Humpy Koneru beats the leader Aleksandra Goryachkina in the top of the table game, but the result allowed Alexandra Kosteniuk to sneak pass both grandmasters to clinch the crown.
Kosteniuk defeated Elisabeth Paehtz to seal the Women’s FIDE Grand Prix Monaco crown. But Humpy maintains her lead atop the series leaderboard.
The last day of competition witnessed a scenario worthy of the most exciting Hitchcock movies. Aleksandra Goryachkina went into the last round with a full-point advantage over Humpy Koneru and Alexandra Kosteniuk.
However, the Indian had her fate in her hands, as she played against the leader with the white pieces. Koneru uncorked a fine opening idea against the Semi-Slav opening, which took Goryachkina by surprise. The Russian did not react precisely by sacrificing a pawn, as her only prospect was a difficult defence with opposite-coloured Bishops.
The presence of heavy pieces made her task too arduous, and Koneru won a neat technical game. As a matter of fact, the Indian would have earned the trophy if Kosteniuk did not win her encounter with Paehtz.
But the former World Champion produced a very good game and won convincingly. Koneru and Goryachkina had been leaders of the event in turn, but the trophy eventually went to Kosteniuk thanks to the better tiebreak – direct encounter, followed by the number of wins.
The Russian had an incredibly successful stay in Monaco, as FIDE Vice-President Lukasz Turlej pointed out in his speech at the closing ceremony: “Alexandra Kosteniuk took it all! She brings home from Monaco the title of the Women’s Grand Prix, as well as both titles of European Rapid and Blitz Champion”.
In a final interview, the Monaco winner said: “After my ups and downs in the first half of the tournament, I had never expected to even be able to fight for first place. Only before the last round did I realize that I still had a small chance”.
While Kosteniuk takes home the trophy, Grand Prix points and the winners prize money were shared among the three players. Thus, Humpy remains in the lead of the Grand Prix race, ahead of Goryachkina.
Kateryna Lagno finishes fourth in Monaco thanks to a last-round victory against Pia Cramling, whereas Anna Muzychuk take the fifth place with a draw against tail-ender Valentina Gunina.
The next stage of the Women’s FIDE Grand Prix will take place in Lausanne between March 1st and 14th 2020.
Results of round 11:
Humpy Koneru (Ind) – Aleksandra Goryachkina (Rus): 1-0
Alexandra Kosteniuk (Rus) – Elisabeth Paehtz (Ger): 1-0
Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr) – Nana Dzagnidze (Geo): ½-½
Zhao Xue (China) – Harika Dronavalli (Ind): 1-0
Kateryna Lagno (Rus) – Pia Cramling (Swe): 1-0
Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) – Valentina Gunina (Rus): ½-½
1-3. Alexandra Kosteniuk (Rus), Humpy Koneru (Ind) et Aleksandra Goryachkina (Rus) – 7 points
4. Kateryna Lagno (Rus) – 6½
5. Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) – 6
6-8. Harika Dronavalli (Ind), Pia Cramling (Swe) et Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr) – 5½
9-10. Zhao Xue (China) et Nana Dzagnidze (Geo) – 5
11. Elisabeth Paehtz (Ger) – 4
12. Valentina Gunina (Rus) – 2