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Women’s Grand Prix: GM Harika Dronavall joins the leading group

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India’s women’s GM Harika Dronavall has joined three players who are sharing the lead after five rounds at the Women’s Grand Prix in Nicosia, Cyprus.  Haroika beat an out-of-form Oliwia Kiolbasa in Saturday’s fifth round.

Kateryna Lagno and Tan Zhongyi became the early leaders after winning in the first two rounds. 

The Indian GM will face Lagno with black in the last round.

Three players make up the chasing pack a half point behind: Aleksandra Goryachkina, Polina Shuvalova and Dinara Wagner.

The crucial encounter between Kateryna Lagno and Aleksandra Goryachkina was played in round 5.  Lagno is one of the three co-leaders in Cyprus, while Goryachkina stands a half point behind after bouncing back from her first-round loss with wins over Nana Dzagnidze and Oliwia Kiolbasa, both with the white pieces.

Standing on 2 out of 5, a full point behind Goryachkina, is Alexandra Kosteniuk, the third player who entered the event with good chances to finish among the top two in the series’ overall ranking.

Harika, on her part, went on to join the leaders by winning her round-5 game against Kiolbasa, who has been struggling in Nicosia. Harika, playing black, grabbed the initiative in the middlegame and was ruthless in conversion. 

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