Today: Women's Speed Chess Championship Match Harika-Sebag

Today: Women's Speed Chess Championship Match Harika-Sebag

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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13 | Chess Event Coverage

The Chess.com Women's Speed Chess Championship continues today with the fourth and last quarterfinals matchup between GM Harika Dronavalli (India) and GM Marie Sebag (France).

Three semifinalists are known: Elina Danielian (who beat Kateryna Lagno), Alexandra Kosteniuk (who beat Anna Zatonskih) and Valentina Gunina (who beat Irina Krush). The opponent for Danielian will be known after today's match in the Women's Speed Chess Championship.

Harika Dronavalli vs. Marie Sebag is today, Thursday, May 30 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST). You can watch the match with live commentary by IM Sopiko Guramishvili and IM Anna Rudolf on Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/chess.

Women's Speed Chess Championship bracket

The 28-year-old Harika (@elegance_riks), from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh in the southeast of India, is the world number 15, and India's second female player behind Humpy Koneru. Harika won the bronze medal at the Women's World Championship three times and claimed the first prize at the 2016 Women's Grand Prix in Chengdu, China.

Her chess accomplishments won her the Arjuna Award for the year 2007-2008, and recently also the Padma Shri. In August last year Chess.com reported about Harika's glamorous wedding.

Recently she gave a TEDx talk about her chess journey so far:

The 32-year-old Sebag (@Etoilegeniale), born in Paris, is France's number one female player and the world number 18. She won the European U12 Championship in 1998, and got the same titles for the U14 in 1999 and U16 in 2002. In the same year, she won the French Women's Championship and in 2004 she won silver at the World Youth.

A grandmaster since 2008, Sebag's most recent success was a second place at the 2019 European Women's Championship in Antalya, Turkey behind winner Alina Kashlinskaya.

An interesting tidbit is that the French lady appeared on national television in 2012, when Sebag participated in the reality show Secret Story (with the secret "I am an international grandmaster").

”I like to play on Chess.com and I have played the PRO Chess League for the Marseille Migraines. I am very glad to take part in this championship,” Sebag said.

Harika: ”It’s my first experience to play a match like this so just want to enjoy it first.”

The two have played three classical games against each other, with the Indian GM beating the French GM at the 2008 Dresden Olympiad, followed by two draws. They also drew twice in rapid games at the 2016 Cap d'Agde tournament.

The last time they played was in the opening round of the Cairns Cup in St. Louis.


So, who is the favorite here? That might be not so easy to determine as in the previous three quarterfinals.

Sebag, who will be playing from her home in Paris: “I don’t know. I played several times with her, but I never beat her. I don’t know for blitz online.”

Marie Sebag Women's Speed Chess Championship

Harika, who will be playing from her home in Hyderabad: “I really don’t know. I can’t say who is favourite because I do not have any idea about how much experience Sebag has in online games. But as an optimistic person I would like to feel that I am the favourite in this match.

Although Sebag is not playing online too often, at least she has been busy this week with chess, as she played in the French League. “I will just play some internet chess games,“ she said.

Harika will also log in to warm up: “I will practice by playing more online games. Because it’s always different than playing over the board so I need to be ready for it. Most important part of my preparation would be to find a way to make sure that I won’t have any disconnections or power cuts on the match day. 😬”

Harika Dronavalli Women's Speed Chess Championship

While Sebag played in the PRO Chess League this year, Harika has her own experience on Chess.com: “I do play online a lot and specially I am addicted to this Puzzle Rush nowadays so I feel it will be definitely helpful for the match but as I told earlier. I do not have any idea about Sebag’s experience on online chess. But may be I will read her interview and find out about it. 😁”

The match will start with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, continue with 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz, and end with 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet. (Find all regulations here.) Both players said that they will feel most comfortable in the three-minute format, so we'll see how that will work out!

Prizes Women's Speed Chess Championship

The prize fund for the first-round matches is $2,000 each. The winner earns $1,000 and advances to the semifinals, where the next opponent is Elina Danielian, while the other $1,000 is split by win percentage.

The Women' Speed Chess Championship takes place May 22 - June 27 on the Chess.com live server. All WSCC matches are broadcast live with chess-master commentary on Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/chess.

Here's the full schedule:

  • Lagno vs. Elina Danielian (Round 2, Match 1): 13.0-14.0 (News post.)
  • Kosteniuk vs. Zatonskih (Round 2, Match 2): 20-8 (News post.)
  • Gunina vs. Krush (Round 2, Match 3): 24-5 (News post.)
  • Dronavalli vs. Sebag (Round 2, Match 4): May 30, 2019 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Semifinal 1: Danielian vs Dronavalli/Sebag: June 20, 2019 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Semifinal 2: Kosteniuk-Gunina: June 25, 2019 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • WSCC Championship: June 27, 2019 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
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