Kozhikode: Overnight leaders Koneru Humpy and D. Harika played out a draw to maintain their lead with five points while China’s Xu Yuanyuan beat WGM S. Vijayalakshmi to take the joint second spot after the sixth round of the 10th Asian women’s chess championship on Friday.
Yuanyuan shared the second spot with compatriot Zhao Xue on 4.5 each.
In the only major upset of the day, India’s Bhagyashree Thipsay beat third seed Wang Pin of China in a Caro Kann opening in 34 moves.
Playing on the top-board, Harika used the English opening against Humpy and went for a queen exchange on the eighth move to gain a knight. However, Humpy did not allow her rival to gain further leeway and maintained equal position thereafter to force a draw on the 44th move.
Adopting Nimzo-Indian defence, Vijayalakshmi secured initial advantage after going in for an exchange up in the eighth move. However, the Chennai girl made some wrong moves and could not protect her kingside. Vijayalakshmi resigned after 28 moves.
The all-Chinese affair involving Xue and Gu Xiaobing proved to be a marathon game which extended for 90 moves. Although Xiaobing enjoyed a slight advantage in the middle game, she soon committed a blunder and lost.
In other matches, Zhang Jilin and Wang Yu agreed to split points while Aarthie Ramaswamy also settled for a draw with Vietnamese Le Kieu Thien Kim. However, another Vietnamese Hoang Thanh Trang beat Swati Ghate to take her tally to four points and gain the third spot along with Vijayalakshmi, Jilin, Yu and Kim.
Kazakhstan’s Maria Sergeeva managed to move up to 3.5 points after defeating J. E. Kavitha, while Sri Lanka’s Vineetha Wijesuriya lost to S. Meenakshi. (PTI)