Harika walks in Rd 2 of world women's championship

Tehran (Iran): Fourth seeded Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika dumped Shamima Akter Liza of Bangladesh 1.5-0.5 in the tiebreak games and walked into the last 32 of World Women's chess championship here.

It was a tough first round outing for Harika in the 64-players knockout championship as she did not succeed in winning the match under normal time control against Shamima, rated more points lower than her on FIDE rating charts.

However, the Indian was at her best in the rapid encounter after drawing two normal games and won the first one with ease and then fought with vigour to hold the second game too. The victory helped her ease her way to the second round where only 32 players remain in the 450000 USD prize money championship.

Earlier the only other Indian in the fray Padmini Rout had already made it to the next round by beating Elina Danielian of Armenia. With Grandmaster Koneru Humpy not participating this year, this is a fine result for only two Indian qualifiers.

Harika was class apart from Shamima in the first game of the tiebreaker. As things turned out from the white side, Harika got an opposite coloured Bishops endgame with rooks and her pieces simply dominated the proceedings. Shamima had to resign when both Harika's rooks invaded the seventh rank.

In the second rapid game, Harika was facing a daunting task in defense yet again in her pet French defense but Shamima could not force matters, thanks to some deft manoeuvring. All the minor pieces got exchanged and the players arrived at a queens and pawns endgame that was eventually drawn.

Besides Harika, Zhao Xue, Sheng Yang and Hunag Qian from China were the other seeds who sailed through to the next round in the tiebreaker. 

PTI