It was mixed fortunes for India in the ongoing Women’s World Chess Championship in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia. India’s hopes now rest on Dronavalli Harika after the shock exit of second seed Koneru Humpy. The second round turned out to be carnage for seeds as world champion Hou Yifan of China and third seed Anna Muzychuk of Slovenia also bowed out.
Coming into the tournament as the highest-ranked player, Humpy eased into the second round with a 2-0 victory over Denise Frick. After losing the first game in her mini-match against Ukraine’s Natalia Zhukova, Humpy required victory in the second game to stay afloat. However, the Indian, after gaining advantage in the middle game, lost her way in a tricky position to lose her game and bow out of the event. Last year, Humpy had lost the world title match to Hou Yifan in Tirana. She has to wait for the next world championship to have another shot at the world title, which is the only title missing in her resume.
India No 2 Harika moved into the last 16 with impressive 1.5-0.5 victories over Soumya Swaminathan of India and Elina Danielian of Armenia. The Indian faces Georgia’s Lela Javakhishvili in the pre-quarterfinals. Harika, who performed admirably for India in the Chess Olympiad, will be looking to improve on her quarterfinal (2010) showing in the world championship.
The biggest shock of the tournament was the exit of two-time world champion Hou Yifan.
After winning the first game against Monika Socko in the second round, Hou just required a draw to advance. In a remarkable reversal of fortunes, the Pole took the match to the tie-breaker by winning with black. She followed it up with a 2-0 victory in the rapid games tie-breaker to end the Chinese’s reign as world champion.
Muzychuk, who has made tremendous progress in the last one year, went down to Ukraine’s Anna Ushenina in the rapid games tie-breaker (0-2) after the mini-match ended 1-1.
- Sunday Standard