. White managed to win a pawn and close to win but with an open position on board and both sides having a queen and a rook meant the first side to create threats would take over. Black managed to create tactical problems for white which are particularly difficult to cope in time trouble and able to save the game.


The latest finishing game of the round was between Antoaneta Stefanova and Pia Cramling. The game was a very sharp and exciting one where black sacrificed an exchange sacrifice at move 22. Another remarkable feature of the game was that neither side castled but white king became much less safer and black collected some pawns against the exchange, therefore these two factors were enough for black to win.

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