Harika Dronavalli has entered the semi-final of the Women’s World Chess Championship being held in Tehran. She entered the semis after defeating Georgia’s Nana Dzagnidze in the tie-break game. On her path to become India’s first women’s chess champion, Harika Dronavalli will have to defeat China’s Tan Zhongyi in the semi-final. Harika had earlier also reached the semis twice, but failed to go beyond that. In 2015, she had lost to Ukraine’s Maria Muzychuk in the semis at the championship held in Russia.
In the quarter final with Nana Dzagnidze, Harika won the first game playing white, but lost the second one playing black pieces in a tough 76-move encounter. Then, in the first tie-break, she took control and won the game in a 70-move encounter. The second tie-break turned out to be a draw, which paved the way for Harika to enter the semis. Harika has a history of doing well in the tie-breakers, which helped her defeat Nana Dzagnidze and reach the semis.
India would love to see an Indian woman to be the world chess champion and with Harika reaching the semis, the hopes are high this time. Koneru Humpy got quite close to becoming the first such champion in 2011, but she was defeated by World No.1 Hou Yifan from China in a 10-game encounter.