Mariya Muzychuk vs Koneru Humpy 1-0, WCC Sochi 2015 Round 4.1
The second successful story is again by Natalia Pogonina. She was once again behind the train with the first game lost to Zhao Xue. But then the Benko Gambit came in to rescue. Natalia won the second game via Benko Gambit that accepted but too passive for Zhao Xue to played as white. In the rapid game, Natalia repeated the Benko and won the first rapid, draw the second. Thus Natalia Pogonina also heroically in the semi final for the good Mother Russia cause. Well, talking about Benko Gambit, Viktorija Cmilyte also used this , twice against Meri Arabidze but her games are only draw.
Meri Arabize herself found no more luck against the super luck Harika Dronavalli. Harika once again show her rook ending power to win the match 1.5-0.5. Noted the opening for the second game in round 4 is Torre Attack, which utilized to achieve the double rook ending very quick by Harika.
Then Pia Cramling made the story of the day by eliminated Anna Muzychuk. Both played the most games in the quarterfinal. Pia Cramling won the first rapid games in black, to be returned by Anna in second rapid game. In the semi-blitz game, Anna defended the black side by repeting the Benoni she once played in game 1 against Pia Cramling. This time it is very difficult to see why the position slowly turned into white benefit. Pia Cramling wins the third tie break game. The last tie break game was also very tense. It is a Sicilian Kan that favorite by Pia Cramling. Pia get the nice position after Anna's 14..e5? Position became risky for white. But then in the end Pia Cramling not found the best move and happy with the draw result.
Anna Muzychuk vs Pia Cramling 1/2-1/2, WCC Sochi 2015 Round 4.6
Women's Chess Championship Semi Final Pairings - Sochi 2015
IM Mariya Muzychuk (2526 Ukraine) vs GM Harika Dronavalli (2492 India)
Harika's success so far can be said upon two things, her opening is solid and her endgame seems hold on enough. Suddenly Harika is a fearsome opponent when came to tense fight also. She is on her second semi finals as in the 2012 she got eliminated by Antoneata Stefanova. Mariya Muzychuk herself continued to be stronger and stronger in the field. Eliminating Koneru is quite a big task and her morale is high. Her big sister may help as well. On their both encounter, Mariya vs Harika, Harika is on +1 after about 10 games in chessgames.com Mariya now hold the strongest elo among the semi finalist. This is pairing will show the battle of Mariya the Tactical vs Harika the positional.
GM Pia Cramling (2495 Sweden) vs WGM Natalia Pogonina (2456 Russia)
Not much expected Pia Cramling to able to get to semifinals. She demonstrated that her experience and stamina still very strong. Same thing can be said to Natalia Pogonina, although her story is look stronger. Natalia both coming back from losses in round 3 and round 4. Her Benko Gambit is probably can't work smoothly against the experience Pia Cramling. Interestingly they are both very equal on four meetings. Looks like exciting fight of contrasting player we have here.