Ju Wenjun and Kosteniuk Share Cairns Lead

Play resumes Thursday after Wednesday's lone rest day at the 2020 Cairns Cup … which, as it turns out, wasn’t so restful for the players!

Tweet URL

World Champion Ju Wenjun is tied for the lead after five rounds with Alexandra Kosteniuk after both won in an all-action fifth round. Ju and Kosteniuk are both at 3.5 points, with Humpy Koneru and Nana Dzagnidze trailing by half a point.

Last year’s inaugural edition of the Cairns Cup was notable for its low draw rate, and the tradition continues in 2020. 15 games – fully 60% - have been decisive in the first five rounds. Here’s how things shook out in Rounds 4 and 5. Round 4

courtesy STLCC

Ju and Kosteniuk’s ascent began in Round 4, where the two leaders both won their games. Ju defeated Valentina Gunina after Gunina’s kingside defense became compromised.

[pgn] [Event "2nd Cairns Cup 2020"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2020.02.10"] [Round "4"] [White "Ju Wenjun"] [Black "Gunina, V."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C70"] [WhiteElo "2583"] [BlackElo "2461"] [PlyCount "117"] [EventDate "2020.02.06"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nge7 5. c3 g6 6. d4 exd4 7. cxd4 Bg7 8. d5 Na5 9. O-O b5 10. Bb3 d6 11. Bd2 c5 12. dxc6 Nxb3 13. Qxb3 Nxc6 14. Bc3 Be6 15. Qd1 Ne5 16. Nbd2 O-O 17. Nd4 Bg4 18. Qb3 Rb8 19. a3 Qb6 20. h3 Bd7 21. N2f3 a5 22. Rfd1 b4 23. axb4 axb4 24. Bd2 Qb7 25. Nxe5 dxe5 26. Nc2 Rfc8 27. Be1 Be6 28. Qd3 Bc4 29. Qf3 Qb5 30. Rd2 Bh6 31. Ne3 Be6 32. Rdd1 Bg5 33. Nd5 Rc2 34. Qg3 Bf4 35. Nxf4 exf4 36. Qxf4 Rxb2 37. Bd2 h5 38. Qf6 Rxd2 39. Rxd2 Kh7 40. Rad1 Rg8 41. Rd8 Qe2 42. Kh2 Rg7 43. Ra1 Ba2 44. Rc1 Be6 45. Ra1 Ba2 46. Ra8 Be6 47. Rb8 Ba2 48. Rxb4 Qc2 49. Rb2 Qc7+ 50. g3 Be6 51. Ra8 Bc8 52. Rbb8 Rg8 53. e5 Kh6 54. Qf4+ Kg7 55. e6 Qc5 56. Qxf7+ Kh6 57. Rxc8 Rxc8 58. Rxc8 Qxc8 59. e7 1-0 [/pgn]
Kosteniuk handed Carissa Yip to her fourth consecutive loss, using her experience to better navigate a blocked position and take the full point.

