Top-seeded Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy scored a fine positional victory over Tingjei Lei of China to close in on a pre-quarterfinals berth in the World Women’s Chess Championship now underway.
After two easy victories in the first match against Ayah Moaatz of Egypt, Humpy started off from where she had left and her technical prowess proved too much for the Lei.
The other Indian Grandmaster in fray, D Harika was held to a draw by Irina Krush of United States in a match of equals. In the return game now, Harika will be under pressure as she plays with black pieces.
Down to last 32 from 64 participants, caution was the name of the game in the first round and as many as 11 games out of 16 ended in draws. Besides Humpy, Viktorija Cmilyte of Lithuania and the Russian trio of Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and Alisa Galiamova were the other four winners while the rest will start the second game of the second round on equal score.
The championship this year is a knockout contest with two games in each round. In case of a tied result, games of shorter duration are played to determine the winner.
The third Indian qualifier, Mary Ann Gomes bowed out of the competition in the first round when she lost the Armageddon game against Tatiana Kosintseva of Russia.