China’s Ju Wenjun lived up to her reputation and defeated Anna Ushenina in the final round to win the blitz title at the Tata Steel Chess India tournament at the National Library on Monday.
The 32-year-old from China has been the World champion since 2018, her latest triumph coming just six weeks ago.
She was given a stiff fight, though, by Koneru Humpy. The former World rapid champion from Vijayawada, seeded second here, had to settle for the runner-up spot, despite winning her last–round encounter against the blitz champion Divya Deshmukh.
Humpy scored 12 points, just half point behind Ju. Third seed Dronavalli Harika ended up third, while Divya, whom Humpy later described as the next star, was fourth.
The final day had begun with Harika and Ju on top of the table. But in the day’s first game, Humpy defeated Ju to strengthen her bid for the top prize.
A draw in the penultimate draw with Ushenina would prove costly in the end for Humpy, as would the shock defeat for Harika to Vantika Agrwal. Ju’s win over B. Savitha Shri gave her a half-a-point lead, going into the final round.
The open tournament begins on Tuesday. R. Praggnanandhaa and D. Gukesh would very much be in focus, after their recent exploits. Nihal Sarin, who won the blitz event last year, is missing from the strong field which is headed by France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave .
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