Lei’s first move hardly surprised anyone as she has always played 1.d4 for the whole event, and this last game was no exception. The exchange Grunfeld was tested again, but this time White played 7.Qa4+ to deviate from the previous game. At the post-mortem analysis, Lei said that she knew 11…Bg4 was an inaccuracy, and Black had to exchange Queens to hold in the endgame.
Lei thought she was better after 19.Re4 since she had a space advantage and the bishop pair. Engines find the position still holdable for Black but very difficult to play.
And indeed, Anna missed the idea of 19…Nc8 followed by 20…Qe5 and 21…Nd6 and after 19…Rfc8 20.Bg4 Rd8 21.c4 found herself in dire straits.
Lei got a considerable advantage, won some material a few moves down the road and very convincingly converted it in the endgame afterwards.
Final position. One of White’s passers inevitably promotes 1-0
Huge congratulations to Lei Tingjie, who showed a very high level of play, eliminating both Muzychuk sisters with two wins with the White pieces in the classical segments.
There is still a lot of chess to be played as the Pool B of the FIDE Women’s Candidates is not far away. The event will take place in Uzbekistan from the 28th of November to the 11th of December. See you there to meet Lei’s opponent for the finals then!
Text: WGM Andreea Navrotescu
Photo: Michał Walusza