Women's Candidates, Round 12: Goryachkina Wins With Two Rounds to Spare
Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 12:25AM
Dennis Monokroussos in 2019 Women's Candidates, Aleksandra Goryachkina

It has been clear for a while that Aleksandra Goryachkina was going to win the Women's Candidates tournament, and now it's official. (Or at least unofficially official.) She drew with Tan Zhongyi, while Kateryna Lagno lost to Anna Muzychuk, and that means that she leads the tournament by two and a half points with two rounds to go. There have been a variety of experimental scoring systems, as in the Norway Chess tournament, but here with a maximum of one point available per person per round, the job is done. (Unless Goryachkina somehow gets herself disqualified, I guess.)

Goryachkina did experience some difficulties in her game. She was under pressure for a long time, but eventually escaped. More than that, by the very end she was winning, but with no motivation to find the win and with a perpetual check in hand that clinched clear first, she went for the draw. As for Lagno, she was in trouble from the start. Anna Muzychuk played well and crushed her, and thereby overtook Lagno to take clear second for herself.

For almost the entire tournament Mariya Muzychuk's results mirrored her sister's, and it was almost so this time as well. She was winning against Valentina Gunina, but proving it would have required some deep tactics. Missing her chance, she made a further error a couple of moves later, and eventually lost in a long ending. Finally, Nana Dzagnidze at long last put an end to her terrible string of bad results and won a nice game against Alexandra Kosteniuk.

The games, all with some comments, are here. The pairings for round 13 - on Sunday - are as follows:

Gunina (5.5) - A. Muzychuk (6.5)
Kosteniuk (4.5) - M. Muzychuk (5.5)
Goryachkina (9) - Dzagnidze (5.5)
Lagno (6) - Tan Zhongyi (5.5)

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