Top-rated Grandmaster Koneru Humpy suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Natalia Zhukova of Ukraine in the first game of the second round at the World Women's Chess Championship, in Khanty Mansiysk (Russia), on Wednesday.
It turned out to be a bad day in office for the highest rated girl in the fray as she could not find her rhythm and now finds herself in a must-win situation with black pieces in the return game to stay in the knock-out championship.
While Humpy faces ouster, the other remaining Indian Grandmaster D Harika made early inroads to the pre-quarter-finals, defeating Elina Danielian of Armenia in her first game of the second round.
At the top of the tables, defending champion Yifan Hou of China remained on course for a third round appearance with an easy victory over experienced Monika Socko of Poland. The 18-year old Chinese was a picture of confidence as she thwarted the attempts for complications by Socko and recorded a smooth victory with black pieces.
Veteran Grandmaster Pia Cramling of Sweden also won her game at the expense of Irina Krush of United States and is now sitting pretty along with the other first game winners Zhao Xue of China and Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine.
Results: (Round 2 game 1): Monika Socko (Pol) lost to Yifan Hou (Chn); Koneru Humpy (Ind) lost to Natalia Zhukova (Ukr); Anna Ushenina (Ukr) drew with Anna Muzychuk (Slo); Zhao Xue (Chn) beat Nino Khurtsidze, (Geo); Lela Javakhishvili (Geo) drew with Kateryna Lahno (Ukr); Nadezhda Kosintseva (Rus) drew with Lilit Mkrtchian (Arm); Huang, Qian (Chn) drew with Viktorija Cmilyte (Ltu); Marie Sebag (Fra) drew with Olga Girya (Rus); Alisa Galliamova (Rus) drew with Valentina Gunina (Rus); Pia Cramling (Swe) beat Irina Krush (Usa); Hoang Thanh Trang (Hun) drew with Tatiana Kosintseva ( Rus); D Harika (Ind) beat Elina Danielian (Arm); Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr) beat Maritza Arribas Robaina (Cub); Alexandra Kosteniuk (Rus) drew with Natalija Pogonina (Rus); Anna Zatonskih (Usa) drew with Ju Wenjun (Chn); Antoaneta Stefanova (Bul) drew with Zhu Chen (Qat).