Lone In­dian in the fray, Harika draws with Koste­niuk in World Chess

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Htsportsmax - Press Trust of In­dia sports­desk@hin­dus­tan­times.com

In­dian Grand­mas­ter D Harika played out a hard-fought draw against for­mer cham­pion Alexan­dra Koste­niuk in the first game of the third round in the Women’s World Chess Cham­pi­onships here on Satur­day.

The lone sur­viv­ing In­dian in the tour­na­ment, Harika looked poised to crash through. How­ever, Koste­niuk re­mained in the game with some tena­cious de­fence and saved the day in the endgame.

Harika will have black in the re­turn game and if his­tory is any­thing to go by, the In­dian may have an edge in the en­counter against the Rus­sian. It was an easy start in the Cata­lan open­ing as white and Koste­niuk equal­ized in the early mid­dle game. The pressure was built by Harika when she broke through in the cen­tre and launched an of­fence with her well placed pieces. Harika was re­warded with a passed pawn in the process and the squeeze con­tin­ued de­spite the trade of queens. Koste­niuk re­alised that pas­sive de­fence was the best so­lu­tion and stuck to the ba­sics in find­ing many right moves to keep Harika at bay.

In the end, the play­ers reached a the­o­ret­i­cally drawn rook and pawns endgame. Top seed Ju Wen­jun of China scored over com­pa­triot Zhai Mo as black to al­most as­sure her en­try to the pre-quar­ter­fi­nals.

KHANTY MANSIYSK (RUS­SIA):

Results of Round 3 Game 1: Zhai Mo (Chn) lost to Ju Wen­jun (Chn); Jolanta Zawadzka (Pol) beat Ab­du­ma­lik Zhansaya (Kaz); Natal­ija Po­go­nina (Rus) drew with Kateryna Lagno (Rus); Anna Muzy­chuk (Ukr) beat An­toaneta Ste­fanova (Bul); D Harika (Ind) drew with Alexan­dra Koste­niuk (Rus); Alisa Gal­liamova (Rus) drew with Lei Tingjie (Chn); Ali­nasab Mobina (Iri) drew with Mariya Muzy­chuk (Ukr); Gul­rukhbe­gim Tokhir­jonova (Uzb) beat Valentina Gun­ina (Rus).

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