FIDE Women's GP: Harika moves into lead

Dronavalli Harika has taken the sole lead with a shock victory over Koneru Humpy at the FIDE Women's Grand Prix. Harika possesses five points, while Humpy remains on 4.5 points after her first defeat of te tournament.

Harika has a 0.5 lead over prior leader Humpy.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

Dronavalli Harika shocked top seed and overnight sole leader Koneru Humpy in the seventh round of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix chess at Chengdu, China, on Saturday. The victory in the battle between two Telugu-speaking women has taken the fifth-seeded Harika to five points as she moved into the sole lead.

Humpy remains on 4.5 points, after tasting her first loss in this 12-player round-robin tournament. Two others, second seed Ju Wenjun of China and Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria, are also on 4.5 to share the second position.

The fight for the top spot should now be among Harika, Humpy, Wenjun and Stefanova. They are at least one full point ahead of the rest of the field. Four rounds remain.

Russia’s Valentina Gunina and Nana Dzanigdze are on top of the table in the Grand Prix, with 205 points each. Alexander Kosteniuk of Russia is placed third with 195 points, followed by Humpy and Zhao Xue, with 190 points each. Harika has 45 points, but unlike the leading players, she has played only one Grand Prix tournament (a contestant could play three). This is the fourth of the five legs in the 2015-16 cycle.

The results (seventh round): Tang Zhoyi (Chn) 2.5 drew with Zhao Xue (Chn) 2.5; Olga Girya (Rus) 3.5 drew with Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr) 3.5; Lela Javakhishvili (Geo) 2.5 drew with Bela Khotenashvili (Geo) 3.5; Ju Wenjun (Chn) 4.5 drew with Antoaneta Stefanova (Bul) 4.5; Dronavalli Harika (Ind) 5 bt Koneru Humpy (Ind) 4.5; Pia Cramling (Swe) 2.5 drew with Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) 3.