Lagno wins 152 move Armageddon game to capture Steinitz Memorial Online Women
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Lagno wins first FIDE Online Steinitz Memorial
Kateryna Lagno won a bizarre Armageddon tiebreak to secure first place in the inaugural FIDE Online Steinitz Memorial's Women's Section today. The Russian kept her cool as her play-off with Lei Tingjie went to a marathon 152 moves. The Chinese player, playing White and needing to win, tried to flag her on time.
Sunday's final 6 rounds were full of drama as momentum swung back-and-forth before the focused Lagno eventually came out on top. Earlier Tingjie came from under the radar to draw level with Lagno at the end of 18 rounds of blitz. It followed a stunning charge from Zhansaya Abdumalik who, at one point, was on seven straight games and in the lead. The Kazakhstani's momentum appeared unstoppable until Tingjie spoiled her run by holding her to a draw.
With Tan Zhongyi and Lagno's fellow Russian Alexandra Kosteniuk also in the mix, it looked like the tournament was wide open. Then Tingjie took up the mantle winning her final two games to finish the day's blitz unbeaten on 5/6. Meanwhile, Lagno, the pre-tournament favorite and overnight leader, started with a loss and it took a "lucky" win on game 14 to spark her into life. Lagno then followed it up with a smooth win over Marie Sebag to wrest back the lead. Tingjie ended Kosteniuk's hopes while in the 17th Abdumalik lost to Tan Zhongyi.
By the final round, it was incredibly tight at the top with Lagno just ahead in a three-horse race. All eyes were on Abdumalik vs Lagno with Abdumalik needing a win. But in a tense encounter Lagno held the draw and Abdumalik was squeezed out. Tingjie, meanwhile, beat Elisabeth Paehtz to go into the tiebreak which Lagno eventually won.
"We've witnessed a fantastic event with so many dramas," said commentator GM Peter Leko.
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