Humpy takes lead; Harika held in World Chess Championship

Hatay (Turkey): Top rated Grandmaster Koneru
Humpy took an early lead against Ju Wenjun of China while GM
norm holder D Harika played out a draw with another Chinese
Ruan Lufei in the first game of the quarterfinals of the World
Women`s Chess Championship here.

With another victory in the first game itself, Humpy will
now need just a draw in the return game to make it to the
last-four that has been her performance till date in a World

If she wins her match, Humpy is likely to meet Yifan Hao
of China who had ousted her in the last World Championship.
It might be an all Indian affair if Harika continues with
her impressive form as both of them are in different groups
and can meet only in the finals.

In other games of the quarters, Yifan Hao defeated
Kateryna Lahno of Ukraine while Almira Skripchenko of France
played out a draw with Zhao Xue of China.

A just indication of Asian presence in Women`s chess is
that there are three Chinese and two Indians left amongst last
eight participants in this 450000 USD prize money

Humpy got a positional plus with her white pieces in a
queen pawn game. Playing correctly in the middle game
thereafter, Humpy knocked down one pawn and seemed like
cruising home till Ju Wenjun created some counter play on the
king`s side and provoked a mistake from the Indian.

After reaching a comfortable position, luck deserted the
Chinese again as she blundered a couple of pawns and her
position was beyond repairs.

Harika also played white but could not use it more
favourably. Playing the Queen pawn the former World Junior
girls` champion obtained slightly better position with some
finely crafted manoeuvres but Ruan was equally up to the task
in finding the best resources.

As it happened in the game subsequent exchanges led to a
balanced endgame wherein Harika had the Bishop pair but there
were very few pawns left to cause any real damage. The draw
was a just result.

Zhao Xue lost a pawn against Almira but it was not enough
for the French player to convert into a full point while
Kateryna Lahno`s overambitious play cost her a full point
against Yifan Hao.

Kateryna had a little advantage with an extra pawn but
Yifan had counter-play. Instead of making accurate draw, the
Ukrainian strove for more and was duly punished.

Results game one quarterfinals: Koneru humpy (Ind) beat
Ju Wenjun (Chn); Yifan Hao (Chn) beat Kateryna Lahno (Ukr);
Zhao Xue (Chn) drew with Almira Skripchenko (Fra); D Harika
(Ind) drew with Ruan Lufei (Chn).