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Rediff.com  » Sports » Harika settles for bronze after losing semis at World Championship

Harika settles for bronze after losing semis at World Championship

February 26, 2017 12:57 IST

This was the third bronze medal for the Indian Grandmaster at the FIDE World Women's Chess Championship.

Harika Dronavalli

IMAGE: Harika Dronavalli reacts after losing in the semi-finals of the FIDE World Women's Chess Championship in Tehran. Photograph courtesy: FIDE World Women's Chess Championship 2017

Indian Grandmaster Harika Dronavalli had to settle for the bronze medal after a heartbreaking defeat against Tan Zhongyi of China via the tie-breaker in the semi-finals of the FIDE World Women's Chess Championship in Tehran.

Harika missed several opportunities in the tie-breaker which turned out to a battle of nerves, as her Chinese opponent managed to register a narrow win and advance to the final, where she will take on Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine.

Zhongyi had drawn black in the final game which had five minutes to white against four to black with a two seconds increment from move 61 onwards.

Both players played extremely fast and Harika had an extra pawn when she entered the queens and pawns endgame, however, the Indian missed a couple of golden opportunities to trade queens favourable which would have led to a victory quite easily.

Instead, the Indian played on with queens for a long time and went down after 99 moves.

Harika Dronavalli

IMAGE: Harika Dronavalli, left, in action against Tan Zhongyi of China in the semi-finals of the FIDE World Women's Chess Championship in Tehran. Photograph courtesy: FIDE World Women's Chess Championship 2017

Earlier, Harika had started the day with a fine victory in the first game of the tie-breaker, winning in just 17 moves.

She could have drawn the second game itself to seal her entry to the finals but again fate was against her as she blundered from what was a drawn knights and pawns endgame.

In the second set of tie-breaker, Harika was lucky to survive though as she first lost as black and then was quite lucky to find a victory to level scores again.

The stage was set for blitz games wherein both games with five minutes and three seconds ended in draws leading to the final Armageddon game. The final scoreline for this semi-final was 5-4 in favour of Tan Zhongyi.

The US$ 450000 championship will feature a six-game clash for the World title between Muzychuk and Zhongyi.

Harika had to settle for a bronze medal for the third time.

In 2012, Harika had lost the semi-final against Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria while in 2015 she had lost to eventual winner Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine.

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