Women's Candidates, Rounds 7-9: Goryachkina Running Away with the Tournament
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 1:22AM
Dennis Monokroussos in 2019 Women's Candidates, Aleksandra Goryachkina

This has been quite the coming out party for Aleksandra Goryachkina. She wouldn't even be playing if Hou Yifan had accepted her invitation, and now she's crushing the field. With five rounds to go she leads the Women's Candidates tournament by two and a half points. In round 7 she gave up a draw to Mariya Muzychuk, and in rounds 8 and 9 she defeated Alexandra Kosteniuk and Valentina Gunina, respectively. Her score of 7.5/9 gives the 20-year-old a 2804 TPR and puts her at #3 in the women's rating list, behind only the semi-retired Hou and woman's champ Ju Wenjun.

The only other player with so much as a plus score is Kateryna Lagno. She has only drawn her last three games, however - and that with some good fortune in round 9 against Kosteniuk. She is at +1, half a point ahead of the Muzychuk sisters, who seem to be doing everything in tandem. After four rounds they were both -2, but since then they've had the exact same results every round: draws in round 5, wins in round 6, draws in rounds 7 and (with each other) in round 8, and wins in round 9. Goryachkina still has to play her second game with both Lagno and the sisters M, so it's still too soon to hand her the tournament. But just barely.

Nana Dzagnidze had been an early leader, but her tournament seems to have come to an end after she blew a won game against Goryachkina and went on to lose. That would have put her back in first place; instead, she found herself at a brick wall. She drew in round 7 but lost in rounds 8 and 9, and from +3 she's now at -1.

Tuesday is a rest day; here are the games from rounds 7-9 (without notes). And these are the pairings for round 10, on Wednesday:

Kosteniuk (3.5) - Gunina (3.5)
Lagno (5) - Goryachkina (7.5)
A. Muzychuk (4.5) - Tan Zhongyi (3.5)
M. Muzychuk (4.5) - Dzagnidze (4)

Article originally appeared on The Chess Mind (http://www.thechessmind.net/).
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