Humpy a draw away from women’s world chess tourney semis

September 8th, 2008 - 2:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Nalchik (Russia), Sep 8 (IANS) Title favourite Koneru Humpy opened with a fine win the quarter finals of the Women’s World Championships beating China’s Shen Yang in the first game of their two-game mini-match.The other player to register a win Sunday was Pia Cramling of Sweden, who beat Antoaneta Stefanova. The other two games were drawn.

Playing with white Humpy’s game started in a modest Slav Exchange variation. Here the White held a pair of Bishops and Indian star, who is rated No. 2 among women in the world - No. 1 is Judit Polgar, who no longer plays women’s only events - worked a fine attack on the king side and did great damage in Shen Yang’s camp by move 21.

The win came quickly in 31 moves and it put Humpy in an excellent position before Tuesday’s rematch, when she has black. Humpy needs only a draw to get into the semi-finals. But she cannot afford to relax, as Shen in an earlier match caught up from behind and beat Nadezda Kosintseva in tie-breaks.

Pia Cramling of Sweden who, at 45, is the oldest and most experienced participant in the Championship, might be in even better position, having won with Black against Stefanova. It was another Slav Exchange where White set herself for an early aggression against Black centralized King.

Pia resisted the fire and it became clear that actually Stefanova’s King was in trouble. Pia unleashed a terrible counterattack and earned enough material to claim the full point later.

Lilit Mkrtchian had a relatively quiet game, and once Hou Yifan eliminated White’s pair of Bishops, the position became completely equal. Both players acknowledged this by signing a draw by repetition some ten moves later.

On the other side, Alexandra Kosteniuk and Anna Ushenina fought hard after reaching a semi-forced endgame from the popular Caro-Kan Advance variation. White tried to make use of her extra pawn, but Ushenina defended well with Rooks and opposite-coloured Bishops on the board. Seeing that there was no progress, Kosteniuk agreed to a draw on the 67th move.

Results: Antoaneta Stefanova - Pia Cramling 0-1; Lilit Mkrtchian - Hou Yifan ½-½ ; Humpy Koneru - Shen Yang 1-0; Alexandra Kosteniuk - Anna Ushenina ½-½

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