As widely anticipated, K. Humpy and D. Harika played out a peaceful draw in 31 moves as the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix chess limped off to a slow start here on Sunday.
After all the drama surrounding the withdrawal of Kazakhstan’s Zhansaya Abdumalik subsided and action commenced, Germany’s Elisabeth Paehtz gave a walkover to R. Vaishali, the event’s lowest ranked player. She confirmed her withdrawal thereby leaving only 10 players in the field.
Since the withdrawals of Zhanasaya and Elisabeth came after the pairings were released, their rivals in each round will be given a bye, without any addition in their points tally,
Earlier, the possibility of an Indian replacement for Zhansaya was rejected by the overseas players as it would have meant a fourth Indian entry in the 12-player field.
Like the Humpy-Harika clash, there was an all-Georgia clash where Nino Batsiashvili drew with Nana Dzagnidze. The clash between two Russians, playing under the FIDE flag, saw Polina Shuvalova prove equal to a far more experienced Kateryna Lagno.
The results (Indians unless stated):
First round: K. Humpy drew with D. Harika; Polina Shuvalova (FIDE) drew with Kateryna Lagno (FIDE); Zhu Jiner (Chn) drew with Aleksandra Goryachkina (FIDE); Nana Dzagnidze (Geo) lost to Nino Batsiashvili (Geo); Bibisara Assaubayeva (Kaz), R. Vaishali bye.
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