Humpy, Harika held to draws in Cairns Cup chess

St Louis (USA), Feb 15 (PTI) India's Koneru Humpy remained in joint lead with world champion Wenjun Ju with 4.5 points after a drawn game in the seventh round of the 2nd Cairns Cup here.

Humpy, the world rapid chess champion, had to settle for a draw with American Irina Krush in the seventh round late on Friday.

Dronvalli Harika, the other Indian in the fray, was held to a draw by another American Carissa Yip, who has bounced back strongly after four straight defeats with two wins and a drawn game.

Humpy, the Indian no.1, took on Krush in a Nimzo-Indian game and could not force a result as the American held on in 52 moves.

Harika with white pieces, was up against Yip who appeared to be regaining her form after a poor start and the two signed the peace treaty after 43 moves.

The Ju-Nana Dzagnidze game ended in a draw in 74 moves while former world champ Mariya Muzychuk claimed the only decisive game of the day, beating Russian Valentia Gunina.

In the eighth round later on Saturday, Humpy will meet Gunina while Harika will be up against the challenge of Muzychuk.

Results: Seventh round: Koneru Humpy (India) 4.5 drew with Irina Krush (USA) 2.5; Dronavalli Harika (India) 3.5 drew with Carissa Yip (USA) 2.5; Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia) 4 drew with Wenjun Ju (China) 4/5; Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) 4 drew with Katernya Lagno (Russia) 3.5; Valentina Gunina (Russia) 2.5 lost to Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine) 4. PTI SS BS BS