Harika Dronavalli edges out Nana Dzagnidze to enter semis

Paola Ditto
Febbraio 23, 2017

Capitalising on a blunder by Nana Dzagnidze, D. Harika pulled off clinical victory to move 1-0 ahead in the two-game mini-match of the Women World chess championship quarterfinals here on Monday.

The day's only other victor was Ukrainian Anna Muzychuk who defeated former champion Bulgaria's Antoaneta Stefanova in 39 moves. Harika previously missed out on a very hard yet golden opportunity to advance after going down to Dzagnidze in the second game of the two-game mini-match.

Like Harika, Muzychuk is also just a draw away from entering the last-four stage while rating favourites Wenjun and Kosteniuk will try harder in the return games when they play with white pieces.

Harika was back to her best in the rapid games as she won the first game displaying some fantastic technique and then drew the second game to set up a semi-final clash against Tan Zhongyi of China.

The quarter-final tie in the Georgian also went to the tiebreak after the Indian put up an incredibly brilliant strategic performance to clinch the first game which took her a full point lead against the Georgian. It was a pretty fine game from both sides till Dzagnidze fell for a fine tactical trick on the 39th move. Dzagnidze gave up her rook to prevent Harika's central pawn from "queening" and soon resigned.

With Dzagnidze out of the way, Harika now has to tackle ninth seed Tan Zhongyi of China before she can become the first Indian ever to make it to the finals of a knockout women's World Championship. The stakes are getting higher in the 450000 Dollars prize money event. It was in time trouble that the Bulgarian went wrong and her position collapsed in quick time.

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