The 46th edition of National Women Chess Championship got off to a surprising start as former national champion Women Grandmaster Swati Ghate and seventh seed Women International Master Priyanka Nutakki of Andhra Pradesh suffered shock defeats from the hands of Bindu Saritha of LIC and Senthamizh Yazhini of Tamil Nadu respectively in the opening round here at Chettinad Public School on Friday.
Playing black side of London System game, Swati blundered on 33rd move to hand over piece advantage to her LIC teammate and surrendered after five more moves while Senthamizh used her double rooks to good effect in a classical French Defence game to garner full point as Priyanka crumbled under time pressure towards first-time control.
Apart from Swati, Priyanka and Sakshi, as expected almost all the top-seeded players posted easy victories in the opening round. Top seed and former champion Women Grandmaster Soumya Swaminathan of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board defeated Nanditha V of Telangana while defending champion and former Asian Champion Bhakti Kulkarni made short work of Ananya Bothra of West Bengal. Six times national champion International Master Vijayalakshmi S of Air India had an easy outing against Chinnam Vyshnavi of Andhra Pradesh and third seed Divya Deshmukh of Maharasthra beat teammate Ananya Vora without much struggle.
This 11 Round Swiss System championship with prize fund of Rs. 15,00,000/- attracted a total number of 106 players, which include 2 International Masters, 7 Women Grandmasters, 13 Women International Masters, 8 Women Fide Masters and 97 International Rated Chess players from 23 States/Affiliated units.
Earlier in a colourful opening ceremony, Shri. Sankaranarayanan, RDO Sivagangai District along with Shri. DV Sundar, Hony Vice President FIDE and Shri. Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary All India Chess Federation inaugurated the event in presence of Shri. RM Dongre, President Asian Zone 3.7; Shri Balaji, Tehsildar Karaikudi Town; Shri. Stephen Balasamy, General Secretary Tamilnadu State Chess Association; Shri SP Kumaresan, Chairman Chettinad Public School and Shri Arun Kumar, Vice Chairman Chettinad Public School.