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Humpy assured of Asian crown

Last updated on: August 24, 2003 21:10 IST

Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy is assured of the title in the 10th Asian women's chess championship.

After the penultimate round in the tournament, in Kozikhode on Sunday, she is placed on top of the table with a better progressive score.

The top seed (6.5 points) drew with Hoang Thanh Trang of Vietnam on Sunday to go into the final round with a full one point lead over five other players.

Humpy plays Vietnam's Le Kieu Thien Kim tomorrow. Even if those in second spot gain a point each with clear wins and Humpy loses, she will emerge champion, as all of will be tied with 6.5 points each. But by virtue of better progressive score Humpy will clinch the title.

Trailing in second spot are Trang, Le Kieu Thien Kim (both VIE), S Vijayalakshmi, D Harika (both IND) and Xu Yuanyuan (CHN).

After starting the tournament on a dull note, Humpy raced to the front by the third round and also beat tournament sensation Dronavalli Harika in the sixth round to make sure of the title.

The last time an Indian won the title was when Bhagyashree Thipsay emerged champion in Bhopal in 1991.

The top 12 players from the tournament will be eligible to play in the World chess championship.

Playing on the top-board, Humpy, who played a Nimzo-Indian defence, enjoyed a slight advantage by the 11th move to make room for her major pieces, pushing Trang on the defensive.

Although, Humpy committed a major blunder on the 26th move, she wriggled out of it and drew level by the 30th to ensure a draw in 35 moves.

After adopting an English opening, tournament sensation Harika made a positional error on her 12th move against Le Kieu Kim, but quickly bounced back to be on par by the 17th move to ensure a draw after 20 moves.

 On the third board, Woman Grandmaster S Vijayalakshmi engaged the Morphy variation against the Ruy-Lopez opening of Zhang Jilin and went for a rook exchange on the 24th move.

Though the Chennai girl enjoyed a slight advantage by the 30th move, Jilin neutralised the position soon to split points after a 57-move duel.

In another all-Chinese affair, Xu Yuanyuan beat second seed Zhao Xue on the fourth board to remain on 5.5 points in second place.

Results (eighth and penultimate round): Indians unless specified): 

Hoang Thanh Trang (VIE) 5.5 drew with K Humpy 6.5; D Harika 5.5 drew with Le Kieu Thien Kim (VIE) 5.5; Zhang Jilin (CHN) 5 drew with S Vijayalakshmi 5.5; Xu Yuanyuan (CHN) 5.5 bt Zhao Xue (CHN) 4.5; Li Ruofan (CHN) 5 drew with Bhagyashree Thipsay 5; Maria Sergeeva (KAZ) 4 lost to Wang Yu (CHN) 5; Aarthie Ramaswamy 4 lost to Xu Xiaobing (CHN) 5; S Meenakshi 4.5 drew with Tania Sachdev 4.5; Safira Shahnaz 4 lost to Huang Qian (CHN) 4; Shen Yang (CHN) 5 bt Y Pratibha 3.5; Nguyen Thi Thanh Anh (VIE) 4.5 bt Saimeera Ravi 3.5; Tian Tian (CHN) 4 beat J E Kavitha 3.5; Swati Ghate 3 lost to Nisha Mohota 4; Ruan Lufei (CHN) 4 bt Vineetha Wijesuriya (SRI) 3; Eesha Karavade 2.5 lost to Wang Pin (CHN) 3.5; Swati Mohota 3 drew with Anupama Gokhale 3; Koneru Chandrahawsa 3.5 bt P Priya 2; M R Sangeetha 3 bt Malinicheva Lidya (UZB) 0.5; K Lakshmi Praneetha 2 bt Parveen Syeda Shabana (BAN) 1.5.

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