Valentina Gunina (Getty Images)
CHENNAI: Russian Grandmaster Valentina Gunina looked unstoppable as she brushed aside Alexandra Kosteniuk 9-3 to qualify for the final of the first Grand Prix leg of the women’s speed chess championships, organized by the FIDE, on Friday evening. In the title round, she will be up against former women’s world champion Anna Ushenina who defeated R Vaishali 5.5-4.5.
Valentina, who was the last player to have made the cut for the GP stage of the competition, has looked her lethal best as she bested beat WGM Tatev Abrahamyan 8.5-3.5 in the pre-quarters stage. If that wasn’t enough, the last-8 phase saw Valentina get the better of none other than the current world champion Ju Wenjun 7.5-3.5.
Speaking about the victory on Friday, Valentina said, “I was very tired since I played so many games before. I got used to different time controls while playing in the qualifiers. I worked hard but I am happy with the fact that I can play this well.”
Saturday is a rest day for the players and Valentina can’t wait for it. “I played about 6 days in the qualifiers of the tournament and then was part of the first leg (of the Grand Prix). Though I will prepare for some time for my match against Anna but I deserve a rest as well,” she said.