Other Sports, Posted on Nov 14, 2012 at 10:52pm IST
Khanty Mansiysk: Top-rated Grandmaster Koneru Humpy suffered a shock
defeat at the hands of Natalia Zhukova of Ukraine in the first game of the
second round of world women's chess championship here on Wednesdat.
It turned out to be a bad day in office for the highest rated girl in the
fray as she could not find her rhythm and now finds herself in a must-win
situation with black pieces in the return game to stay in the knockout
While Humpy faces ouster threat, the other remaining Indian Grandmaster D
Harika made early inroads to the pre-quarterfinals defeating Elina Danielian of
Armenia in her first game of the second round.
At the top of the tables, defending champion Yifan Hou of China remained on
course for third round appearance with an easy victory over experienced Monika
Socko of Poland. The 18-year old Chinese was a picture of confidence as she
thwarted the attempts for complications by Socko and recorded a smooth victory
with black pieces.
Veteran Grandmaster Pia Cramling of Sweden also won her game at the expense
of Irina Krush of United States and is now sitting pretty along with the other
first game winners Zhao Xue of China and Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine.
Humpy faced the Tarrasch defense against Zhukova and it was not surprising as
the Ukrainian's husband is a renowned expert of the variation. Surprisingly
enough, the players spent some time in the opening although much of the game was
Humpy felt the heat on the 22nd move when a correct move would have held the
position together and already it existed as a game had been played till that
position. It was clear from here that the opening surprise by Zhukova had paid
off well as the Indian continued to struggle even as there were mutual mistakes
in the remainder of the game.
Humpy now has a daunting task on hand as she needs a victory with black
pieces. Zhukova showed her depth in preparation in the first game and the Indian
will have to somehow get a playable position in the return game and look for a
fight till the end.
Harika played a highly inspirational game to get the better of Danielian.
Side-stepping in the Benoni defense as white was a success for the Indian,
Danielian fell in a prolonged tactical battle wherein pieces flew off the board
almost in a frenzy. When the dust subsided, Harika had two extra pawns and it
was over in just 33 moves.