World Chess C’ship: Gritty Harika wins marathon, forces tie-breaker

Harika finally got her act right in a 162-move marathon to draw level with China’s Tan Zhongyi 1-1 in their Women’s World Chess Championship semifinal match.

After struggling to make good of the chances Zhongyi offered in this six-hour game, Harika did well to reach a position where she had to checkmate her rival with a bishop and a knight in 50 moves   -  S.R. Raghunathan

Facing the pressure of a must-win situation, a nervous D. Harika finally got her act right in a 162-move marathon to draw level with China’s Tan Zhongyi 1-1 in their Women’s World Chess Championship semifinal match. They will now play rapid tie-break games on Saturday.

After struggling to make good of the chances Zhongyi offered in this six-hour game, Harika did well to reach a position where she had to checkmate her rival with a bishop and a knight in 50 moves, beginning from the 117th move when the last pawn was captured.

From this point, Harika’s nerves got the better of her on several occasions as she struggled to find the right way to checkmate. Amid mounting tension, with the Chinese threatening to extend her resistance to the 167-move mark, Harika got back to the basics of checkmating with a bishop and a knight. When Harika came within one move of delivering a checkmate, Zhongyi resigned.