Top seed Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy’s winning streak in the World Women’s Chess Championship ended as she went down to Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine in the first game of the quarterfinals here on Friday.
However, the Indian persisted in the drawn rook and pawns endgame and was rewarded post the fourth hour in the longest game of the quarterfinals thus far. With the fortunes of both players solely determined by the second game, Humpy went all guns blazing in the starting stages. A few errors from the Ukrainian helped Humpy gain an advantage once again. Koneru Humpy had a winning position by the 34th move, but her inability to capitalise in the next move proved to be game changer. Mariya managed to end the game six moves later and secure a place in the semi–finals.
This is also the second straight time that the Indian has made it to the semifinals and she will now play against the winner of Humpy vs Mariya contest.
Harika was composed right through the course of the game. Playing nonchalantly, she got only a minuscule advantage even after picking a pawn. Soon the position liquidated to a bare endgame with just one pawn and rook for Harika and a sole rook for Arabidze. The endgame that arose is known as the ‘Vancura position’ and Arabidze still had to find the best resource.
Having done everything right, Humpy was cruising to a victory in the second game after drawing the first and a win would have sealed her berth in the quarters, instead the Indian lost track of the position and a one-move blunder saw the tables turned.