While the first game was a fine triumph for Stefanova as white, Harika’s attempt to get some favorable action did not see the light of the day out of a Slav defense game. Stefanova opted for a closed structure and launched her attack on the king side while Harika made inroads on the other flank.
The game took a decisive turn when Stefanova went for a positional piece sacrifice on the 23rd move that netted her as many as three pawns in return. Technically, black stood better with three passed pawns and Harika was quick to realize that. As the position worsened a little, Harika went for repetition of moves and the game was drawn on black’s 36th turn.
With Harika’s ouster, the Indian aspirations for the world women’s title suffer a setback for at least two years. The winner of this World Cup will play a match with Yifan Hou of China in the next World Championship match in 2013 and the next knockout event is planned only in 2014 wherein Koneru Humpy and Harika might again have a chance to vie for the title.
In the other game of the day, Ju Wenjun faced the Semi-Slav by Ushenina and the game was drawn in just 18 moves after the Chinese player got nothing with her white pieces. The tiebreaker for the second finalist will be played on Sunday.
Results semifinal game 2: D Harika (Ind) drew with Antoaneta Stefanova (Bul) 0.5-1.5; Ju Wenjun (Chn) drew with Anna Ushenina (Ukr) 1-1 goes to tiebreak. (PTI)