by Arvind Aaron
Scripting a massive recovery run Bhakti Kulkarni won the 44th National Women Challengers that concluded at Mysore on July 29, 2017.
Overcoming an opening round shock loss to Rindhiya (TN), fifth seed Bhakti Kulkarni of Air India, Goa recovered to win nine of her remaining ten games and ceded a draw to second seed Mary Ann Gomes (PSPB).
Bhakti gained 23.20 Elo and also took home Rs.72,000 as prize money. In the important title deciding penultimate round game, she beat the top seed Soumya Swaminathan with the black pieces.
Total prizes distributed were Rs.300,000. The top 20 players received cash prizes out of the 121 players who competed.
Second seed Mary Ann Gomes finished second remaining undefeated on 9/11. She played to expectations and won the last three games in a row.
Top seed Soumya finished third with 8.5 points losing one game to the champion
The event ran from July 21-29 and was organised by the Mysore Sports Club, Mysuru. Eight players from this event qualify for the National Women’s Premier to be held later this year. The chief arbiter was IA L.R Bhuvanaa.
The top 8 players make the qualification. Three from ratings and one last year’s champion will make the 12 for the National Premier. Prominent among those who did not qualify are: seed 3 Swati Ghate, seed 4 Nisha Mohota, seed 6 Pratyusha, seed 8 Srija Seshadri.
Final placings: 1 WGM Bhakti Kulkarni (AI) 9.5/11; 2 WGM Mary Ann Gomes (PSPB) 9; 3 WGM Soumya Swaminathan (PSPB) 8.5; 4 WIM Pv Nandhidhaa (AAI) 8; 5-14. P Bala Kannamma (TN), WGM Kiran Mohanty (LIC), WIM Parnali Dharia (Mah), WGM S Meenakshi (AI), Samriddhaa Ghosh (WB), WGM Swati Ghate (LIC), WFM Arpita Mukherjee (WB), WFM Srija Seshadri (Del), Srishti Pandey (Mah), WIM Sakshi Chitlange (Mah) 7.5 each.