Antoaneta Stefanova from Bulgaria took the lead against the Indian Harika Dronavalli, winning the first game of the match with White pieces. The former World Champion got a promising position after the opening. After lengthy maneuvering White made a break on the kingside and won a pawn.
Black still had drawing chances and could equalize with accurate defending, but Harika impatiently went for a sharp counterattack. She sacrificed another pawn and then a piece, but miscalculated and did not get sufficient compensation for her losses.
Stefanova combined defensive moves with threats to the black king and finished the game with a nice tactical blow that inevitably led to a checkmate.
However, the Ukrainian wrongly rejected the opponent’s exchange sacrifice, and Black managed to come back. A draw was agreed on the 28th move.
Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) – Harika Dronavalli (India) 1-0
Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) – Ju Wenjun (China) draw