India’s Koneru Humpy opened her campaign in the Cairns Cup chess tournament with a win over American teenager Carissa Yip while world champion Ju Wenjun shared honours in her first round game in St. Louis, USA on Saturday.
Dronavalli Harika, the other Indian in the fray, was held to a draw by Katernya Lango of Russia in 47 moves. Humpy and Dzagnide are the early leaders after posting wins in the first round.
Humpy, the current world rapid chess champion, was in for a surprise when the young American came up with her choice of the King’s Indian Defence. She, however, showed the value of experience by exploiting a positional error ruthlessly to win in 50 moves.
The day’s other winner was Nana Dzagnidze, who confidently beat last year’s champion Valentina Gunina after picking up a pawn on move 15.
The other two games between Mariya Muzychuk and the recently crowned world champion Ju Wenjun and Alexandra Kosteniuk and Irina Krush were draws.
Humpy faces Muzychuk in the second round with black pieces while Dzagnidze will take on Harika, also with black.
The 10-payer tournament concludes on February 17.
Results: First round: Koneru Humpy (India) beat Carissa Yip; Maria Muzychuk drew Ju Wenjun; Katernya Lagno (Russia) drew Dronavalli Harika; Nana Dzagnidze beat Valentina Gunina (Russia); Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) drew Irina Krush (USA).