Bulgarian Chess Prodigy Salimova Suffers First Setback in Women's Challengers Tournament

Nurgyul Salimova, the rising star of Bulgarian chess, faced her first defeat at the World Women's Chess Challengers tournament held in Toronto, marking a setback in her otherwise impressive performance.

In the third round of the tournament, Salimova encountered formidable opponent Vaishali Rameshbabu from India, succumbing to a loss with the black pieces after 33 moves of intense gameplay. Despite her valiant efforts, the 20-year-old Salimova now stands with just one point to her credit, facing the challenge of regaining momentum in the fiercely competitive tournament.

Both Salimova and her opponent Vaishali, aged 22, are the youngest contenders in the women's category, adding an element of youthful energy and dynamism to the tournament. Their clash unfolded in the classic variant of the Russian Party, characterized by strategic maneuvering and meticulous calculation.

The game progressed slowly, with only 18 moves played in the first three hours, reflecting the cautious approach adopted by both players. However, Vaishali's decisive move, sacrificing her knight on move 14, proved to be a turning point, shifting the balance in her favor. Salimova's subsequent moves, albeit weak, allowed Vaishali to seize control of the position, ultimately leading to her victory.

Despite the setback, Salimova remains determined to bounce back in the upcoming rounds of the tournament. In the fourth round, she will face another Indian contender, Humpy Koneru, armed with the white pieces. Koneru, aged 37, boasts an impressive track record with three draws and 1.5 points accumulated thus far.


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