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Harika Dronavali: I was so tensed that I was winning
IMG 5112Harika Dronavali won the Quarterfinals match against Meri Arabidze in regular games and earned an extra rest day. She spoke to FIDE Press Officer shortly after the match.

Anastasia Karlovich: Dear chess friends, welcome to the press center. We have Harika Dronavali with us. Harika has just won her match against Georgian player Meri Arabidze. It was very tense and difficult match especially the second game. Please tell us what happened during today’s game.

Harika Dronavali: In the beginning my opponent started to exchange a lot of pieces. My feeling was that she wanted to make a draw somehow. I realized her intention and at some point Meri even offered a draw. But to my mind I had a pleasant ending; I just needed to put more pressure. I started pushing and pushing. To my mind it could have been still a draw, if she played normally.

She just had one weakness and I kept playing on that. I just scared her actually that something was there. But there was nothing dangerous there I think. Slowly she started playing bad moves and I had a clearly winning rook ending.

Natalia Pogonina and methods of rationality
IMG 5174Natalia Pogonina proved deadly for Chinese players, defeating three members of the Chinese national team. Today she dominated in rapid games with Zhao Xue and could win 2-0, but followed a rational advice of her trainer and forced a draw in the last game.

Anastasia Karlovich: Congratulations, Natalia! What was your mood before the match? What was your trainer's plan for it?

Natalia Pogonina: Of course I was in a fighting mood. Who would not be happy to play tie-breaks after starting the match with a loss? Besides, I actually enjoy playing tie-breaks. So my morale was quite high.

In the first game she once again allowed me to play the Benko gambit and went for a sideline, which gave me a good game.

Mariya Muzychuk: My only chance was to create complications
IMG 5177The Ukrainian Mariya Muzychuk delivered the main upset of the day, defeating Humpy Koneru on tie-break. She came to the press center a few minutes after the lucky finish of the second rapid game.

Anastasia Karlovich: Mariya, how did you manage to defeat the top rated player of the championship?

Mariya Muzychuk: It was not easy at all. In the first game I prepared a new variation with 5.Nb3, but the result was not that great. We quickly transposed to an endgame, and I did not like my position. The forthcoming game was very tactical and somehow I managed to escape to a rook ending without a pawn, which was drawn.

Pia Cramling: The endgame is always so tricky
 MG 4695Today Pia Cramling saved a difficult rook ending being a pawn down to hold the even score and take the match into rapid tie-break. She spoke to FIDE Press Officer about the games with Anna Muzychuk.

Anastasia Karlovich: Dear chess friends, let me welcome you in the press center of the Women’s World Chess Championship. Our guest is Pia Cramling. She has just finished her second game against Anna Muzychuk with a draw. The first game was finished in a draw as well. Pia, please share with us how was this match going for you?

Pia Cramling: Yesterday I think I was a little bit better after the opening. But then at one moment I was not right with my moves. I think it was easy for her. Today I made this blunder in the opening, I played this Re8. Then I could not play normally. When she played Na4, I go c5, c4, d4, she goes e5, and Qe4 threatens h7 and Ra8. So, Re8 is such a mistake in the opening.

Harika Dronavalli advances to the Semifinals, six other players go to tie-breaks
 MG 4712The second games of the Women's World Chess Championship Quarterfinals were played in SCC Galactica (Sochi, Krasnaya Polyana) on March 27.

Yesterday Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine), playing White, defeated Humpy Koneru (India), Zhao Xue (China) won as Black against Natalia Pogonina (Russia), and two other games were drawn – Pia Cramling (Sweden) – Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine), and Meri Arabidze (Georgia) – Harika Dronavalli (India).

Today's games were extremely tense and all exceeded four hours. Natalia Pogonina finished her game first, winning on demand against Zhao Xue and extending the match to the tie-breaks. Pogonina employed the Benko gambit, which brought her many victories in junior events. Zhao Xue responded with a very solid setup, keeping an extra pawn but giving up the initiative.

On the move 23 the Chinese made a serious mistake, which was left unnoticed by her opponent. Nevertheless, Pogonina kept looking for chances and was rewarded – Zhao Xue got into the time trouble, made several mistakes in a row and had to resign.

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