Harika draws, continues to lead at women’s chess meet

Chengdu (China), July 10 (IANS) Indian Grand Master Harika Dronavalli hung on to her lead at the top of the table with 5.5 points after the eighth round of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix chess tournament here on Sunday.

Harika, who played with black pieces against Bulgarian Grandmaster and former Women’s World Champion Stefanova Antoaneta, regained equality at an early stage of the game itself and held on to it to grab another half a point.

“Both of us landed in unknown territory at the very start,” said Harika. “But I stabilised quickly and started pushing for a win. My opponent decided to play it safe and repeated her moves to force a draw,” the disappointed Hyderabadi added.

The table didn’t see any changes on Sunday, with all six games ending in draws. The world’s top 12 players are in fray for the top prize, including India’s other Grand Master Koneru Humpy who shared a point with Pia Cramling of Sweden.

Harika, who is seeded fourth in the tournament, will face Khotenashvili Bela of Georgia in the ninth round on Tuesday, with Monday being a rest day.

She just needs to keep her wits about in three more rounds to script one of her biggest victories at the world level.

–IANS

pur/vt

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