[pgn] [Event "2nd Cairns Cup 2020"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2020.02.10"] [Round "4"] [White "Yip, Carissa"] [Black "Kosteniuk, A."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C43"] [WhiteElo "2412"] [BlackElo "2504"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2020.02.06"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4. Bd3 d5 5. Nxe5 Nd7 6. Nc3 $5 (6. Nxd7 Bxd7 7. O-O {is a big main line.}) 6... Nxc3 7. bxc3 Nxe5 8. dxe5 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Be3 (10. f4 f5 11. Be3 Be6 12. a4 {1-0 (60) Vitiugov,N (2732)-So,W (2767) Khanty-Mansiysk 2019}) 10... Be6 11. f4 f5 {An interesting situation has arisen where Black has transposes into theory (Vitiugov-So), but because of the move order White has a possibility unavailable to Vitiugov!} 12. Rb1 $6 { Not bad, but it passes up something better!} (12. exf6 $1 Bxf6 $2 (12... Rxf6 $14) 13. Qh5 g6 14. Bxg6 hxg6 15. Qxg6+ Kh8 (15... Bg7 $2 16. Qxe6+) 16. Qh6+ Kg8 17. Rf3 $18) 12... b6 13. Be2 c6 14. Bf3 b5 {Now Yip has to find a plan, and she vacillates a bit.} 15. Qd3 a5 16. Qd2 Qd7 17. Ra1 (17. a4 $6 bxa4 18. Ra1 a3) 17... Ba3 18. Rfb1 Qe7 19. Qf2 Rab8 20. h3 Kh8 21. Kh2 a4 22. Kh1 Rb7 23. Be2 {White is drifting, but Black needs to find a way to break in the position to prove her advantage.} Rfb8 24. Bf3 Qf8 25. Ba7 Rc8 26. Be3 Be7 27. Be2 a3 28. Rd1 (28. Rb3 {and if} d4 29. cxd4 $1 Bxb3 30. cxb3) 28... Ra8 29. Bf3 Ra4 30. Rd3 Rc4 31. Rb1 Qd8 32. Be2 Rb8 33. Ba7 Ra8 34. Bb6 $6 (34. Bd4) 34... Qf8 (34... Rxf4 $1 35. Qxf4 Qxb6 {and Black has great play for the exchange.}) 35. Be3 (35. Bf1 Rb8 36. Ba7 Rb7 37. Be3 c5 $36) 35... b4 36. cxb4 Rxc2 37. Rd2 Rxd2 38. Bxd2 d4 39. Bf3 Bxa2 40. Ra1 Qf7 41. Bxc6 Rc8 42. Ba4 d3 43. Be1 Bd5 44. Rxa3 Be4 45. Bd2 Qg6 46. Bb5 $2 (46. Kh2 $1) 46... Bh4 47. Qf1 Qg3 48. Ra2 Qxh3+ 49. Kg1 Qg3 50. e6 Bf6 51. Be1 Bd4+ 52. Bf2 Bxg2 0-1 [/pgn]
The three remaining games – Muzychuk-Dzagnidze, Koneru-Lagno, and Dronavalli-Krush – were all drawn. For awhile it appeared that Krush might have something on the Black side of a Taimanov, but a slip on her 32nd move allowed Dronavalli to immediately equalize.

[pgn] [Event "2nd Cairns Cup 2020"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2020.02.10"] [Round "4"] [White "Harika, D."] [Black "Krush, I."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B47"] [WhiteElo "2518"] [BlackElo "2422"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "2020.02.06"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. g3 a6 7. Bg2 h5 8. O-O h4 9. Re1 hxg3 10. hxg3 d6 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Na4 c5 13. c4 Bb7 14. b3 Be7 15. Bb2 Bf6 16. Rb1 Rd8 17. Bc3 Bxc3 18. Nxc3 Ne7 19. Rb2 Nc6 20. Rd2 Nd4 21. Ne2 e5 22. Nxd4 cxd4 23. Qg4 f6 24. Rc1 Kf7 25. b4 a5 26. a3 axb4 27. axb4 Bc8 28. Qd1 Be6 29. c5 dxc5 30. bxc5 Rb8 31. Qe2 Rb3 32. Rd3 Rb5 33. Rxd4 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

Round 5

courtesy STLCC

With the rest day looming, the players left nothing on the field, with all five games seeing decisive results. The all-American matchup between Irina Krush and Carissa Yip saw youth get the better of experience, somewhat against the run of play.

