Grandmaster D Harika settled for a second straight draw with former champion Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia to set up a tie-breaker against the same opponent in the third round of the World Women's Chess Championship in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, on Saturday.
After the first game against the same opponent ended in a draw, Harika was with black pieces in the second and she employed a French defence and Kosteniuk did not have many answers.
The opening turned out to be pleasing for black and Harika was quick to neutralise with a finely crafted pawn advance that saw exchange of a few pieces leading to a balanced endgame.
While in the first game, Harika had fought for a long time to find an advantage, as black she was happy to call it a draw in just 29 moves.
Harika will now take her chances in the rapid chess games of 25 minutes given to each player and if the scores are tied, they play a couple of games with ten minutes each.
If still tied, it will be two games of five minutes on the clock and if the deadlock persists, the final Armageddon game will decide the winner.
Starting from the first round, Harika has been playing every day. The Indian was stretched into the tiebreaker in the first round against Khukhashvili of Georgia while in the second another Georgian Bela Khotenashvili had kept her engaged in the faster version of the game.
The Women's World Championship is likely to be the last knockout event as the recently changed leadership in FIDE, the World Chess Federation, is looking at some definite ground breaking changes in the women's chess format.
The US$450000 championship is currently down to last 16 contestants and Harika is the last remaining Indian in the fray following the ouster of national champion Padmini Rout, Asian continental winner Bhakti Kulkarni and star player Koneru Humpy.
Results of Round 3 Game 2: Zhai Mo (Chn) drew with Ju Wenjun (Chn) 0.5-1.5 Wenjun qualifies; Jolanta Zawadzka (Pol) playing Abdumalik Zhansaya (Kaz); Natalija Pogonina (Rus) playing Kateryna Lagno (Rus); Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) playing Antoaneta Stefanova (Bul); D Harika (Ind) playing Alexandra Kosteniuk (Rus); Alisa Galliamova (Rus) drew with Lei Tingjie (Chn) 1-1 goes to tiebreak; Alinasab Mobina (Iri) playing Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr); Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova (Uzb) lost to Valentina Gunina (Rus) 1-1 goes to tie-break.
Results of Round 3 Game 1: Zhai Mo (Chn) lost to Ju Wenjun (Chn); Jolanta Zawadzka (Pol) beat Abdumalik Zhansaya (Kaz); Natalija Pogonina (Rus) drew with Kateryna Lagno (Rus); Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) beat Antoaneta Stefanova (Bul); D Harika (Ind) drew with Alexandra Kosteniuk (Rus); Alisa Galliamova (Rus) drew with Lei Tingjie (Chn); Alinasab Mobina (Iri) drew with Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr); Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova (Uzb) beat Valentina Gunina (Rus).