Harika In Sole Lead At Chengdu

Harika In Sole Lead At Chengdu

By Arvind Aaron

Dronavalli Harika has moved into sole lead in the FIDE Grand Prix at Chengdu in China on July 12, 2016.  After nine rounds, the Guntur player has reached a tally of six points remaining undefeated. Her three victories include one important one over second seed Koneru Humpy of Vijayawada.

In the ninth round, Harika drew Bela Khotenashvili (Geo) and moved to six points. Humpy lost her second game against Anna Muzychuk and stays at five points. Antoaneta Stefanova drew Pia Cramling to move to second place on 5.5 points.

Former world women’s champion Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr), top seed Ju Wenjun (Chn) and Humpy are in the joint third place with five points. Two rounds remain to be played.

Harika faces Zhao Xue (Chn) with black and Olga Girya (Rus) with white.  She might need to win one game atleast as heavy scoring by her immediate rivals is possible due to easier pairings. A victory here will make Harika richer by Euro 10,000 and earn Grand Prix points of 160. She qualified by being in the semifinals of the 2015 World Women’s Chess Championship.

The fourth Grand Prix is a 2015-2016 series of six events with prize fund of Euro 330,000. The first edition of this series took place at Monte Carlo (Oct 2015, winner Hou Yifan), second at Tehran (Feb 2016, Ju Wenjun), Batumi (Apr 2016, Valentina Gunina), Chengdu (Jul 2016, winner ?), Khanty-Mansiysk (Oct 2016, winner ?). The first three Grand Prix events were won by Hou Yifan and second was Koneru Humpy.

Standings after nine rounds: 1 D Harika (Ind) 6/9; 2 A Stefanova (Bul) 5.5; 3-5. Koneru Humpy (Ind), Ju Wenjun (Chn), Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr) 5 each; 6-7. Bela Khotenashvili (Geo), A Muzychuk (Ukr) 4.5 each; 8-10. Lela Javakhishvili (Geo), Zhao Xue (Chn), Olga Girya (Rus) 4 each; 11 Pia Cramling (Swe) 3.5; 12 Tan Zhongyi (Chn) 3.