Women’s World Chess Championship: India beats Spain in second round

The Indian team claimed their first victory at the FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship by beating Spain 2.5-1.5 in the second group match.

After a 2-2 draw with Azerbaijan in the first round, the Indians took advantage of R Vaishali’s victory over Sabrina Vega Gutierrez to win in the second match of Pool A on Monday night.

The team’s No.1 player, D Harika, drew against Ana Matnadze, as did Bhakti Kulkarni and Mary Ann Gomes against their respective opponents.

Vaishali clinched a 47-stroke victory over Gutierrez in a Sicilian Four Knights Variation match to provide the crux for India.

Apart from Harika sharing the honors with Matnadze, Kulkarni and Gomes drew respectively against Maria Eizaguerri Floris and Marta Garcia Martin.

In the remaining matches of the second round, Russia dominated France 3.5.-0.5 while Armenia drew 2-2 against Azerbaijan.

Russia leads with 7.5 points, Armenia second with 4.5 points, followed by India, also with 4.5. Four teams from pools A and B each qualify for the play-offs.

India will face Armenia in the third round later on Tuesday.

Earlier in the first round against Azerbaijan, Harika, the top player in Koneru Humpy’s absence, presumably won her match by beating Gunay Mammadzada on the first board.

The promising Vaishali, sister of the young prodigy R Praggnanandhaa, beat Gulnar Mammadova on the fourth board.

The defeats of Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni against their respective opponents resulted in a 2-2 draw.