FIDE Women's GP: Humpy, Harika in contention for title

Three players - the Indian duo of Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika, and Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria - will go into the final round on Thursday with hopes of lifting the trophy.

Dronavalli Harika (right) enjoys a 0.5 point lead over Koneru Humpy as the FIDE Grand Prix tournament enters the final day at Chengdu, China.   -  Special Arrangement

The FIDE Women’s Grand Prix chess at Chengdu, China, is set for a fascinating finale. Three players - the Indian duo of Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika, and Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria - will go into the final round on Thursday with hopes of lifting the trophy.

To make it even more interesting, the top-seeded Humpy and Stefanova, seeded seventh but a former World champion, comes face to face. Humpy will play with white pieces.

Fifth seed Harika has a much easier task, as she will meet Russia’s Olga Girya, the lowest-ranked player among the 12 women competing in the tournament. And she will have white pieces, too.

Harika leads

Besides, the fifth-seeded Harika is half-a-point ahead of her two rivals. After drawing with China’s Zhao Xue in the 10th round on Wednesday, the Hyderabad player has 6.5 points. So, all she needs is to avoid a loss, to win – or at least share – the top prize.

Harika, thus, is still sitting pretty in this fourth of the five Grand Prix events for 2015-16. She is one of the two unbeaten players in the tournament, Stefanova being the other.

Should she falter at the last hurdle, either Humpy or Stefanova could come first, provided there is a decisive result in their game. It was her victory with black pieces over 2015 World champion and fourth seed Mariya Muzychuk that has put the Vijayawada player back in contention, after suffering two losses in the second half of the tournament.

Stefanova drew with Mariya’s older sister Anna Muzychuk to retain her chances.

The results (10th round): Zhoa Xue (Chn) 4.5 drew with Dronavalli Harika (Ind) 6.5; Antoaneta Stefanova (Bul) 6 drew with Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) 5; Bela Khotenashvili (Geo) 5.5 bt Pia Cramling (Swe) 3.5; Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr) 5 lost to Koneru Humpy (Ind) 6; Olga Girya (Rus) 4.5 drew with Ju Wenjun (Chn) 5.5; Tan Zhongyi (Chn) 3.5 drew with Lela Javakhishvili (Geo) 4.5.