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Harika Dronavalli enters semis of World Chess Championship, assured of bronze

Harika Dronavalli overcame a tough challenge from Nana Dzagnidze to enter the semi-final of the Women’s World Ches championship in Tehran, asuring her of the bronze medal.

other sports Updated: Feb 23, 2017 08:21 IST
Harika Dronavalli,World Chess Championship,Indian chess
Harika Dronavalli will be aiming to become the first Indian women Grand Master to win the World Chess Championship. (HT Photo)

Harika Dronavalli’s dream run in the Women’s World Chess championship in Tehran continued as she entered the semi-final of the tournament by overcoming Georgia’s Nana Dzagnidze in the tie-break encounter.

Harika will now face China’s Tan Zhongyi in the semi-final as she aims to become India’s first women’s world chess champion. This is the third time Harika has reached the semi-finals in world championships. She had to settle for bronze medal in the last edition in 2015 is Sochi, Russia, losing to Ukraine’s Maria Muzychuk.

The Indian Grandmaster had started off well by winning her first game against Dzagnidze in the quarter-final with white but suffered a setback as she lost in black pieces in a tough 76-move encounter.

In the first-tie-break, she faced a tough battle but got the better of Dzagnidze in a gruelling 70-move encounter. In the second tie-break, she held her nerve in a tough 71-move battle as she drew the game and progressed to the semi-final.

The Indian Grandmaster’s experience of tie-breakers in the previous rounds served her well in the quarter-final. In her first round encounter with Bangladesh International Master Akter Liza Shamima, she won the tie-breaker to advance to the next round. In the second round, she once again faced a tie-break situation when she overcame Kazakhstan chess player Dinara Saduakassova.

In the third round, Harika overcame Sopiko Guramishvilli in the tie-break while in the fourth she squandered the advantage against Dzagnidze but held her nerve in the tie-break.

Harika will be aiming to become the first Indian women Grand Master to win the World Chess Championship. The closest India have come close to producing a woman world champion was Koneru Humpy in 2011 when she squared off against World No.1 Hou Yifan from China but she lost the 10-game encounter.

First Published: Feb 22, 2017 22:30 IST