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Humpy finishes second in Women’s candidate

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TORONTO, April 22: Indian grandmaster Koneru Humpy delivered the goods when it mattered, defeating erstwhile joint leader Tingjie Lei of China to finish second on a superior tiebreak in the women candidates tournament here.

Zhongyi Tan of China expectedly topped the tables after settling for a draw with Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine.

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The real story of the day was R Vaishali who scored her fifth victory on the trot at the expense of Kateryna Lagno of Russia to tie for the second spot before finishing fourth on tiebreak.

Tan finished with 9 points in all, 1.5 points clear of the nearest rivals Humpy, Lei and Vaishali who all finished second to fourth respectively.

Aleksandra Goryachkina finished fifth on seven points, a full point ahead of Lagno, while Nurgyul Salimova of Bulgaria and Muzychuk ended in the last two spots in the eight-player double round-robin contest.

At the half-way stage, Humpy was languishing at 2.5 points out of seven games but came up with a splendid effort to score five points from the last seven games – a score matched by Vaishali who was even worse at 2.5 out of nine.

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Playing black against Lei, Humpy got a complicated middle game out of a Nimzo Indian defense and Lei came up with a spectacular queen sacrifice that needed perfect follow up.

Humpy cashed in when the Chinese erred in her calculation and reached a winning endgame with her two rooks against white’s rook and Bishop.

The complexities were far from over but on this day Humpy could do no wrong and squeezed out a victory after 62 hard-fought moves.

Vaishali faced the Ruy Lopez as black against Lagno who sacrificed a piece early in the middle game to initiate an attack against the black king. The Indian was however up to the task in defense and returned the extra material back to maintain the dynamics.

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Lagno blundered on her 31st turn, handing the initiative to Vaishali who did not look back thereafter and coasted home after 45 moves.

Results final round (Indians unless stated): Tingjei Lei (Chn, 7.5) lost to Koneru Humpy (7.5); Kateryna Lagno (Fid, 6) lost to R Vaishali (7.5); Aleksandra Goryachkina (Fid, 7) drew with Nurgyul Salimova (5.5); Anna Muzychuk (Ukr, 5.5) drew with Zhongyi Tan (Chn, 9).

Final standings: 1. Tan; 2-4: Humpy, Lei, Vaishali; 5. Goryachkina; 6. Lagno; 7-8: Salimova, Muzychuk. (PTI)

 

 

 

 

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