Chess Tactics: Zhu — Wagner, 2022

FIDE Women's Grand Prix logo
Kazakhstan renamed its capital city from Nur-Sultan back to Astana.

The 2022 FIDE Women’s Grand Prix Series is underway, with the first of four events being held in Astana, Kazakhstan. 16 women will play three of four events, as each tournament is a 12-player round robin. The top two finishers in the series will qualify for the 2023-24 Women’s Candidates Tournament.

Let’s review the Round 2 game between Zhu Jiner (China) and Dinara Wagner (Germany).


Zhu Jiner
Zhu Jiner. Source: FIDE

WGM Zhu is currently the top-ranked Girl (female under 20 years old) in the World, but turns 20 in November. She qualified for the Women’s Grand Prix by tying for 2nd-3rd place in the 2021 Women’s Grand Swiss (with IM Elisabeth Pähtz of Germany, who is also competing in Astana).


Dinara Wagner
Dinara Wagner. Source: FIDE

WGM Wagner is the third-ranked female in Germany, and on her career-high rating. Originally from Kalmykia, she married GM Dennis Wagner earlier this year and was granted a wild card for the Grand Prix series by her adopted country, as Munich will host the second GP event.


Zhu is tied for the tournament lead with Aleksandra Goryachkina (Russia) at 4½/6, while Wagner’s 2½/6 as the lowest seed is sufficient to well outperform her rating.


Zhu is clearly in charge here, but how to break Wagner’s defense?

White to play.

28. ?

Sleeping Rook