Kozhikode: Top seed GM Koneru Humpy maintained her lead, moving to 6.5 points, after the eighth and penultimate round in the Asian women’s chess championship on Sunday.
Half-a-point behind Humpy, in second spot, were five players — Hoang Tanh Trang and Li Kieu Kim of Vietnam, Indians D. Harika and S. Vijayalakshmi and Xu Yuanyuan of China.
On the top board, Humpy played a Nimzo-Indian Defence and opened up a slight advantage by the 11th move to make room for her major pieces, pushing Trang on the defensive. Humpy committed a major blunder on the 26th move, but recovered and drew level by the 30th to ensure a draw in 35 moves.
After an English Opening, tournament sensation Harika made a positional error on her 12th move against Le Kieu Kim, but bounced back by the 17th to ensure a draw after 20 moves.
On the third board, WGM Vijayalakshmi opted for the Morphy variation against the Ruy Lopez Opening of Zhang Jilin and went for a rook exchange on the 24th move.
Though the Chennai player was ahead by the 30th move, Zhang neutralised soon to split the point after 57 moves.
In an all-Chinese affair, Xu Yuanyuan beat second seed Zhao Xue on the fourth board.