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Women's Speed Chess Championship: Hou Yifan, Harika Dronavalli Reach Semis

Women's Speed Chess Championship: Hou Yifan, Harika Dronavalli Reach Semis

PeterDoggers
| 6 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Hou Yifan and GM Harika Dronavalli both won their quarterfinals on Friday in the FIDE Chess.com Women's Speed Chess Championship. Hou beat IM Bibisara Assaubayeva 13.5-9.5. Then Harika won her match vs. GM Anna Muzychuk with almost the same score, 13.5-.8.5.

Assaubayeva and Muzychuk each earned $2,000 for finishing in fifth-eighth place. In the semifinals, Harika will play GM Kateryna Lagno, and Hou will face the winner of the match between GM Antoaneta Stefanova and GM Lei Tingjie, played on Monday, June 28, at 4:30 a.m. Pacific / 13:30 Central Europe.

The live broadcast of the matches.

Hou-Assaubayeva

The 17-year-old Assaubayeva put up a really good fight against her formidable opponent. Sure, Hou (27) hasn't been very active in recent years and everything is different in fast time controls, but setting a 13.5-9.5 score is more than decent for the Kazakh teenager.

The match had a bloody start with six decisive games before the first draw came on the board. Hou won that 5|1 segment 4.5-2.5. After Assaubayeva won the first game of the match, the Chinese player leveled the score and then won game three with a sweet final move:

Assaubayeva showed what she's worth by winning the 3|1 segment 4-3 and winning three games in a row at one point. The third of that streak was especially impressive:

That meant a 7.5-6.5 lead for Hou going into the bullet, but after four 1|1 games she was leading by three points—too much for Assaubayeva to overcome in a final phase where the players traded blows. 

All games

Harika-Muzychuk

The second match of the day saw almost the same final score, with Harika winning all three segments against the two-time women's world blitz champion. "All I tried today is to make an interesting match, and I think we both succeeded in doing that," Harika said later.

After starting with a draw, Harika won games two and three for an early lead, but Muzychuk then won the next two. It was again Harika who won games seven and eight, scoring 5-3 in the 5|1 segment.

In game five, where Muzychuk leveled the score, Harika had a terrible mouse slip:

The 3|1 segment was fairly even, but Harika managed to win the last game to go into the bullet 8.5-5.5. It was a very powerful display of the bishop pair:

When Harika also won the first three bullet games, the match was basically over. She won that segment 5-3.

"Today Harika played better so she deserved to win this match, and I congratulate her on the achievement," said Muzychuk.

Harika: "In the 5|1 I lost a couple of games, just out of my stupidity, I made a premove or something and I just lost. Somewhere there I felt something is going wrong and I have to fight back. I think that was a crucial moment, that I fought back from there, after the first break."

All games

Women's Speed Chess Championship results

The FIDE Chess.com 2021 Women's Speed Chess Championship is an online competition for titled female players. The qualifiers for the event were held May 28-June 6, while the main event runs June 10-July 3. Players battle for their shares of a total prize fund of $66,000.


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