Hatay ( TURKEY), Dec 15:
Koneru Humpy secured a much-needed draw against China’s Ju Wenjun in the second game of the quarterfinals to enter the semifinals of the World Women’s Chess Championship.
Humpy, who had made the semifinals in the last edition of the championship too, will face Yifan Hao of China in the next match. Yifan had ousted the Indian in 2008.
The other Indian in the fray, D Harika was forced into another tiebreaker after she played out a second successive draw with Ruan Lufei of China.
Harika will first play two rapid games and if the tied result continues, it will be a blitz tiebreaker to follow.
Should the deadlock continue the players will play an Armageddon blitz game with five minutes to white and four to black and black will stay on even in case of a draw.
In the other quarterfinal matches, Yifan Hao also obtained the draw she was looking for against Kateryna Lahno of Ukraine and won the mini-match by a 1.5-0.5 margin like Humpy while Zhao Xue of China won a tense game to show Almira Skripchenko the exit door.
Come what may, the World championship is set to come back to Asia as only players from India and China remain in the fray.
Humpy was made to work hard by Ju Wenjun who played the white side of a Trompovsky opening. The Indian star had to find a few correct moves in the middle game to stay afloat and once Wenjun came up with a queen sacrifice for two pieces, Humpy was already within the striking distance of a draw.
Finally it was two rooks versus a queen and a pawn for Humpy and she had little trouble in maintaining the balance. Seeing no way out, Wenjun allowed the repetition of moves and settled for a draw after 60 moves.
Harika played the Sicilian Classical to test Ruan Lufei who played white in the return game. After routine opening manoeuvres, Harika exchanged the queens and was one pawn less but her active pieces compensated for the material deficit.
Ruan Lufei made some progress by winning the second pawn but it did not prove enough for a victory as Harika forced a draw through perpetual checks after 38 moves.
Zhao Xue defeated France’s Almira Skripchenko for a 1.5-0.5 triumph. It was an unusual Ivan’s gambit by Almira that scripted her downfall as she could not get the desired attacking position.
A simple oversight in the middle game cost Almira dear as she lost a piece and after that it was just child’s play for the Chinese, who won in 50 moves.
Yifan Hao had the advantage of white pieces and faced the Pirc defense from Kateryna who tried everything to make it a complicated affair.
Yifan, however, remained on her guard to steer the game to a draw in the Bishops and pawns endgame that ensued. Kateryna, who defeated Parimarjan Negi in a match in New Delhi a few years back, signed her exit papers from this knockout championship after 43 moves.
Results quarterfinals: Koneru Humpy (Ind) beat Ju Wenjun (Chn) 1.5-0.5; Yifan Hao (Chn) beat Kateryna Lahno (Ukr) 1.5-0.5; Almira Skripchenko (Fra) lost to Zhao Xue (Chn) 0.5-1.5; D Harika (Ind) drew with Ruan Lufei (Chn) 1-1, goes to tiebreak.