Women World Championship: Harika struggles to advance

On Tuesday, Fourth seed D. Harika will take on Kazakhstan’s Dinara Saduakassova in the second round of the Women World chess championship here on Monday.

Harika was leading 2-1 on aggregate on the 49th move and needed to stay undefeated with black pieces to advance.   -  R. Ragu

Fourth seed D. Harika battled past a determined Bangladeshi rival Akter Liza Shamima 2.5-1.5 by virtue of winning the first of the two 25-minute rapid tie-break games for a place in the second round of the Women World chess championship here on Monday.

On Tuesday, Harika will take on Kazakhstan’s Dinara Saduakassova. Padmini Rout, who upstaged Armenia’s Elina Danielian 1.5-0.5 on Monday, faces eighth seeded Chinese Zhao Xue, the 2002 World junior girls champion.

Locked 1-1 following the classical games, Harika drew first blood by proving stronger with white pieces in the first rapid game. The Indian stayed in control and eventually managed to establish her rooks on the seventh rank.

Staring at defeat, Shamima gave up on the 49th move. At this stage, Harika was leading 2-1 on aggregate and needed to stay undefeated with black pieces to advance.

On a day when the live telecast of the games was seriously hampered after a technical glitch, Shamima enjoyed a better position from the early stages of the second game but failed to capitalize. In this error-filled encounter, Harika, too, had her moments but did not find the precise continuation. Eventually, Harika forced the exchange of queens and drew in 75 moves.