Abdumalik Shines In Gibraltar; Lagno, Koneru Reach Candidates

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IM Zhansaya Abdumalik played the tournament of her life in Gibraltar. The Kazakh chess player won the Women’s Grand Prix with a round to spare, earned 15,000 euros, and became a full-fledged grandmaster in the process. 

The other “winners” of the event were GMs Kateryna Lagno and Humpy Koneru. Lagno tied for fourth place, which was enough to qualify for the 2022 Women’s Candidates. Koneru, who couldn’t play in Gibraltar, scored enough GP points in the two legs that she did play in to reach the Candidates as well.

How to watch?

You can find, play through, and download all games of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix on our Events page.

Abdumalik finished on a superb and undefeated 8.5/11 score, 1.5 points ahead of runner-up GM Mariya Muzychuk who was still tied with Abdumalik on the rest day. Another surprisingly strong result was scored by 20-year-old IM Gunay Mammadzada of Azerbaijan, who scored plus two and edged out Lagno on tiebreak, one of the players she had beaten.

Gibraltar Women GP | Final Standings










# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Zhansaya Abdumalik 2472 2701 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 8.5/11
2 Mariya Muzychuk 2544 2579 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 1 1 7.0/11
3 Gunay Mammadzada 2443 2554 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 6.5/11 32.5
4 Kateryna Lagno 2546 2546 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 6.5/11 32.25
5 Elisabeth Paehtz 2456 2521 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 6.0/11 30
6 Nana Dzagnidze 2524 2516 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 6.0/11 28
7 Anna Muzychuk 2535 2483 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 0 ½ 5.5/11
8 Alina Kashlinskaya 2494 2455 0 1 0 0 0 ½ 1 1 0 ½ 1 5.0/11
9 Antoaneta Stefanova 2470 2425 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 1 1 0 4.5/11 24.25
10 Valentina Gunina 2421 2429 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 0 1 0 1 1 4.5/11 20
11 Dinara Saduakassova 2500 2389 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 0 0 1 4.0/11
12 Irina Bulmaga 2440 2231 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 1 0 0 2.0/11

Abdumalik continued very strongly after the rest day, winning three games in a row against GM Nana Dzagnidze, IM Alina Kashlinskaya, and GM Valentina Gunina. Mariya Muzychuk fell back with two draws and then a loss to Kashlinskaya.

Abdumalik played a topsy-turvy game with Dzagnidze where she prevailed in tactical complications. The engine provides some stunning possibilities for both sides:

Dzagnidze Abdumalik Gibraltar 2021
Dzagnidze vs. Abdumalik. Photo: John Saunders/FIDE.

Here’s Mammadzada’s win vs. Lagno from round eight. One mistake by the world number-five female player was enough for the young Azerbaijani to take control:

Gunay Mammadzada chess Gibraltar
Gunay Mammadzada. Photo: David Llada/FIDE.

Games rounds 7-11

The tournament in Gibraltar was the fourth and final leg of the FIDE Grand Prix series. The first three took place in Skolkovo, Monaco, and Lausanne in 2019-2020. Then the series was interrupted by the pandemic.

2019-2021 Women’s Grand Prix Series | Final Standings
























Rank Fed Player Skolkovo Monaco Lausanne Gibraltar Total
1 Aleksandra Goryachkina 120 133⅓ 145

398⅓
2 Humpy Koneru 160 133⅓

293⅓
3 Kateryna Lagno 90 90

100 280
4 Zhansaya Abdumalik

110 160 270
5 Nana Dzagnidze

35 145 75 255
6 Mariya Muzychuk

60 60 130 250
7 Anna Muzychuk

80 85 60 225
8 Alexandra Kosteniuk 45 133⅓ 15

193⅓
9-10 Harika Dronavalli 60 60 60

180
9-10 Alina Kashlinskaya 45

85 50 180
11 Elisabeth Paehtz 75 20

75 170
12 Ju Wenjun 120

35

155
13-14 Valentina Gunina 75 10

35 120
13-14 Antoaneta Stefanova 25

60 35 120
15 Pia Cramling 10 60 35

105
16 Gunary Mammadzada

100 100
17 Marie Sebag 25

15

40
18 Zhao Xue

35

35
19 Dinara Saduakassova

20 20
20 Irina Bulmaga

10 10

The qualifying spots went to Lagno and Koneru because GM Aleksandra Goryachkina has already qualified for the Candidates as the runner-up of the last world championship match. For the remaining five spots in the Candidates, three players will come from the FIDE World Cup, one from the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss, and one by rating.

That rating spot is at least slightly surprising because it was removed for the general 2022 Candidates. FIDE Director General Emil Sutovsky argued on Twitter: “Assigning a place in 2022 by Elo mostly amassed prior to 2020 isn’t fair.” 

Commenting to Chess.com, Sutovsky pointed out that unlike in the “open” Candidates, the Women’s Candidates Tournament does not have a spot assigned personally (as was the case with GM Teimour Radjabov). “Hence we had a choice, what to do with it. The wildcard is the worst option; we neglected it. Adding to one of the qualifiers? We considered it. But at the end of the day, we felt the rating spot was to be preserved.”

One of the effects is that GM Hou Yifan, by far the highest-rated female player, would qualify on the condition that she has at least 15 standard games rated in the FIDE standard rating lists of 2021 or that she participates in either the World Cup or the Grand Swiss.


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