[pgn] [Event "2nd Cairns Cup 2020"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2020.02.11"] [Round "5.5"] [White "Krush, Irina"] [Black "Yip, Carissa"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A00"] [WhiteElo "2422"] [BlackElo "2412"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "94"] [EventDate "2020.02.07"] 1. g3 g6 2. Bg2 Bg7 3. d4 d5 4. Nf3 e6 5. O-O Ne7 6. Nc3 Nbc6 7. e4 $1 { Black already has tough decisions to make.} dxe4 8. Nxe4 f5 $5 {Very sharp, if positionally dodgy!} 9. Nc5 (9. Nc3 Nxd4 10. Nxd4 Qxd4 11. Nb5) 9... Nxd4 10. c3 $6 (10. Re1 $1) 10... Nxf3+ 11. Qxf3 c6 12. Qe2 Qd6 13. Be3 e5 (13... Nd5 14. Rad1 Qe7 $14) 14. Rad1 Qf6 15. Qd2 O-O 16. Nd7 Bxd7 17. Qxd7 b6 18. Rd6 Qf7 19. Bg5 {Black's defenses are holding, although they are creaking!} Rfe8 20. Bxe7 ({Why not} 20. Rfd1 $1 {with Rd6-d6 to follow?}) 20... Qxe7 21. Bxc6 Rab8 22. Rfd1 Bf8 23. Ba4 Kh8 (23... Qxd7 24. Rxd7 a5 25. Bb3+ Kh8 26. Rc7 Rbd8 $11) 24. Qc6 Rec8 25. Qd7 Re8 (25... Rc7 $1 $11) 26. Qb5 Qxd6 27. Rxd6 Bxd6 28. Qd5 (28. Qxe8+ $6 Rxe8 29. Bxe8 {and bishops of opposite color ensure the draw}) 28... Red8 29. Bb3 Kg7 30. h4 {Krush is still pressing.} Kh6 31. h5 Rbc8 32. Qd2+ f4 33. hxg6 hxg6 34. Kg2 $6 Bc5 35. Qe2 Rf8 36. Qxe5 $2 (36. Qe4 fxg3 37. fxg3 Rf2+ 38. Kh3 Rcf8 39. Bc2 $1 {and White has enough counterplay to hold.}) 36... Rce8 $1 37. Qd5 f3+ 38. Kh3 Bxf2 39. Bd1 $2 (39. Ba4 $8 Rd8 40. Qe6 Bc5 $17) 39... Rd8 40. Qb3 Bc5 {Now it's impossible to stop the f-pawn.} 41. Qa4 Rxd1 $1 {A nice practical decision.} 42. Qxd1 f2 43. Qc1+ (43. Qf1 {loses to} Re8) 43... Kg7 44. Qf1 Re8 45. Qd3 Re1 46. Qd7+ Kh6 47. Qd2+ Be3 0-1 [/pgn]
Ju Wenjun went pawn grabbing against Kateryna Lagno, but Lagno chose a quiet response, trusting perhaps in the power of the bishops in an equalish position. Slowly Ju took control of the game and used Lagno’s shattered kingside to weave threat after threat.

