Harika triumphs, Humpy leads Grand Prix table

With seven points each, the two Telugu-speaking ladies reached the top of the table at the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix at Chengdu, China, on thursday, but Harika walked away with the trophy, on account of having beaten Humpy earlier in the round-robin tournament.

Dronavalli Harika posing with the trophy.   -  Special Arrangement

Dronavalli Harika could not quite finish off the job herself, but she received one huge favour from Koneru Humpy. With seven points each, the two Telugu-speaking ladies reached the top of the table at the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix at Chengdu, China, on thursday, but Harika walked away with the trophy, on account of having beaten Humpy earlier in the round-robin tournament. The fifth seed from Hyderabad had to settle for a draw with Olga Girya of Russia in her final round encounter.

That ensured she would at least tie for the top prize and share the Grand Prix points as well as the prize money. But, she could become the champion only if Humpy beat Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria in the battle between two players on six points. The top seed from Vijayawada obliged, as she won, with a knight sacrifice to boot. Besides making Harika happy, Humpy put herself firmly on top of the Grand Prix table, with 335 points, well ahead of the second-placed Ju Wenjun of China (253.5), who, however, has one more event to play.

So has Harika, who has taken her tally to 190 points. She was the only unbeaten player at Chengdu as she registered one of the best performances of her career. The fifth and final leg of the Grand Prix will be held at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, from October 12 to 27.

Results (11th round)

The standings: Lela Javakhishvili (Geo) 5 drew with Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr) 5.5; Ju Wenjun (Chn) 6 drew with Tan Zhoyi (Chn) 4; Dronavalli Harika (Ind) 7 drew with Olga Girya (Rus) 5; Pia Cramling (Swe) 3.5 lost to Zhao Xue (Chn) 5.5; Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) 6 bt Bela Khotenashvili (Geo) 5.5; Koneru Humpy (Ind) 7 bt Antaoneta Stefanova (Bul) 6.

The standings: 1-2. Harika & Humpy 7; 3-5. Wenjun, Stefanova & Anna 6; 6-8. Khotenashvili, Zhao & Mariya 5.5; 9-10. Javakhishvili & Girya 5; 11. Zhongyi 4;12. Cramling 3.5.