India’s challenge at the World Women Chess Championship ended with grandmaster D Harika bowing out following a defeat against former champion Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia in the second set of tie-break games in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia.
Harika had carried the Indian hopes nicely till the tie-breaker of the third round. However, she got a jolt in the first game of the rapid tie-break where both players had 25 minutes on their clock.
The Indian looked down and out but a major comeback was on the cards as she won the return game with white pieces to level scores.
But in the 10-minute games, Harika again lost the first game with black on Sunday.
While it is up to the pundits to decide her downfall, it was the same opening she chose with black -- the Isolated queen pawn opening position coming out of a French Tarrasch.
Kosteniuk was confident as she had been successful in her first attempt. And as it happened, her instinct held her well.
The Isolated pawn in French defense has been considered about equal for a long time but has not been a taker in elite chess. The reason is probably a slightly worse position that black has to defend a long time.
Harika had been banking on her defense, but unfortunately on this day, things did not work in her favour.
After losing the second game, Harika was in a must-win situation with white, but she could only manage a draw.
The US$450000 championship will continue without an Indian representation in the last three rounds.
Results after round 3: Zhai Mo (CHN) lost to Ju Wenjun (CHN) 0.5-1.5; Jolanta Zawadzka (POL) lost to Abdumalik Zhansaya (KAZ) 1.5-2.5; Natalija Pogonina (RUS) lost to Kateryna Lagno (RUS) 4-5; Anna Muzychuk (UKR) beat Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL) 2.5-1.5; D Harika (IND) lost to Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS) 1.5-2.5; Alisa Galliamova (RUS) lost to Lei Tingjie (CHN) 1-3; Alinasab Mobina (IRI) lost to Mariya Muzychuk (UKR) 0.5-1.5; Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova (UZB) beat Valentina Gunina (RUS) 3-1.