[pgn] [Event "2nd Cairns Cup 2020"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2020.02.11"] [Round "5.2"] [White "Lagno, Kateryna"] [Black "Ju, Wenjun"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B30"] [WhiteElo "2552"] [BlackElo "2583"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "86"] [EventDate "2020.02.07"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Bg4 6. Be2 cxd4 7. cxd4 e6 8. Nc3 Bb4 9. O-O Qa5 10. Be3 Bxc3 $6 11. bxc3 Qxc3 $2 {Pawn grabbing here seems very risky with White better developed and Black two moves from castling (kingside).} 12. d5 $1 exd5 13. Qxd5 $2 {Snatching the pawn back gives up the bulk of Lagno's advantage.} (13. Rc1 $1 {hits the queen with tempo, and it's hard to see how Ju would come out of this unscathed. Typical lines:} Qf6 (13... Qa5 14. Nd4 $1 Bxe2 15. Qxe2 Nge7 16. Nxc6 bxc6 17. Bd4 $18) (13... Qb2 $2 14. Rxc6 $1 bxc6 15. Bd4) 14. Bg5 Qd6 15. Re1 $36) (13. Bd4 {is the computer choice, and it makes some sense after} Nxd4 14. Nxd4 Bxe2 15. Qxe2+ Kf8 16. Qe5 {. Still, it's a lot less natural than 13. Rc1.}) 13... Nge7 14. Qb5 O-O $1 { Completing development. Black has no real problems here, although one could argue that the bishops give White some hope of an edge.} 15. Qxb7 Rfb8 16. Qa6 Rb2 17. Rac1 Qf6 18. Rfe1 h6 19. a3 Rab8 20. h3 Bc8 21. Qc4 (21. Qa4 $5) 21... Be6 22. Qc5 Bxh3 $6 {With a transparent threat of removing the defenders from f3. I'm not sure why Lagno goes along with it!} (22... Bd5 $5) 23. gxh3 $6 (23. Nd4 $5 Bd7 24. Nxc6 Nxc6 (24... Bxc6 $2 25. Bd4) 25. Rcd1 $44) (23. Bd2 $5 { (seen, but underestimated by Ju)} Qg6 24. Nh4 Qe4 25. Bf3 Qxh4 26. Rc4 $1 { gives White the upper hand.}) 23... Rxe2 24. Rxe2 Qxf3 25. Rec2 Qxh3 26. Qd6 ( 26. Bf4 Rd8 27. Rc4 $1 $13) 26... Rd8 $15 {The material is even enough, but the open White king gives Black all the chances.} 27. Qg3 Qe6 28. Rc5 Nd4 29. Bxd4 Rxd4 30. Re5 Qd7 (30... Qf6 $1) 31. Qf3 Ng6 32. Re3 {Now Ju begins her king hunt in earnest.} Rg4+ 33. Kf1 Qb5+ 34. Ke1 Rg1+ 35. Kd2 Qb2+ 36. Rc2 Qd4+ 37. Rd3 Qa1 38. Re3 Rf1 39. Re8+ Kh7 40. Re4 f6 41. Qf5 Rg1 42. Re3 Rd1+ 43. Ke2 Rd5 0-1 [/pgn]
Kosteniuk defeated Mariya Muzychuk after essaying an off-beat idea against the Open Ruy Lopez.

[pgn] [Event "2nd Cairns Cup 2020"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2020.02.11"] [Round "5.3"] [White "Kosteniuk, Alexandra"] [Black "Muzychuk, Mariya"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C80"] [WhiteElo "2504"] [BlackElo "2552"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2020.02.07"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. a4 $5 {A fresh idea from Kosteniuk.} b4 10. Nbd2 (10. a5 {has been standard whenever 9. a4 has been tried, but Kosteniuk has something else in mind.}) 10... Nc5 11. c3 Qd7 12. Nd4 Nxd4 13. cxd4 Nxb3 14. Nxb3 Be7 15. Qd3 O-O 16. Qg3 f6 17. Bf4 fxe5 18. Bxe5 Bd6 19. Rfc1 Bf5 20. Na5 $6 (20. Nc5 $1 { Kosteniuk} Bxc5 21. Rxc5) 20... Rf6 (20... Rae8 {Kosteniuk}) 21. Qb3 Bxe5 22. dxe5 Re6 ({Kosteniuk planned to meet} 22... Rg6 {with} 23. Rxc7 Rxg2+ (23... Qxc7 24. Qxd5+) 24. Kf1 $5) 23. Qxb4 Rxe5 24. f3 (24. Nc6 $1 {Kosteniuk} Re4 ( 24... Re2 25. Nd4) 25. Nd4 Rg4) 24... Rae8 ({Too late Kosteniuk saw} 24... Re2 $1 {with the idea of ... Bh3. Black would have a lot of play, but Muzychuk went another direction.}) 25. Nc6 R5e6 26. Nd4 $14 {Kosteniuk has an edge here, and she increases it move by move.} Rb6 27. Qd2 Bg6 28. a5 Rf6 29. Rc5 Qd6 30. Rac1 Qe5 31. Nc6 Qe2 32. Rxd5 Rfe6 33. b4 h6 34. Qxe2 Rxe2 35. Rd7 Kf8 36. Nd4 Rb2 37. h3 Rxb4 38. Rcxc7 Bh5 39. Nf5 Rb5 40. Nxg7 1-0 [/pgn]
Valentina Gunina won her second game in a row, taking down Dronavalli in a Closed Sicilian. Gunina has been struggling with jet lag in this tournament, but here she managed to resist sleep’s siren call long enough to force resignation!

