India’s R Vaishali crashed through the defences of former world champion Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine to move to 3.5 points after the fourth round of FIDE women’s Grand Swiss, a part of the World Championship cycle.
Vaishali, the sister of the more famous R Praggnanandhaa, had made her third and final Grandmaster norm at the just-concluded Qatar Masters and it was clear that she was ready for the bigger challenges.
The Chennai-based player delivered her best with yet another scintillating performance, thanks to her brilliant attacking skills.
The Sicilian defence by Vaishali was met with the Rossolimo Sicilian but she had some opening ideas that caught Muzychuk off guard. The resulting position was quite complicated, but when it comes to calculating the deepest secret out of any position, Vaishali has shown that she is the one to be relied upon.
Muzychuk did not stand any chance, as she first lost a piece and subsequently walked into checkmate web. Amazingly, it took just 23 moves for Vaishali to seal her third victory in four games.
In the open section, Grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi slipped from what looked like a cruise and was held to a draw by Alexandr Predke of Serbia.
Arjuni looked in command and if the analysis engines were anything to go by, he should have converted another full point that would have taken him to 3.5 points.
However, as it happened, Predke found some magical trick that helped him salvage a draw through perpetual checks after sacrificing his queen.
Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi, meanwhile, continued on his winning ways and recorded his third win in a row at the expense of former world championship challenger Alexey Shirov of Spain. Vidit displayed his immaculate technique again with white pieces in a Slav defence game and won two Bishops for a rook. Shirov had no chance thereafter and called it a day quickly.
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