2023 Cairns Cup Recap

2023 Cairns Cup - Day 9

It was an intense and exciting final day of the event, with IM Anna Zatonskih facing her longtime-teammate and rival, GM Irina Krush. Despite already securing the event victory, Anna defended valiantly and managed to draw the longest game of the event on move 130, invoking the 50-moves rule. This draw sealed Anna's undefeated run in the tournament and solidified her as the champion. It was truly an inspiring performance, especially considering she started as the last seed based on ratings.

2023 Cairns Cup - Day 8 Recap

Day 8 was the most intense day in the event with each player bringing their fighting spirit to place in the top ranks of the standings in the 3rd edition of the Cairns Cup. IM Anna Zatonskih had the chance to draw the game by three-fold, but chose to continue her play without risk and it certainly paid off. Going into a knight versus bishop endgame, Anna was able to trade off to a winning king and pawn endgame that brought her not only the full point, but also a GM-norm. Zatonskih secured the first place win with one round left, an impressive result considering she won three games with the Black pieces during the tournament. Congratulations to the 2023 Cairns Cup Champion!

2023 Cairns Cup - Day 7 Recap

Day 7 brought another eventful round at the Cairns Cup, with three decisive games, all won by those players playing with the white pieces. With the tournament approaching its end, the fights are heating up as everyone is trying to bring in their A-game to place at the top of the standings in this 3rd edition of the Cairns Cup.

The leader of the event, IM Anna Zatonskih, was leading by a point to her second competitor, but she had a rest day today. She maintains her lead, as none of the competitors who could catch up won their games. GM Bella Khotenashvilli turned around the tournament, having won 4 games in a row. GM Nana Dzagnidze stopped the series of losses, with a tough win against former Women’s Champion GM Alexandra Kosteniuk. GM Irina Krush won a convincing game against GM Harika Dronavalli, while GM Abdumalik drew against IM Mammadzada.

2023 Cairns Cup - Day 6 Recap

The start of the round may have suggested a quiet day, but the intensity of the event was revealed as the players approached the time control. Anna Zatonskih won with the black pieces, another important game against Mammadzada, inching closer to her dream of achieving a GM norm. She would have to score 1 point out of 2 to score a norm (tomorrow she has a day off). In addition, Anna is leading the event with 4.5 /6 with two rounds to go. Paehtz and Kosteniuk won their games today, maintaining a close trail behind American Zatonskih.

2023 Cairns Cup - Day 5 Recap


The start of the day was marred by the unfortunate withdrawal of GM Humpy Koneru, who had to leave the tournament due to medical (non-COVID) issues. According to tournament regulations, Koneru’s results in the event will be annulled and won’t affect the final standings, but the games she played will still be FIDE rated.

2023 Cairns Cup - Day 4 Recap

The tournament blew wide open today after both leaders lost their games, with IM Anna Zatonskih defeating GM Alexandra Kosteniuk to take the sole lead and GM Bella Khotenashvili scoring a big victory over GM Irina Krush. Meanwhile Dronavalli - Mammadzada and Paehtz - Abdumalik was drawn, and Dzagnidze managed to swindle Koneru in a sharp time scramble

2023 Cairns Cup - Day 3 Recap

8-time U.S. Women’s Champion GM Irina Krush joined GM Alexandra Kosteniuk in the lead after defeating GM Nana Dzagnidze in a nice endgame. The other games saw draws between Mammadzada - Kosteniuk, Zatonskih - Paehtz, and Koneru - Dronavalli, while GM Bella Khotenashvili scored her first win of the event against a struggling GM Zhansaya Abdumalik

2023 Cairns Cup - Day 2 Recap

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk jumped out to a stellar 2/2 after defeating GM Harika Dronavalli in another dramatic round which saw four decisive games. Scoring their first wins were GMs Elisabeth Paehtz, Nana Dzagnidze, and IM Anna Zatonskih, who nearly allowed a miraculous escape.

2023 Cairns Cup - Day 1 Recap

The third edition of the Cairns Cup kicked off today in Saint Louis as ten of the world’s top female players began to battle it out for their share of the $180,000 prize fund. The tournament got off to a stunning start as former Women’s World Champion GM Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated top seed and reigning Cairns Cup champion GM Humpy Koneru. Meanwhile GM Harika Dronavalli, GM Irina Krush, and IM Gunay Mammadzada all won their first round games as well.