TOP 10: We have a winner

One round before the end Marsel Efroimski has won the tournament. With 6,5 out of 8 she is 1,5 points ahead of Alicja Sliwicka who is in sole second place. Tomorrow the last round starts at 10.30!

In a Scotch Four Knights Petra Papp and Laura Unuk were following the game between Alicja and Marta from round 4. With 11.dxc6 Petra deviated from that game, but there were still plenty of GM-examples. The game remained equal and a draw was agreed on move 42.

In a closed type of Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5) Trisha as Black was soon doing OK against Alicja. Two mistakes in the middlegame altered that verdict. First 24…Rdf7 was a mistake as after 25.f3 the natural retreat of the Black queen was cut off. Therefore 24…Qh5 was good when the engine even has a slight preference for Black. 25…Be6? was a much bigger mistake, though. It turns out that the Black queen is trapped after 26.Rf2 Qd3 27.Rd2 Qf5 28.Ne3. Trisha tried something else to no avail.

With 5.Bf4 Anastasia played an interesting sideline against Robin’s Taimanov Sicilian. In a position with opposite-coloured bishops chances were even until Robin made a few mistakes. Soon Anastasia developed a real initiative. Just when she could wrap things up with 29.Rxd6 e5 30.Rxh6+ and White gets too much for the exchange, she faltered with 29.Qxd6 Qxc4 and now the worst was over for Robin. A draw on move 41 was agreed.

In an Alapin Sicilian Josefine could gave obtained a pleasant edge against Machteld with 10.Nbxd4. Instead she went for the more ambitious 10.cxd4 in view of Black’s somewhat odd piece placement. Machteld managed to coordinate her pieces in exemplary fashion and the game was soon dynamically even. After the forcing (and correct) 19.g4! Qxh3 20.Ng5 Qh4 the game could have ended in a draw after 21.Bxh7+ Kh8 22.Kg2 Bc6+ 23.f3 Qxg4+ 24.Kf2 Qh4+ 25.Kg2 with a perpetual. The winning attempt 21.Kg2? Nxe4 22.Rh1 failed to 22…Nxc3 and 23…Bc6+. Now Black was winning until a major hiccup on move 36 which lost Machteld her extra piece. She had to start all over but following 44.d5? she won in the end.

In a French Defense Marta as White held the better chances for most of the game against Marsel. Winning would have been 35.h4 trapping the Black rook. In the game White also won the exchange but things were less obvious now. A safe edge was 39.Rxe6 Bxb2 which leads to an ending where Black has drawing chances but White is playing for sure. More or less essential was 46.Kf1, whilst the game continuation 46.Kg2 led his majesty on a false trail. White could have retraced her steps with 48.Kf1 (when a draw was still within reach). Instead 48.Kg3 lost to 48…g5! completely cutting off the king. Marsel grabbed her chance an exchange down and won the game.

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