Tight games, overwhelming lead: Lagno beats Agrawal

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Second seed GM Kateryna Lagno defeated WGM Vantika Agrawal in the third round of 16 of the FIDE Chess.com 2022 Women’s Speed ​​Chess Championship on Friday. While many of the games were hard fought, Lagno managed to gain a sizeable lead in the match, being difficult to beat in awkward positions and converting convincingly when he was better.

The next round of 16 match, GM Valentina Gunina vs IM Elisabeth Paehtz, starts on Tuesday, June 28, 5:00 am Pacific / 2:00 pm Central European.


Blitz 5|1: Lagno 6-3 Agrawal

The first game proved revealing of the match dynamics between the players. Agrawal was given big winning opportunities on the board but was given too little time to capitalize. Can you find the winning idea she missed?

The first decisive game was game three. Agrawal won a piece with clever tactical play, but Lagno again had a significant time advantage. Lagno created counterplay with her extra pawns on the queenside and chose to press to win even though her own time also fell under 10 seconds.

Lagno turned this into a three-game winning streak, but Agrawal struck back in game six, scoring her first win of the game with a strong passed d-pawn and her first advantage.

In the next game, Agrawal hit again with the unexpected tactical shot 15…Nxc2!

Agrawal converted her material advantage into victory with tactical foresight despite being so short on time.

Such tactical clarity under extreme time pressure showed how underdog Agrawal held up at times against three-time women’s world blitz champion Lagno.

However, Lagno immediately broke Agrawal’s two-game winning streak with two wins of his own, including a convincing win in the penultimate game.

Blitz 3|1: Lagno 5.5-3.5 Agrawal

The 3+1 blitz started with four straight draws and showed how close the two players can be in a given game. The recurring pattern was Agrawal gaining an advantage over the board but resourcefully defending Lagno to maintain their lead.

The first decisive game took place in the fifth game in an equal king-pawn endgame. After an inaccurate move, Lagno was able to knock out Agrawal’s ability to create a passed pawn and then create an outside passer of his own.

This set off a number of crucial games, and Agrawal hit back with a positional pawn sacrifice for activity in game eight, leading to a mistake from Lagno.

The last game showed how accustomed the players were to fighting each other for small advantages. Lagno made a mistake on her bishop and Agrawal overlooked it, continuing to focus on the more subtle elements of the position.

As commentator WGM Dina Belenakaya summarized, “Both players missed the mistake. They’re so focused on hitting each other in a very calm way.”

Both players missed the error. They are so focused on how to beat each other in a very calm way.

-Belenkaya

Despite the many hard-fought games between the players, Lagno’s lead on points steadily increased. This was largely because Lagno was able to win games where she was slightly better and hold games where she was slightly worse. She went into the bullet segment with a five-point lead.

Ball 1|1: Lagno 6-3 Agrawal

The bullet segment began with a missed opportunity for Lagno in a rook ending.

In the next game, however, Lagno was sure to spot Agrawal’s next mistake, a checkmate in the back ranks.

The most interesting game of the segment was game six. Agrawal gained a clear advantage with excellent attacking chances against the opposing king. In response, Lagno showed great resourcefulness, defending actively, creating a passed pawn on the queenside and maintaining the complex position until Agrawal ran out of time.

Halfway through the ball section, Lagnos’ substantial lead of seven points sealed the match in their favor. While both rivals played impressive games, Lagnos’ high score reminds us why she is currently the world’s highest-ranked female blitz player – 50 points clear of her closest rival, GM Humpy Koneru.

Lagno took home $2141.20 in prize money for her win, while Agrawal took home $483.80 for her efforts.

When asked how she felt about the start of the game, Lagno replied, “I felt like I wasn’t in the game because I don’t play online chess that often… She was also a bit slow. I think she played pretty well, but she was always short on time. And that’s why I started collecting points. But if you want to check our positions, I think it wasn’t in my favor early in the game.”

All matches – Round of 16

Women’s Rapid Chess Championship Bracket


The FIDE Chess.com 2022 Women’s Speed ​​Chess Championship is an online event in which champions play a series of Blitz and Bullet matches for a share of the $70,000 prize pool. Qualifying for the event took place from May 24th to 27th, with the main event starting on June 13th and ending on July 21st.


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