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|Saturday, December 09, 2000, updated at 16:22(GMT+8)|
Chinese Chess Women Take Half Seats in SemifinalsChina's defending world champion Xie Jun and her teammate Qin Kanying entered the semifinals of the ongoing Women's World Chess Championship, which offers the top individual honor in women's chess.
In the semifinals, Xie will take on Ekaterina Kovalevskaya of Russia while Qin will face Alisa Maric of Yugoslavia.
Xie, who defeated Ukrainian women's grandmaster and European champion Natalia Zhukova with one win and one draw in the just- concluded fourth round, has taken one step closer to the goal of retaining her crown. She won the title in 1999 by beating Russian Alisa lliamova.
"This is the first time for Xie to play a world championship under the newly-adopted two-match knockout format," said Lin Feng, team leader of the Chinese squad, "Yet she has become used to it rather quickly."
Meanwhile, he said, the chance for an all-Chinese final is higher than 50 percent.
Veteran Qin, who won the China's national champion at an early age of 14, scored a straight two-match win against Romania's Corina Peptan in the 25-minute tiebreakers.
Peptan ousted two hot favorites in the championship, third- seeded former world champion Maia Chiburdanidze from Russia and 10th-seeded Nana Ioseliani from Georgia, respectively, and was thus regarded as the biggest "dark horse" so far in the competition. However, maybe out of anxiety and nervousness, Peptan made a fatal mistake later and conceded to Qin a bitshop nothing.
Lautier Almira Skripchenko, a young talent from Moldova who disqualified second-seeded Alisa Galliamova in the third round, also lost 0-2 to Maric in the tiebreakers.
In the men's eight quarterfinal players, five of the eight games had to be decided through tiebreakers. Spain's Shirov, England's Adams and Russia's Bareev and Grischuk survived the breathtaking matches and entered the final eight, while Russia's Dreev and Bulgaria's Topalov were still engaged in two more 15- minute tiebreakers by press time.
India's top-seeded player Anand, Russia's defending world champion Khalifman and France's Tkachiev had earned a place in quarterfinals following their victory in the two standard matches ended on Thursday.
As the pairing table shows, Anand and Khalifman will clash in the men's quarterfinals starting on Saturday, which many think will turn out to be a fierce battle with a little bit more favor on the Anand side.
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