Indian Grandmasters Koneru Humpy and D Harika got off to a flying starts, winning the first game of the first round of the world women’s chess championship here today.
Seeded number one in the absence of defending champion Yifan Hao of China, Humpy had no problems crushing Ayah Moaataz of Egypt while Harika survived a scare before turning the tables on Tatev Abrahamyan of United States.
The only other Indian in the fray - Mary Ann Gomes also got off to a good start as she held highly regarded Tatiana Kosintseva of Russia to a hard-fought draw.
The players will come back for the return game in the 64-players championship being played on a knockout bases.
There are two games in each round and in case of a tied result, games of shorter duration will be played to determine the winner. The time control is 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to finish the game with a 30 seconds increment from move one.
Humpy won with white pieces as Moaataz was no match against the highest rated here. It was a Queen pawn opening wherein Humpy punished a reckless opening easily, winning a pawn first and then a piece to romp home easily.
Harika was under pressure for a long time against Abrahamyan. The French defense by Harika as black met with the Tarrasch variation and Harika felt the heat in a passive position when white had a huge spatial advantage.
However, true to her style and a never-say-die approach, Harika fought on bravely and her chances came in the later stages of middle game when she could breathe free after exchanges in the centre.