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From Tactical Mayhem To Landslide: Dronavalli Defeats Cori

From Tactical Mayhem To Landslide: Dronavalli Defeats Cori

NM_Vanessa
| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Harika Dronavalli defeated WGM Deysi Cori in their round of 16 match of the FIDE Chess.com 2022 Women's Speed Chess Championship on Thursday. The players' complementing tactical styles led to many explosive duels. Especially in the 3+1 blitz section, Dronavalli pulled away with the lead, increasing it as the games raged on.

The next round of 16 match, IM Polina Shuvalova vs. GM Tan Zhongyi, begins on Friday, July 8, at 4:00 a.m. Pacific / 13:00 Central European.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 FIDE Chess.com Women's Speed Chess Championship on Chess.com/TV. You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on YouTube.com/ChesscomLive. The games can also be followed from our Events Page.

Live broadcast of the tournament, hosted by GM Irina Krush and WGM Dina Belenkaya.


Blitz 5|1: Dronavalli 5.5-3.5 Cori

Cori scored the first victory, coming out on top after a series of tactics and mutual blunders.

Dronavalli evened the score the next game with a beautiful unpinning tactic in 22...Nd4!, flipping the position in her favor.

In game three, Dronavalli managed an incredible comeback. After her knight was pushed back to its starting square beside her rook on h1, it looked like Cori's pieces had taken over the board. Yet, Dronavalli broke her pieces out of their cages, activated them in the center, and then discovered a clever combination to promote a pawn and win material.

The dynamic styles of both players led to a myriad of tactical battles. The penultimate game was another such duel. Both players pushed advanced passers down the board, and as the complications cleared, Cori was victorious. 

Dronavalli finished the segment with a two-point lead. 

Blitz 3|1: Dronavalli 7-2 Cori

The 3+1 kicked off with a hard-fought draw. Dronavalli discovered a crafty combination, but Cori defended well, activating her king and saving the game despite being down two pawns.

Up to this point, despite the significant difference in rankings between the two players, the match was very close. As commentator WGM Dina Belenkaya put it: "This is why we enjoy this match because it's very tense. One game Cori is completely lost out of the opening. Another game she's just outplayed Harika in five/six/seven moves!”

Soon, however, Dronavalli began to take over the match, winning five out of six games, including a sneaky checkmate in an equal ending. Can you spot it?

In addition to her impressive tactical play, Dronavalli won many of her games due to a combination of better-placed pieces (often, especially in regards to her queen), fewer weaknesses, and time edges like in the following game:

Cori came extremely close to winning the final game, even gaining an extra bishop, but Dronavalli defended with a cool head, trading off all the pawns and gaining a time edge.

By the end of the 3+1 segment, Dronavalli had stretched her lead to a dominating seven points.

Bullet 1|1: Dronavalli 6-3 Cori

In the bullet section, Cori scored her first victory since the five-minute portion. In the game, she cemented a strong knight on d6, won a piece, and then won Dronavalli's queen with a knight fork. 

Dronavalli struck back with a win of her own. With a 10-point lead and less than six minutes left on the match clock, victory was effectively sealed in Dronavalli's favor. 

Despite Dronavalli's overwhelming lead on the scoreboard, Cori finished strongly by creating a dangerous king attack with her queen and knight.

Tactics exploded on the board in many of their fascinating games. Ultimately, when the smoke cleared, Dronavalli's strength and experience showed, especially in her ability to capitalize on her own chances and save tough positions, leading to an astounding 10-point lead at the finish.

Dronavalli earned $2,192.13 in prize money for her victory while Cori took home $432.87 for her efforts.

All Games - Round of 16

Women's Speed Chess Championship Bracket


The FIDE Chess.com 2022 Women's Speed Chess Championship is an online event where titled women players will play a series of blitz and bullet matches for a share of the $70,000 prize fund. The qualifiers for the event took place on May 24-27, with the main event starting on June 13 and ending on July 21.


Previous Coverage

NM_Vanessa
NM Vanessa West

Vanessa West is a National Master, a chess teacher, and a writer for Chess.com. In 2017, they won the Chess Journalist of the Year award.

You can follow them on X: Vanessa__West

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