Carnage Continues in Round 6 of the Cairns Cup

The carnage continued yesterday in the 6th Round of the Cairns Cup, with three decisive games and fighting chess across all boards.

Fresh off her brilliancy in Round 5 – come back to CLO tomorrow for more on that game! – GM Valentina Gunina defeated IM Elisabeth Paehtz in a long, difficult rook ending, grinding her opponent down in 88 moves. After the game Gunina admitted that the position was completely drawn, but she capitalized on Paehtz’s erroneous 63. … Rd5+ and soon her three connected passed pawns were too strong to overcome.

Valentina Gunina (photo Austin Fuller)

Gunina’s victory jumped her to the head of the tournament table, where she is tied with GM Alexandra Kosteniuk at 5/6 going into Round 7. Kosteniuk held GM Irina Krush to a complex draw with the Black pieces, leaving Krush half a point behind the co-leaders.

Krush vs Kosteniuk (photo Austin Fuller)

IM Anna Zatonskih fell to GM Nana Dzagnidze when, deep in mutual time pressure, both players misses chances to win. Dzagnidze was able to consolidate after the time control and bring home the full point.

In other games, GM Harika Dronavalli notched her first victory in the tournament when her rampaging rooks were too much for IM Zhansaya Abdumalik to counter, and GM Marie Sebag and GM Bela Kotenashvili played to a draw in 32 moves.

Kosteniuk has White against Dronavalli in Round 7, and Gunina takes the Black pieces against Zatonskih. Krush will be looking to make up the half-point gap when she plays Black against Khotenashvili. Tune in to uschesschamps.com at 12:50pm CST to follow all the action!

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