FIDE Grand Prix: Harika loses to Kosteniuk; slips to third spot

Dronavalli Harika was beaten by Russia's former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk in a Berlin defence game in 55 moves late on Saturday.

Harika has 3.5 points after six rounds and is joint third alongside Nana Dzagnidze.   -  Special Arrangement

Indian Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika went down to former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk in the sixth round of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix chess tournament here to slip to third spot.

The Indian no.2 was outmanoeuvred by the Russian in a Berlin defence game in 55 moves late on Saturday.

It was the first loss for Harika in the tournament after two wins and three draws. On the other hand, the win was change in fortunes for Kosteniuk, who had struggled thus far and had lost three straight games.

The world no. 9 Harika will face Zhansaya Abdumalik in the seventh round on Monday after a rest day.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Alexandra Goryachkina and her compatriot Alena Kashlinskaya moved to joint lead with four points.

READ | FIDE Grand Prix: Harika stays in joint lead after draw in round 5

While Goryachkina was held to a draw by Ukraine’s Anna Muzychuk, her countrywoman outplayed France’s Marie Sebag in 30 moves.

World champion Ju Wenjun’s moderate run continued as she had to settle for a 73-move draw against Swedish veteran Pia Cramling. The Chinese player now has 2.5 points and lies in ninth place.

The strong tournament featuring 12 players, including world champion Wenjun, is the third in the series of four Grand Prix from which two with the highest points tally would qualify for the next candidates event.

Results:

Round 6: Dronavalli Harika (IND) 3.5 lost to Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS) 2; Alexandra Goryachkina (RUS) 4 drew with Anna Muzychuk (UKR) 3; Nana Dzagnidze (GEO) 3.5 drew with Mariya Muzychuk (UKR) 3; Ju Wenjun (CHN) 2.5 drew with Pia Cramling (SWE) 3; Alena Kashlinskaya (RUS) 4 beat Marie Sebag (FRA) 2; Antoneta Stefanova (BUL) 2 lost to Zhansaya Abdumalik (KAZ) 3.5.