Tan Zhongyi and Nino Khurtsidze both won matches that went all the way to Armageddon in Round 2 of the Women’s World Championship in Tehran, but nothing could compete with the thrills and spills of Sopiko Guramishvili’s heart-stopping victory over Nataliya Buksa. The 16 players who will now compete for a place in the quarterfinals feature 4 Chinese players, 3 Russians, 3 Georgians, 2 Indians and 1 each from Ukaine, Sweden, Bulgaria and Vietnam.
The full Round 2 tiebreak results looked as follows (play through all the games here):
Five of the nine matches ended after the two 25-minute rapid games. The winners included two former World Champions, Antoaneta Stefanova, who beat Salome Melia 1.5:0.5, and Alexandra Kosteniuk, who beat Inna Gaponenko by the same scoreline.
There were also 1.5:0.5 wins for the two Indian representatives, Harika Dronavalli and Padmini Rout. The latter suddenly trapped 118-point higher rated Zhao Xue’s queen after 36.Nc4? Rd8!
37.Qf4 runs into 37...Ng6, while 37.Qc7, as played in the game, left White in the same hole after 37…Rd7.
It was an impressive showing for India, who began the World Championship with just the same two players. Other countries have seen their players drop like flies, with Russia reduced from 11 to 3, Georgia from 8 to 3 and Ukraine from 5 to 1, including the loss of former World Champion Anna Ushenina. China are the numeric favourites to produce the next World Champion, with 4 players remaining from their starting 7.
The one player who managed a 2:0 win in the 25 minute games was Pia Cramling, who knocked out Elisabeth Paehtz:
The Swedish Grandmaster has pedigree, since she reached the semi-finals of the last 64-player knockout in 2015!
The player who beat Pia in that semi-final, Natalia Pogonina, was the only player to end her match in the 10-minute rapid games, where she overcame Huang Qian.
Two matches went all the way to Armageddon games, which lived up to their name. Anna Ushenina had a winning position with White against Tan Zhongyi, but it was a tricky ending she was unable to convert. The draw meant Tan Zhongyi made it through into the next round.
Nino Batsiashvili came even closer against compatriot and namesake Nino Khurtsidze. Again, she had the white pieces, and an overwhelming advantage: