WGM Vantika Agrawal won the first qualifier of the FIDE Chess.com 2022 Women's Speed Chess Championship. On her way to the final, she narrowly defeated the winner of the Swiss qualifier IM Gulnar Mammadova in the quarterfinal and then pummeled IM Alina Bivol in the semifinal.
In a very close final match, Vantika prevailed over WGM Annamaria Marjanovic after winning a thrilling bullet tiebreaker and qualified for the main event.
"I am feeling on top of the world… I am in the middle of my university exams. I thought, should I play or not, it is so hard to qualify. And then I thought, OK, I will play, it is a good practice. It is just an amazing feeling," said the happy winner in a brief interview after the knockout.
Former Women's World Champion and GM Antoaneta Stefanova punched the second qualifying ticket to the FIDE Chess.com 2022 Women's Speed Chess Championship main event.
In the quarterfinal, she squeaked through the winner of the Swiss tournament IM Karina Ambartsumova, then made short work of Anastasia Avramidu in the semis. Her final match against WIM Mobina Alinasab turned into a neck-to-neck race that came down to the wire. Stefanova pulled off a victory in the decisive 1+1 game and secured her place in the main event.
In her short interview after the knockout, Antoaneta talked about numerous hurdles she had to clear on her way to the victory: "Well, it's a long story. As you can see, I'm in a hotel, and also my internet has been so bad. In the two qualifiers, I lost games from it. I lost two games by forfeit because I disconnected while the pairings were being made. So, by one disconnection, I lost two points immediately. It was crazy! I'm playing the Women's League as well in Germany, and it has been a very exhausting event."
The WSCC round of 16 begins on Monday, June 13.
More info and a full schedule of the FIDE Chess.com Women's Speed Chess Championship can be found here.