Harika inches closer to a place in semifinal

 Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika came within striking distance of securing a semifinal berth after defeating Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia in the first game of the quarterfinals of the World women’s chess championship, here.

The victory in the first game of the two-game mini-match means that the Indian will now just need a draw in the return game to qualify to the next round that will have just four remaining from the original 64-participants in the knockout championship.

Second seed Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine was the other winner of the day as she accounted for former champion Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria.

The other former winner Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia was held to a draw by Ni Shiqun of China while the all Chinese duel between Tan Zhongyi and top seed Ju Wenjun also ended in a peace result.

Like Harika, Muzychuk is also just a draw away from entering the last-four stage while rating favourites Wenjun and Kosteniuk will try harder in the return games when they play with white pieces on Wednesday.

Results: Quarterfinals (Game 1): D Harika (Ind) bt Nana Dzagnidze (Geo); Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) bt Antoaneta Stefanova (Bul); Ni Shiqun (Chn) drew with Alexandra Kosteniuk (Rus); Tan Zhongyi (Chn) drew with Ju Wenjun (Chn).

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