Harika, Padmini through to the pre-quarters of World Women’s Championship

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Harika Dronavalli entered the pre-quarterfinals of the Women’s World Chess Championship while Padmini Rout also made progress. Image Source: twitter

Internet Desk: Indian grandmaster Dronavalli Harika and International Master Padmini Rout remained in hunt for creating history by winning in tie-breaks of the Round 2 and through to the last-16 stage of World Women’s Chess Championship.

After drawing both tiebreak games under normal time control with Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan, it was time for Harika to showcase her skills in the faster version of the game and she did not disappoint her fans. The first game turned out to be good for the Indian as she won and a draw in the return rapid game sealed her berth in the next round.

It was a much harder task for Padmini as she was up against Zhao Xue, a former world junior girls’ champion from China, ranked eighth at the start of the championship. Padmini was under pressure but turned the tables on Xue in the first game itself and finished the second one in style as Xue tried to win from an equal position.

In the next round, Harika will take on Sopiko Guramishvili of Georgia, while Padmini will meet another Chinese in Tan Zhongyi.

Two matches got stretched to the final Armageddon game. The most interesting clash was between Zhongyi and former champion Anna Ushenina of China where both players won three games apiece with black pieces before Zhongyi won the tiebreaker by virtue of drawing the final game as black.

The all Georgian duel between Nino Batsiashvili and Nino Khurtsidze ended in favour of the latter in an Armageddon game.

Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia, Shen Yang and Ni Shiqun of China, Olga Girya of Russia had earlier defeated their respective opposition 2-0 to qualify for the third round in the 450000 USD prize money championship.

Harika gave an endgame lesson to Saduakassova out of a Sicilian defense game as white. Getting a small advantage thanks to a protected passed pawn in the centre, Harika manoeuvred her Bishop and rook well to net a pawn and the game.

Saduakassova tried hard to make amends in the return game but the Indian was up to the task. Sensing her queen will hold off two white rooks in the endgame, Harika had little trouble in holding the draw.

Padmini had her back to the wall in a Catalan opening as black but fought on with vigour, only to see Xue blundering her queen in the first game that almost secured her victory in the match.

With inputs from PTI.

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