In the final round of the Tata Steel Chess India tournament 2023 at the National Library on Monday, Ju Wenjun of China, the reigning World champion since 2018, successfully lived up to her renowned reputation by defeating Anna Ushenina. This victory in the blitz category marks her latest triumph, which occurred merely six weeks ago. Ju Wenjun’s exceptional skills were on full display in this competition.
She faced strong competition from Koneru Humpy, the former World rapid champion hailing from Vijayawada and seeded second in the Tata Steel Chess India 2023. Despite winning her final-round match against the blitz champion Divya Deshmukh, Humpy had to settle for the second-place finish.
Humpy accumulated a total of 12 points, falling just half a point short of Ju, who secured the top position. Dronavalli Harika, the third seed, claimed the third spot, while Divya Deshmukh, praised by Humpy as a future star, secured the fourth position. The decisive day began with Harika and Ju leading the standings, but Humpy’s victory over Ju in the first game of the day strengthened her position in the race for the championship.
Drawing against Ushenina in the penultimate match proved to be a costly setback for Humpy, just as Harika’s surprising defeat to Vantika Agrwal had its repercussions. Ju’s victory over B. Savitha Shri gave her a half-point advantage as they headed into the final round. The open tournament is scheduled to commence on Tuesday.
R. Praggnanandhaa and D. Gukesh, following their recent impressive performances, are expected to garner significant attention. Notably, Nihal Sarin, the winner of last year’s blitz event, is absent from the formidable lineup, which is spearheaded by France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
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