After an easy opening win, Grandmaster Koneru Humpy will take on International Master Jovanka Houska of England in the second round of the World Women’s chess championship.

Humpy beat Melissa Greeff of South Africa with a 2-0 margin but faces a tougher opponent in Jovanka who has beaten a few Grandmasters in the past.

The first round saw the elimination of three out of five Indians in the fray and besides Humpy, GM norm holder D Harika is the other Indian in the fray who will take on Tatiana Shadrina of Russia in the second round.

The 64-player knockout event with a prize pool of USD 450,000 is now reduced to 32 participants and both Humpy and Harika are rating favourites to be in the pre-quarter final.

The biggest upset of the first round was recorded by local hopeful Betul Cemre Yildiz who outsmarted Grandmaster Pia Cramling in a match of nerves to remain in the championship.

Meanwhile, in the tiebreak games of the first round there were no major surprises. A flutter though was caused by Zhang Xiowen of China who eliminated Lilit Mkrtchian of Armenia.

Apart from Zhang Xiaowen, Chinese duo of Huang Qian and Ruan Lufei, Elisabeth Paehtz of Germany, Hoang Thanh Trang of Hungary, Almira Skripchenko of France and Yelena Dembo of Greece joined the overnight 25 participants who had already made it to the second round.

Among the winners, Elisabeth Paehtz confidently won her match against Iolanta Zawadzka winning both the rapid games

Xiaowen had luck on her side in the endgame that arose in the first tiebreak game as the Armenian player fell short of time and blundered a bishop thinking she was winning. In the return game with black Mkrtchian sacrificed a piece and developed dangerous attack on the white king only to squander away a checkmate in three and lost again.

The only match that reached the blitz tiebreaker was between Cristina-Adela Foisor of Romania and Almira Skripchenko. A champion blitz player won easily to advance to the next stage.

Keywords: World Women’s chess