On Wednesday, November 14th, 32 participants of the championship, who won their first round matches, played the first games of the second round.

There were fewer decisive games compared to the first round, and the reason is obvious – the strength gap between the players is now much narrower. Yet the World Champion Hou Yifan (China) once again proved her power by winning as Black against the experienced Monika Socko (Poland). 

Another thriller produced Natalia Zhukova (Ukraine), who, also as Black, defeated the rating favorite Humpy Koneru (India). Zhao Zue (China) crushed Nino Khurtsidze (Georgia), Pia Cramling (Sweden) won against Irina Krush (USA), Harika Dronavalli (India) defeated Elina Danielian (Armenia), and Maria Muzychuk defeated the hero of the starting round Maritza Arribas Robaine (Cuba). The rest of the games were drawn.

Russian players Nadezhda Kosintseva, Tatiana Kosintseva and Olga Girya made draws against Lilit Mkrtchian (Armenia), Hoang Thanh Trang (Hungary) and Marie Sebag (France) respectively.

There are two all-Russian pairs in the second round: Alisa Galliamova plays with Valentina Gunina, and Alexandra Kosteniuk faces Natalia Pogonina. These games also ended in draws, despite being the longest in the round.

The 8th Ugra Governor Cup starts  tomorrow in Khanty-Mansiysk. This is a part of the Russian Cup series, the prize fund is 1 million 641 thousand roubles, which is slightly more than $50,000. More than 100 players from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan already registered for the event, including Anton Korobov (2702), Nikita Vitiugov (2700), Alexey Dreev (2654) and Igor Kurnosov (2645). Evgenia Ovod (Russia) and Madina Davletbaeva (Kazakhstan), who already busted from the World Championship, will join the field as well. The tournament will run until November 24th.

Official website: http://chess2012.ugrasport.com

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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