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Harika, Ju Lead After Tumultuous Day

GM Harika Dronavalli and GM Ju Wenjun are in the joint lead with 6.5 points from nine games at the end of the first day of the Tata Steel Chess India Women's Blitz. No player could escape defeat on an exciting day of blitz with high-quality games, typically full of seesaw battles and heartbreaks.

Article by : V. Saravanan /

GM Humpy Koneru began the day cautiously, gathered steam in the middle, suffered two defeats towards the end, and redeemed herself with a win over rapid section winner WGM Divya Deshmukh in the last game of the day, to trail the leaders with five points. Divya, meanwhile, started the day with two defeats, staged a comeback scoring five points in the next six rounds, before losing against Humpy, also collecting five points.

The Women's Blitz continues on September 4 at 4:30 a.m. ET / 10:30 CEST / 14:00 IST.

How to watch the Tata Steel India Chess Women's Rapid & Blitz

You can watch the event live on Twitch, as well as our YouTube channels for and Chess24. Keep up with all the details of the tournament on our live events platform, and follow the live games by clicking here.

The broadcast was hosted by GM Robert Hess and IM Soumya Swaminathan.

Harika admitted to being tired due to her hectic schedule and decided to concentrate on her fitness and staying fresh, after a difficult first day of the rapid tournament. "Right now I am thinking only of staying fresh and giving my best chess... I am trying to cope with fitness and sleep—that's all... If someone is interested they should try this routine—after such a madness, that is helping me to an extent!"

Help it did, as Harika shot into the joint lead with Ju with a score of 3.5 from the initial four games. She defeated the rapid winner Divya in a 137-move energy-sapping marathon, and showed the proclaimed freshness with a resourceful pawn sacrifice in a difficult endgame in the second round against GM Nino Batsiashvili.

Humpy started with three cautious draws followed by a win against blitz specialist IM Polina Shuvalova in the fourth round. Her fifth-round clash against Harika turned out to be a memorable one.

Humpy and Harika are two of the strongest female players in the world, and the only two women players who hold the grandmaster title in India. They are both from the south of India, hailing from the state of Andhra Pradesh, and speak the same mother tongue, Telugu. Their styles too are similar, with logical, dynamic play, but they can elevate their tactical prowess when required. Over the board, their games are always full of spirited fights, and their fifth-round encounter turned out to be one too.

Harika was seen pacing the tournament stage with concentration before the game, as she avoids interaction with other players between the rounds and prefers to keep to herself. It was obvious that she was getting ready for this important game. And it turned out to be an entertaining tactical skirmish.

Read more at : V. Sarawanan's Article on




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