Bhakti on song
Defending champion Bhakti Kulkarni of Air India is cruising through to defend her title with another superlative performance in the eighth round to maintain the sole lead with seven and a half points in the 46th National Women Chess Championship here at Chettinad Public School.
Bhakti was a class act on Wednesday morning with her black pieces against Tamilnadu Women International Master Nandhidhaa PV in a Scandinavian Defence game. The game was looking equal till the thirtieth move but when the opportunity was provided by her opponent, Bhakti grabbed it with both hands to seal the match in 39 moves.
Meanwhile, Vantika Agrawal of Delhi maintained her second spot in the point table with seven points after beating Michelle Catherina of Tamilnadu in just 24 moves. Playing black side of Queen’s Gambit decline variation, Michelle miscalculated a bishop sacrifice on the eighteenth move which paved way for an easy victory for the Delhi teenager. With six and a half points in the kitty, Air India’s Women Grandmaster Meenakshi S moved to lone third spot. In the eighth round battle, Meenakshi got better off Pratyusha Bodda of Andhra Pradesh.
In other important encounters in the eighth round, top seed Soumya Swaminathan of PSPB defeated Kiran Manisha Mohanty of LIC while third seed Divya Deshmukh of Maharashtra beat Nityata Jain of Madhya Pradesh and Mrudul Dehankar shocked Srija Seshadri. Soumya, Divya, and Mrudul along with national under-17 champion K Priyanka, who defeated Potluri Saye Srreezza of Telangana are now occupying the joint fourth spot with six points.
With three rounds remaining, Bhakti takes on Meenakshi while Vantika and Divya paired against K Priyanka and Mrudul respectively in the ninth round on Thursday.
Round-8 :- WIM Nandhidhaa PV of Tamilnadu (5.5) lost to WGM Bhakti Kulkarni of Air India (7.5); Vantika Agrawal of Delhi (7) beat WIM Michelle Catherina of Tamilnadu (5.5); WGM Meenakshi S of Air India (6.5) beat WIM Pratyusha Bodda of Andhra Pradesh (5.5); WGM Soumya Swaminathan of PSPB (6) beat WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty of LIC (5); WIM Divya Deshmukh of Maharashtra (6) beat Nityata Jain of Madhya Pradesh (5); WIM Srija Seshadri of Tamilnadu (5) lost to WCM Mrudul Dehankar of Maharashtra (6); WIM Bagyashree Thipsay of Maharashtra (5.5) drew with WGM Mary Ann Gomes of PSPB (5.5); Potluri Saye Srreezza of Telangana (5) lost to Priyanka K of Tamilnadu (6); WGM Swati Ghate of LIC (5.5) drew with WIM Harshita Guddanti of Andhra Pradesh (5.5); WIM Sakshi Chitlange of Maharashtra (5.5) beat Bala Kannamma P of Tamilandu (5); WIM Priyanka Nutakki of Andhra Pradesh (5) drew with WGM Aarthie Ramaswamy of Air India (5); IM Nisha Mohota of PSPB (5) drew with Rutuja Bakshi of Maharashtra (5); WFM Sanskriti Goyal of Uttar Pradesh (5) drew with WCM Isha Sharma of Karnataka (5); Abhirami Madabushi of Telangana (4.5) lost to WIM Varshini V of Tamilnadu (4.5); Neha Singh of Bihar (4) lost to IM Vijayalakshmi S of Air India (5).