Russia WGM Girya Olga’s strategy of aggression with caution continued to work well as she inched closer to the title with seven points from nine rounds in the AICF-KIIT Cup Category-13 International Women Chess Tournament at KIIT University campus here on Sunday.
The strategy adopted by Olga has been plain and simple — go for win against lower-rated opponents and ensure draw against higher-rated foes. In the ninth round, she played safe against Armenia’s Elina Danielina, the only Grandmaster in the 12-player tournament, to settle with an honourable draw. With two rounds to go, Olga is on course for the crown having one point lead over her nearest competitor Mkrtchian Lilit, who also drew her ninth game against Indian IM Eesha Karavade. German IM Elisabeth Paehtz, the top seed, Chinese WGM Guo Qi and local favourite Padmin Rout shared the third place with five points each. While Paehtz beat Indian WGM Mary Ann Gomes, Odisha WGM Rout went down to Qi to suffer her second defeat in the 11-round all-play-all tournament.
The crucial encounter between the Elina and Olga started with the exchange variation of Slav defense. Olga’s 24.Ke8 gave white an alarming advantage, which was thrown away by Elina by exchange of queens on the 28th move. An active endgame play by Olga saved the day and both played till the King’s were left alone in 70 moves.
RESULTS (Round 9): Giriya Olga (Rus, 7) drew with Elina Danielina (Arm, 4.5), Mkrtchian Lilit (Arm, 6) drew with Eesha Karavade (Ind, 4), Guo Qi (Chn, 5) beat Padmini Rout (Ind, 5), Elisabeth Paehtz (Ger, 5) beat Mary Ann Gomes (Ind, 4), F Cristina-Adela (Rou, 4.5) drew with Kiran Manisha Mohanty (Ind, 2.5), Swathi Ghate (Ind, 3.5) drew with N Mohota (Ind, 3).