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India's Koneru Humpy out of World Chess Championship


India's Koneru Humpy out of World Chess Championship
(Image Credit: Pixabay)

Grandmaster Koneru Humpy's campaign in the women's world chess championship came to an end after she lost to Jolanta Zawadzka of Poland in the second game of the second round here.

The other Indian Grandmaster D Harika is now the only Indian remaining in the championship that started with 64 players.

Harika played out a second draw with Bela Khotenashvili of Georgia and will fight it out in the tie-break games of shorter duration.

Having drawn the first game as black rather easily, Humpy did not get the desired complications as white and her hunt for an elusive advantage ended on a disappointing note.

Back in chess just before the Olympiad after a nearly two-year hiatus, Humpy, who has been among the top women players for a long time, will now have to wait for another two years to have a go at the next world championship cycle.

Being ousted here in the second round might also mean that Humpy will need a direct seed in the proposed candidate's tournament for women.

It was a Queen's gambit accepted by Zawadzka through transposition from the opening and Humpy kept the position balanced for a long time.

Slow manoeuvring in the middle game saw the rooks pair getting traded and the queen and minor piece endgame looked like headed for a draw.

While the draw would have kept her in contention in the tie-breaker, Humpy decided to go for the breakthrough on the king side that compromised her own king's position.

Zawadzka was quick to pounce on the opportunity and some finely crafted manoeuvres saw her winning a pawn in the minor piece endgame that ensued.

The technicalities were not complex enough and the Polish won after 78 moves.

Harika continued with the King pawn opening as white and was up against a Caro Kann defense from Khotenashvili.

The Two Knights variation got a little wild after Harika sacrificed a pawn early in the middle game but the compensation was not enough to push for more.

Harika took a practical decision on move 18 and went for repeating the moves that yielded the half point after 20 moves.

Harika and Khotenashvili will first play two games with 25 minutes each and if still tied, will play two more games with 10 minutes each. If the deadlock continues, there will be two more games and if it is still not resolved, the players will be locked in a final Armageddon game to decide the winner.

Harika has been twice bronze-medallist in the championship that has a total prize pool of USD 4,50,000.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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