Tweet URL

[pgn] [Event "2nd Cairns Cup 2020"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2020.02.11"] [Round "5.4"] [White "Gunina, Valentina"] [Black "Harika, Dronavalli"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B26"] [WhiteElo "2461"] [BlackElo "2518"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2020.02.07"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Be3 Rb8 7. Qd2 b5 8. h3 b4 9. Nd1 Bd7 10. f4 e6 11. Nf3 Nge7 12. h4 Nd4 13. h5 Ba4 14. Rc1 Nec6 15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. Bf2 Qa5 17. g4 Bb5 18. h6 Bf6 19. g5 Bd8 20. b3 Rc8 21. O-O O-O 22. Bg3 Qxa2 23. f5 Be7 24. Bh3 exf5 25. exf5 Ra8 26. Nf2 Ne5 27. Ne4 Bxd3 28. Bxe5 Bxe4 29. Bxd4 Qa5 30. Qe3 d5 31. fxg6 hxg6 32. h7+ Kxh7 33. Be6 Bxg5 34. Qxg5 Qd8 35. Bf6 Qb6+ 36. Rf2 fxe6 37. Qh4+ Kg8 38. Qh8+ 1-0 [/pgn]
Humpy Koneru won the longest game of the day, grinding down Nana Dzagnidze in 64 moves.

[pgn] [Event "2nd Cairns Cup 2020"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2020.02.11"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Dzagnidze, Nana"] [Black "Koneru, Humpy"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D58"] [WhiteElo "2515"] [BlackElo "2580"] [PlyCount "128"] [EventDate "2020.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 b6 8. Be2 Bb7 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. cxd5 exd5 11. Qb3 Re8 12. O-O c6 13. Rfe1 Na6 14. e4 Nc7 15. e5 Be7 16. Rad1 Ne6 17. Bf1 Qc7 18. g3 Rad8 19. h4 a6 20. a3 c5 21. dxc5 Nxc5 22. Qa2 Ne4 23. Ne2 Bc5 24. Ned4 Rxe5 25. Rc1 Qb8 26. Red1 Ree8 27. b4 Bxd4 28. Nxd4 Rc8 29. Qb3 Qe5 30. Qe3 Qf6 31. Re1 Kf8 32. Rxc8 Rxc8 33. Ne2 Re8 34. Rc1 Rc8 35. Rxc8+ Bxc8 36. Bg2 Qc6 37. Bxe4 dxe4 38. Nc3 f5 39. Qd4 Bb7 40. Kf1 Kf7 41. Ke2 b5 42. Ke3 g5 43. hxg5 hxg5 44. Ne2 Kg6 45. Qd8 Kh5 46. Qd1 Kg6 47. Qd8 Kh5 48. Qd1 Qb6+ 49. Nd4+ Kg6 50. Qd2 Bd5 51. Qc3 Bc4 52. Kd2 f4 53. Ke1 Qf6 54. a4 fxg3 55. fxg3 Qf1+ 56. Kd2 bxa4 57. Nc2 Qd3+ 58. Qxd3 exd3 59. Ne3 Bb5 60. Kc3 Kf6 61. Ng4+ Kf5 62. Nf2 a3 63. Kb3 d2 64. Kxa3 Be2 0-1 [/pgn]
Round 6 Pairings

courtesy STLCC

Quick Links:

2020 Cairns Cup Website

Pairings and Results

Live coverage daily 1pm CST

STLCC YouTube channel

 

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain Text Comments

Share Your Feedback

We recently completed a website update. If you notice a formatting error on this page, please click here.