Khanty Mansiysk (Russia): Koneru Humpy effortlessly defeated Denise Frick of South Africa while D Harika outplayed compatriot Soumya Swaminathan to move to the second round of the World Women's chess championship on Tuesday.
Having had to sweat a little in the first game of the first round, Humpy was terrific in the return game and scored an easy victory to see herself through to the round of 32 in the knockout championship. Harika was not far behind but of course it was hard work for her against Soumya Swaminathan who will now have to return home.
The other higher-ranked players also cruised to the second round and topping the list was reigning world champion Yifan Hou of China who scored easily over Sachini Ranasinghe of Sri Lanka. The Sub-continent girl had missed her flight and reached here only thanks to some deft planning at the last minute but the match against Yifan turned out to be one sided.
Harika made use of her white pieces to good effect against Soumya in an English opening game. After attaining a playable position in the middle game, Soumya went wrong with an erroneous plan and handed Harika initiative. By simply improving her position, Harika caused some damage to black and Soumya ran short of time before making the decisive error. The game lasted 33 moves.
The USD 450000 prize money Championship will be reduced to 32 players from 64 in the next round and more fighting matches will ensue in the rounds to come. Those who return home after the first round will be richer by USD 3000.