Indian Grandmasters Koneru Humpy and D Harika played out draws with black pieces against Jolanta Zawadzka of Poland and Bela Khotenashvili of Georgia respectively in the first game of the second round of world women’s chess championship.
It turned out to be an easy day for Humpy as she played out a chanceless draw with black pieces. If her opening choice was any indication, Humpy had reasons to be pleased with the outcome as it came without much sweat.
The Petroff defense holds a solid reputation and Zawadzka went for one of the fashionable lines that netted no advantage. A couple of minor pieces changed hands early and once the two rooks got traded on the only open file, the players knew there was nothing left to play for. The peace was signed in a mere 26 moves.
Harika, who also played with black, tried hard till the very end but the Georgian Khotenashvili was quite up to the task in defense. A slight advantage in this game fluctuated a couple of times as Khotenashvili could boast of a slight opening advantage out of a Trompovsky opening while Harika pushed for her chances in the endgame.
It was a fierce contest in the end with Harika fighting for every inch in the rook and minor piece endgame. The position however petered out to a draw after 64 moves.
Top seed and reigning world champion Ju Wenjun of China meanwhile staked her claim for an entry in to the third round crushing Irana Krush of United States with awesome ease while in a big upset of the second round, Ekaterina Atalik of Turkey shocked former champion Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine.
The Women’s world championship that started with 64-players in a knockout format is now down to 32 contestants. The total prize pool is USD 450000, out of which USD 60000 is reserved for the winner.