Khanty Mansiysk (Russia): Grandmaster D Harika bowed out of the world championship after playing a draw in must-win second game with former Bulgarian world champion Antoaneta Stefanova in the semifinals, which she lost 0.5-1.5 in Khanty Mansiysk.
After losing the first game of semis as black, the Indian was under tremendous pressure to score a comeback victory and the situation did not help as Harika could not find anything worthwhile and stood worse when she signed the peace in the return game.
However, this was the best ever performance by Harika who had made it to the quarterfinals in the last championship.
For her efforts, Harika will take home a prize purse of USD 16000 after FIDE’s 20% deduction apart from some hard-earned rating points.
The other match in the semis was drawn again which translates in to a tiebreaker between Ju Wenjun of China and Anna Ushenina of Ukraine. The first game between the two was also drawn.
While Harika will have her lessons to take back home, the match against Stefanova was clearly one-sided. Apparently, the grueling schedule got to Harika and for the Bulgarian, her huge experience came handy.
While the first game was a fine triumph for Stefanova as white, Harika’s attempt to get some favourable action did not see the light of the day out of a Slav defense game.
Stefanova opted for a closed structure and launched her attack on the king side while Humpy made inroads on the other flank.
The game took a decisive turn when Stefanova went for a positional piece sacrifice on the 23rd move that netted her as many as three pawns in return. Techinically black stood better with three passed pawns and Harika was quick to realise that.
As the position worsened a little, Harika went for repetition of moves and the game was drawn on black’s 36th turn.
With Harika’s ouster the Indian aspirations for the World women title suffer a setback for at least two years. The winner of this world cup will play a match with Yifan Hou of China in the next World championship match in 2013 and the next knockout event is planned only in 2014 wherein Koneru Humpy and Harika might again have a chance to vie for the title.
In the other game of the day, Ju Wenjun faced the Semi Slav by Ushenina and the game was drawn in just 18 moves after the Chinese player got nothing with her white pieces. The tiebreaker for the second finalist will be played on Sunday.
Results Semifinal game 2: D Harika (Ind) drew with Antoaneta Stefanova (Bul) 0.5-1.5; Ju Wenjun (Chn) drew with Anna Ushenina (Ukr) 1-1 goes to tiebreak.