World Women's Chess Championship: Harika Dronavalli suffers heartbreak in semis, has to settle for bronze

Tehran: Indian grandmaster Harika Dronavalli won her third bronze medal in a row after a heartbreaking defeat against Tan Zhongyi of China in a semi-final tie-breaker at the World Women's Chess Championship.

File photo of Harika Dronavalli. Image courtesy: Twitter@HarikaDronavali

File photo of Harika Dronavalli. Image courtesy: Twitter@HarikaDronavali

Harika missed several opportunities in the tie-breaker which was a battle of nerves. Tan will now play the finals against Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine.

Zhongyi had drawn black in the final game which had five minutes to white against four to black with a two seconds increment from move 61 onwards.

Both players played extremely fast and Harika had an extra pawn when she entered the queens and pawns endgame.

The extra pawn often do not mean much but Harika missed a couple of golden opportunities to trade queens which would have led to a victory quite easily.

Instead the Indian played on with queens for a long time and went down after 99 moves.

Earlier, Harika had started the day with a fine victory in the first game of the tie-breaker, winning in just 17 moves.

She could have drawn the second game itself to seal her entry to the finals but again fate was against her as she blundered from what was a drawn knights and pawns endgame.

In the second set of the tie-breaker, Harika was lucky to survive though, as she first lost with black and then was quite lucky to find a victory to level scores again.

The stage was set for blitz games thereafter wherein both games of five minutes and three seconds ended in draws leading to the final Armageddon game. The final scoreline in the semi-final was 5-4 in favour of Tan.

The $450,000 championship will now have a six-game clash for the crown between Muzychuk and Zhongyi.

Harika will come back with a bronze medal for the third time. In 2012, Harika had lost the semi-final against Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria while in 2015 she had lost to eventual winner Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine.

Result (semi-final): Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine) beat Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) 2-0; Harika Dronavalli (India) lost to Tan Zhongyi (China) 4-5.

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Updated Date: Feb 26, 2017 15:00:15 IST

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