When we last visited the FIDE Women’s Grand-Prix, after the first rest day, Russia’s Natalia Pogonina, was leading the event with 3½/4. Now, as the players enjoy their second (and final) rest day, things have changed a bit.
Natalia Pogonina has scored 2-points from the 4-games since that stage, which has not been enough to keep her in the lead. In hindsight, she may well wish that she had tried for more in round 5 against Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, when she seemed to play a rather tame draw as White. The reason for this is that her 2 draws and round-seven victory over Humpy Koneru have been muted somewhat by a loss in round-eight to Anoaneta Stefanova.
This has allowed Wenjun Ju, Xue Zhao, and Nana Dzagnidze to catch up. The two Chinese players have had a very good second stage of the tournament, scoring 3/4 to take their overall score so far to 5½/8. Dzadnidze has gone even better by dropping only a half point to snatch the lead from Pogonina with 6½/8.
Contributing to that score, was the following win over Dronavalli Harika, which occurred in round 8.
Play resumes on Sunday the 21st of February, at 15:00 local time. Three rounds remain.
Standings after Round Eight: Dzagnidze — 6.5, Ju, Zhao, Pogonina — 5.5, Khademalsharieh — 5, Koneru, Gunina — 3.5, Harika, Stefanova, Zhukova — 3, Cramling — 2.5, Batsiashvili — 1.5.