Sports, Chess

Chess women's world cup semis shake-up world rankings

In the return game of the semi-final clash, Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) lost against Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine) and was eliminated from the Women’s World Championship. Harika Dronavalli (India) made a comeback by winning an epic battle against Tan Zhongyi(China). 

Anna Muzychuk
Anna Muzychuk Creative Commons

It seems Alexandra Kosteniuk didn’t manage to recover after Thursday’s loss. In a must-win situation she decided not to exchange queens after the seventh move and ending up in a worse position that her opponent.

Anna Muzychuk increased her advantage and won the game to become the first finalist of the World Championship.

Meanwhile, in what turned to be the longest game of the tournament, Harika Dronavalli had many chances to finish the game more than 100 moves earlier.

Harika, the lone Indian in the draw and playing her third consecutive semi-final in the world championship, played out a 162-move epic against Tan to salvage a hard-fought win and take the semi-final into tie-breaks.

Having lost the first game with black pieces, this was a must-win game for Harika. She held the initiative for sustained periods of time thanks to an extra pawn piece. However, the Chinese International Master held firm and did not give Harika any easy opening.

Harika committed a major blunder when she decided to exchange the Queens, not realizing that she had missed a potential chance to check-mate the opponent.

Although the Indian won the queen thanks to the extra pawn piece, it was immediately negated by Tan’s knight and it looked like she had lost the initiative.

With both players having gotten into time trouble, the pressure was immense as to how they would cope but remarkably, the Indian held her nerve as she went about breaking Tan’s defence.

The final round, where the new World Champion will be decided, will be played between February 27 and March 3.

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