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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Harika in Quarter-Finals of Women's World Chess Championship 2012 in Khanty Mansiysk

KHANTY MANSIYSK (Russia): Grandmaster D Harika marched her way to the last-eight stage of the World Women's Chess Championship after disposing the challenge of Lela Javakhishvili of Georgia in the second game of the third round.
After drawing the first game easily with black, Harika played to her strength and outwitted Javakhishvili. The 1.5-0.5 victory also helped Harika gained some rating points apart from more assured prize money.

After the exit of top three seeds, fourth seed Zhao Xue of China also made it to the quarters following a victory over Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine.

Like Harika, Xue had also drawn the first game as black and a victory ensured her passage to the next round. Harika and Xue will meet in the next round now.

The championship this year is played on a knockout basis and highest rated Koneru Humpy, defending champion Yifan Hou of China and third seed Anna Muzychuk of Slovenia were ousted in the second round itself.

The ouster of Yifan caused a dent in Humpy's aspirations for a shy at the title in the world championship match in 2013 as Yifan has now qualified herself to play that match against the winner of this year's championship here.

Effectively it means, Humpy will have to wait at least two years to have a real chance of winning the title.

While Humpy is out, Harika has kept herself in contention and the way she has conducted her games thus far, the Andhra-based might find herself looking at the ultimate crown.

Playing the white side of a Catalan opening, Harika traded the queens early and created a permanent weakness on the king side which paid heave dividends. Javakhishvili could have defended better but she lost composure to lose a pawn without much compensation and thereafter Harika was in full command.

Guiding her pieces in the rightful manner, Harika seized control of the important squares soon after and dominated the board with skillful display of technical chess. Javakhishvili fought in vain as the writing was already on the wall.

Zhao Xue won out of an English opening against Muzychuk who played black. The Chinese showcased some special preparation in this game as Muzychuk did not stand a chance once white's attack started rolling on the king side. It was all over in 27 moves. (PTI)


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