Hatay: Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy and GM norm holder D Harika defeated International Master Jovanka Houska and Tatiania Shadrina respectively to come in sniffing distance of entering the last-16 stage of the World Women`s chess championship here.
Both Humpy and Hrika, the last remaining Indians in the fray after the ouster of Soumya Swaminathan, S Meenakshi and Kruttika Nadig, made merry in the first game of the second round and now need just a draw to proceed to the next stage of the USD 450000 prize money championship being played on a knock out format.
Defending Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia was a held to a draw by Sopiko Khukhashvili of Georgia on a day that also witnessed the downfall of highly regarded Russian Tatiana Kosintseva at the hands of Yelena Dembo of Greece.
That apart, there were no major surprises and as many as 11 out of 16 games ended decisively. A big winner was Germany`s Elisabeth Paehtz, who won with black against Viktorija Cmilyte of Lithuania.
Humpy was made to work very hard by experienced Jovanka of England in a Queen pawn game where the Indian played white.
The Semi-Slav Meran gave Jovanka a reasonable position in the middle game and she equalised comfortably as the middle game arose.
However, Humpy`s ability to continue the game even without any real threats or targets came in handy even as Jovanka tried to make a foray with her better placed pieces in the center.
While going for the attack the English girl had to part with a pawn and Humpy thwarted all black`s attempt thereafter. In the end, Jovanka just dropped a rook and resigned immediately.
Harika surprised Tatiana early in the opening as she went for the Schliemann defense with her black pieces. The Russian was obviously unprepared for such a response from the Indian and missed the thread of the game pretty early to give Harika an easy game.
Profiting from white`s mistakes, Harika further won a pawn and cruised home in just 43 moves.
Aleksandra Kosteniuk made a quick draw with Georgian player Sopiko Khukhashvili with black.
Elisabeth Paehtz won against Cmilyte Viktorija when the latter went for unwarranted complications while Yelena Dembo did not feel good about her position until her opponent Tatiana Kosintseva made a crucial error which changed the course of the game.