World Chess C'ship: Harika punishes Dzagnidze

Capitalizing on a blunder by Nana Dzagnidze, D. Harika pulled off a clinical victory to move 1-0 ahead in the two-game mini-match of the Women's World Chess Championship quarterfinals here on Monday.

Harika Dronavalli

Harika Dronavalli came up trumps in the first game against Nana Dzagnidze.   -  R. Ragu

Capitalizing on a blunder by Nana Dzagnidze, D. Harika pulled off a clinical victory to move 1-0 ahead in the two-game mini-match of the Women's World Chess Championship quarterfinals here on Monday.

Playing white, Harika was fairly comfortable in the French Defence game until the 38th move though both players had to keep an eye on their clocks to finish 40 moves in stipulated time. At this point, Dzagnidze erroneously captured Harika’s white-squared bishop instead of the one on the dark square. Harika saw the precise continuation and planted her queen in the enemy territory. Dzagnidze had no choice but to trade her queen for Harika’s rook and bishop. Thereafter, Harika tightened the noose and the Georgian gave up on the 47th move.

Harika now needs to stay undefeated with black pieces on Tuesday to advance to the semfinal.

The day’s only other winner was Ukrainian Anna Muzychuk who defeated former champion Bulgaria’s Antoaneta Stefanova in 39 moves.

The results:

Quarterfinals: Game One: D. Harika bt Nana Dzagnidze (Geo); Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) bt Antoaneta Stefanova (Bul); Ni Shiqun (Chn) drew with Alexandra Kosteniuk (Rus); Tan Zhongyi (Chn) drew with Ju Wenjun (Chn).