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Round 10: Fight For the Top Reinstalled
Thursday, 19 March 2009
With one round to go, the tournament reached its climax not only because of being close to the end but also because of the increasing excitement for the struggle for the top. Marie Sebag won against Xue Zhao while Hou Yifan drew with Elina Danielian. Koneru Humpy had already won against the ex-world champion Antoaneta Stefanova. This means there is a three way tie of Xue Zhao, Hou Yifan and Antoaneta Stefanova, followed by Elina Danialien who is in half point rage.

The most influential of game of the tenth round was played between Zhao Xue and Marie Sebag. The French player scored a crucial win making the fight for the top completely unclear. In the fashionable variation of Moscow, after some tactical operations black emerged a pawn up. The Chinese grandmaster did not want to go down quickly but fought in a lost position in the rest of the game and lost. Sebag scored 3,5 points out of 4 rounds and after 2,5/6 it should be considered quite a comeback.

,Hou Yifan-Elina Danielian was a draw after a long fight where the Chinese youngster survived since black had the better prospects with even an extra pawn for some time. However playing Re5 and allowing the white bishop to force an undesirable forced exchange with Be7 was not the best scenario for black. The survival of the Chinese player kept her in the fight for the first place since she is sharing the lead with Xue Zhao and Koneru.


Humpy Koneru was the quickest of all leaders to win since Antoaneta Stefanova blundered with Nd5 allowing white to win an exchange decisively. The disaster for the Bulgarian grandmaster allowed world no.2 to join the leading position before the last round.


The Turkish player, Betül Cemre Yıldız faced the vastly experineced Maia Chiburdanidze and her optimism was refuted by calm and comfortable tactics of the living legend.


Martha Fierro broke the spell and won a strategical game against Shen Yang. Black's temporary pawn sacrifice did not yield an initiative for her and white finished the game with tactics thanks to the domination of light squares.

Pia Cramling-Zeinab Mamedyarova ended as a draw where white seemed to have some advantage but black was able to neutralize the position and hold eventually.

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