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Chess: Harika wins, Humpy draws

September 04, 2008 22:00 IST

Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy conceded her first half point after playing out an easy draw against Hoang Thanh Trang of Hungary in the first game of the pre-quarterfinals of World Women's Chess Championship in Nalchik.

Coming in to the round of 16 with a rest day after she got a bye in the second round, Humpy, who played with black pieces, did not have to stress herself after an insipid play by Trang who was apparently happy with the result.

It was a Trompowsky opening by Trang that led to a level position soon after and pieces got traded at regular intervals. The queens got off the board on move 17 and thereafter there was little doubt about the outcome of the game.

Further exchanges ensued in quick time and the two players reached a rook and pawns endgame to sign peace after 31 moves.

The other Indian in the fray, junior girls world champion Dronavalli Harika proved her superiority in the endgame to outplay Anna Muzychuk in the second rapid tie-breaker and sail into the third round.

After Harika and her opponent from Slovenia had drawn both the classical games, the tie-break became necessary to end the deadlock.

The first game of the rapid match also ended in a draw but Harika eventually scored a fighting victory in the second rapid game to move ahead in the Championship.

The first game saw Harika defending against the Maroczy bind with the black pieces, just as she did in the classical game. Muzychuk managed to obtain a strong central passed pawn but Harika exchanged pieces and forced a draw by perpetual check in the queen ending.

After drawing the first game of the rapid tie-breaks, the player seemed ready for a very complicated battle in the second.

Harika played the English opening and made her aggressive intentions clear by advancing her rook pawn very early in the game. In reply, Muzychuk launched a sharp counter-attack and the position remained unclear for a long time.

An error on the 37th move by Harika landed her in a spot of bother but Muzychuk erred in the endgame to hand over a gilt-edged opportunity to the Indian. Muzychuk struggled on till the 91st move but had to resign when she could not stop Harika's passed pawn from queening.

Meanwhile, former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria made a strong stride forward to the quarter-finals after beating Inna Gaponenko of Ukraine.

Coming with the black pieces, it was a highly satisfying victory for Stefanova who now just needs a draw in the return game to proceed to the next round.

14-year old Chinese wonder-girl Yifan Hoa outwitted Elena Sedina of Italy from a French defense game in just 28 moves.

The tournament is a knockout event with two games in each except the finals which is a four-games match. In case of a tied result in normal time control games, games of shorter duration are played to determine the winner.

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