RIGA, April 20 (LETA) – All six leading players at the European Individual Women’s Chess Championship ended their ninth-round matches in draws today and as a result were joined by two more competitors ahead of the penultimate round.

Russian Grandmaster Aleksandra Goryachkina and Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia became leaders already after the previous round. Trailing them by 0.5 points was a group of four players. On Thursday, all six competitors battled it out among themselves, with all their matches resulting in draws.

Elina Danielian of Armenia and Elisabeth Paehtz of Germany seized the opportunity to catch up with the leaders and won their matches.

Topping the overall standings are Dzagnidze and Goryachkina with 7 points each after nine matches, with Dzagnidze having a slight lead. They are closely followed by the six runners-up. The pairings for the tenth round are as follows: Dzagnidze will play Poland’s Monika Socko, Goryachkina will take on Hoang Thanh Trang representing Hungary, second-seeded Ukrainian Mariya Muzychuk will play against Russia’s Alina Kashlinskaya and Danielian against Paehtz.

The tournament’s director Egons Lavendelis told LETA that even though Dzagnidze had a slight advantage the situation could change quickly if someone else catches up with the leaders.

Leading Latvian chess player Ilze Berzina suffered a defeat against a stronger opponent, Szczepkowska Karina of Poland, leaving her in the 70th position with 4.5 points.

“At one point Ilze’s position looked fairly good, but in the end, she was not precise enough,” said Lavendelis.

The round on April 21 will begin at 3 p.m. at the Omega hall of the Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija, as usual, but on the last day of the tournament, April 22, the games will begin at 11 a.m. with the award ceremony scheduled to start at 8 p.m.

As reported, the European Women’s Chess Championship is taking place at Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija in Riga through April 22. The players finishing in the first 14 places at the European tournament in Riga will qualify for the Chess World Cup.