Harika exits World Women’s Chess Championship

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Chennai: Indian chess Grandmaster Harika Dronavalli exited the World Women’s Chess Championship on Tuesday, losing the crucial semi-final tie-breaker to Ukraine Woman GM (WGM) Mariya Muzychuk.

The tie-breaker scores stood at 3.5-2.5 in favour of Muzychuk.

In the final, Muzychuk would face Russian WGM Natalija Pogonina who defeated Swedish GM Pia Cramling in another tie-breaker.

The day saw fortunes swinging between Muzychuk and Dronavalli. But in the end, some simple errors and a blunder cost the Indian the final berth.

It was Muzychuk only who had defeated another Indian GM and the top seed Humpy Koneru in the quarter-finals.

In the first tie-breaker, Dronavalli lost the game in 38 moves.

Playing white, Dronavalli opened the game by moving her knight to f3 square. Like their previous outing on Monday, Muzychuk opted for Dutch defence and pushed her ‘f’ pawn two squares forward.

“The first game was a complicated one and Harika made a blunder on the 37th move by bringing back her rook to c2 square,” WGM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman told IANS.

Prior to the rook move, Dronavalli had good attack on the black’s king with her queen, bishop and pawn.

However, the wrong move gave Muzychuk a golden opportunity to attack the Indian’s rook and queen and gobble up the rook.

For the Indian, the end came soon.

Bouncing back, Dronavalli won the second game despite being two pawns down at one point. With deft attack, she equalised the pawn deficit and in a tactical manner, pocketed Muzychuk’s knight.

After that, with good play, the Indian won the game.

“Despite a point down, Harika played well and kept the pressure on her opponent,” Subbaraman told IANS.

The third game turned out to be unlucky for Dronavalli. Despite having a winning position, one wrong queen move towards the end forced her to split the point at the end of 96th move.

It was a great escape for Muzychuk.

In the fourth game, Dronavalli’s defence with black pieces was not appropriate. She should have chosen some other variation than the Phildor, said Subbaraman.

The Indian was down by couple of pawns while Muzychuk had connected passers.

With Muzychuk on the verge of queening a pawn, the Indian resigned.

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