Koneru Humpy’s campaign to earn the right to mount challenge for next year’s Women’s World chess championship got off to a perfect start at Monte Carlo on Tuesday. She won her first game against Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine in the FIDE Women’s Candidates.
The quarterfinal match has three more games. In the opening game of the other quarterfinal in Pool A, China’s Lei Tingjie defeated Maria Muzychuk, Anna’s younger sister.
The winners of these matches will face off in the semifinal, which would also be a best-of-four affair. The matches in Pool B will see the Russians Alexandra Kosteniuk and Aleksandra Goryachkina facing each other and China’s Tan Zhongyi taking on Kateryna Lagno of Russia.
The winner of the final will get the privilege to challenge the reigning World champion Ju Wenjun of China. That World title match will be held next year.
On Tuesday, Humpy’s task was made easier by Anna, who faltered early on, playing from the black side of a Queen’s Gambit Accepted. The Ukrainian’s decision to take her bishop, on the 18th move, to the wrong square weakened her position.
Her next move, with the king, was even worse, giving the Indias a decisive advantage. Humpy sealed her win with a nice tactical manoeuvre. She went an exchange up and forced Anna to resign after 24 moves.