Dronavalli Harika in semifinals; Koneru Humpy forces tiebreaker
Indian Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika scored a hard-fought victory over Meri Arabidze of Georgia to advance to the semifinals of the World Women Chess Championship here today.
Sochi: Indian Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika scored a hard-fought victory over Meri Arabidze of Georgia to advance to the semifinals of the World Women Chess Championship here today.
Top rated Indian Koneru Humpy forced Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine to the tiebreaker after winning the second game in the quarterfinals.
Harika won a close game with white pieces that was always within the boundaries of a draw.
However, the Indian persisted in the drawn rook and pawns endgame and was rewarded post the fourth hour in the longest game of the quarterfinals thus far.
Humpy, on the other hand, was in a must win situation and she did not disappoint her fans by outclassing Mariya Muzychuk to force the match into the tiebreaker.
The two will first play two rapid games with 25 minutes each and should the deadlock continue, more games of shorter duration will be played to determine the winner.
The other two quarterfinal matches will also be decided in the tiebreaker in this USD 450000 championship.
Natalija Pogonina of Russia kept the local hopes alive pulling one back against Zhao Xue of China while Pia Cramling defended well to hold the other Muzychuk sister -- Anna -- to a back-to-back draw.
The Torre Attack as white has been a part of Harika's repertoire for some time and it again came to her aid against Arabidze. Although the Georgian did not have troubles securing a balanced position, the exchanges at regular intervals led to a rook endgame with a slightly fractured pawn structure.
Harika was composed right through the course of the game. Playing nonchalantly, she got only a minuscule advantage even after picking a pawn. Soon the position liquidated to a bare endgame with just one pawn and rook for Harika and a sole rook for Arabidze. The endgame that arose is known as the 'Vancura position' and Arabidze still had to find the best resource.
As it happened, Arabidze missed once but Harika failed to capitalise on her chance. However, when the second chance came her way, Harika pounced on it and secured the important victory after 95 gruelling moves.
This is also the second straight time that the Indian has made it to the semifinals and she will now play against the winner of Humpy vs Mariya contest.
Humpy got the complexities she was hoping for in the middle game arising out of a Queen pawn game.
Both players castled on the opposite flanks and the Ukrainian allowed Humpy to swap her queens for two rooks. Soon, the black pawns came under fire as Humpy knocked them down one after the other. The game lasted 62 moves.
Pogonina went for the Volga gambit as black in another must win situation and capitalized on a blunder by Zhao Xue to level the scores in other interesting clash of the day.
Results Quarterfinals Game 2: Koneru Humpy (ind) beat Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr) 1-1 Goes to tiebreak; D Harika (Ind) beat Meri Arabisze (Geo) 1.5-0.5; Zhao Xue (Chn) lost to Natalija Pogonina (Rus) 1-1 goes to tiebreak; Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) drew with Pia Cramling (Swe) 1-1 goes to tiebreak.