Indian Grandmasters Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika made it to the last-32, winning the second game of the first round of the world women’s chess championship, here.
Maintaining a clean slate, Humpy was a class act against Ayah Moaatz of Egypt in the second game of the mini-match and cruised through in a mere 28 moves to proceed to the next round without much ado.
After a difficult first game, all eyes were on Harika, the semi-finalist in the previous knockout world championship but she too did her best with white pieces in the return game to send Tatev Abrahamyan of United States packing.
The other Indian in the fray Mary Ann Gomes lived up to her reputation and forced Tatiana Kosintseva in the tiebreaker after drawing her second game on the trot against the highly regarded Russian. Mary Ann will now play two sets of Rapid games and in case of a tied result there too, will play more games of shorter duration till a result is achieved.
Humpy called the shots right from the word go against Moaatz who started with the English opening in the second game against the top seeded player here. The position was equal for a long time in the middle game and then Humpy came up with a fine positional squeeze when her knight entered the sixth rank. The Egyptian girl soon lost a pawn and the position was beyond repairs in no time.
Harika was tested by Abrahamyan in the first game but found her rhythm in the return game. The Trompovsky opening gave no chance to Abrahamyan, who felt the heat in a must win situation. Harika played the middle game in copy-book fashion, exerting pressure on the queen side and once the queens got traded the hopes of the American had already vanished. The Indian picked a pawn and when the second one was about to fall, Abrahamyan called it a day.
Mary Ann Gomes had come up with some exemplary defense in the first game against Kosintseva and in the second her white pieces proved a solid wall for the Russian yet again. Up against an Accelerated Dragon in the Sicilian defense, Mary Ann got the equality she was looking for quite early and the exchange of pieces at regular intervals ensured a draw in just 24 moves.