chessbase india logo

National Women's 2019 R08: Bhakti's...Kxd7?! Wow! What sort of a move is that?

by Satanick Mukhuty - 25/07/2019

Bhakti Kulkarni continues to steal the show at the 46th National Women's Championship 2019. In round 8, victory came once again, this time against Nandhidhaa P V and that too playing the black side of the super weird Scandinavian opening. With the current state of things one might as well say that the Bhakti effect is taking over the tournament. However, possibilities still abound as just half a point behind breathing down Bhakti's neck is Vantika Agrawal. Meenakshi Subbaraman too has climbed up the leaderboard with formidable performances in the last two rounds and has every chance at putting a stop to Bhakti's dream run. With only three rounds remaining, the contest is still excitingly open to many!

Bhakti's masterclass in Scandinavian!

Bhakti Kulkarni surprised her opponent Nandhidhaa P V with 1.e4 d5 to register yet another victory on the eighth round of the event | Photo: IA Gopakumar Sudhakaran

In round 8 of the 46th National Women's Championship 2019 Bhakti Kulkarni was up against Nandhidhaa P V on the top board. The latter had the White pieces and started off with 1.e4 to which Bhakti replied by pushing her queen's pawn two squares! In today's age of engine based opening preparation, the Scandinavian defense has been conclusively declared as unsound for first class tournament play. Yet this obscure line keeps making fashionable comebacks even in the most elite circles. Only earlier this month it made a notable appearance in the second leg of 2019 Grand Chess Tour in Zagreb, Croatia when Shakhriyar Mamedyarov played it against Fabiano Caruana in their tenth round encounter of the event. While certainly not the best weapon for regular use, its surprise element does make it one of the ideal choices for occasional ventures.

Nandhidhaa P V - Bhakti Kulkarni, Round 8

Position after 9...e6: Black has already spent a couple of tempi with the queen and it is in this position that things turn interesting.

10.Nxd7 was played here, now how do you recapture the knight on d7? 10...Qxd7 is certainly the first thing you would think of but this wastes another tempo with the queen and allows White to play an early 11.d5. Note, exd5 isn't possible because of the pin along e-file and 11...cxd5 too is out of question because then White has the nasty 12.Bb5! Thus, in this case, Black has to yield to an early liquidation in the center with something like 11...0-0-0 12.dxe6 Bxe6 etc. Bhakti surely didn't want this. After all, a surprise in the opening becomes meaningless if you simplify things that quickly. 10...Nxd7 also runs into similar problem with d5. Therefore, the move she played was 10...Kxd7!? adding to the surprise!

10...Kxd7, wow! What sort of a move is that?! Looks completely original, but this move has been already played in 19 games before. It prepares to castle artificially with Rd8 followed by Kc8 and also puts the king out of the e-file so that now 11.d5 isn't possible anymore.

The game followed 11.0-0-0 Rd8 12.Bg5 Kc8 and Black was able to keep the tension in the position. Next step was to develop the f8 bishop and double up the rooks on the d-file.

Position after 15...Rhd8: Now it is Black who has all the say in the center.

Position after 19...c5: Time to make a breakthrough!

It was Black who now made the choice to simplify in the center. After a few exchanges with 20.g5 Nd5 21.Bxd5 exd5 22.dxc5 d4 23.Ne4 Bxc5 24.Bg3 Qc6 25.Nxc5 Qxc5 lines opened up and Black's position started to look good.

Position after 25...Qxc5: The c2 pawn starts looking vulnerable and Black's d-pawn firmly supported by the rooks keeps White's counterplay in check.

28.Bf4 It was here that White made the first "serious" mistake of the game. Can you find a way for Black to capitalize on it?

In the game Bhakti went 28...Qf5 and after 29.Qd2 Rc8 there was just too much pressure on the c2 pawn.

Position after 29...Rc8: Black systematically piles up the pressure on c2 and at an opportune time hopes to get d3 in.

At this point White was already worse and it would have been best to just continue with 30.h4 but Nandhidhaa instead played 30.Rg2 which only quickened the fate of the game. Black simply took 30...Qxh3 and after 31.Rf2 Qf5 32.Bh2 Qd5 33.Re2 Bxc2 even the c2 pawn was picked.

Position after 33...Bxc2: White can't recapture as after 34.Rxc2 Rxc2 35.Qxc2 comes 35...d3 fork!

34.Re5 was played but now came 34...Qxf3 exploiting White's back-rank issues, 35.Rxc2 was still out of question because of 35...Qf1+ - thus, Black had three clear extra pawns. Unsurprisingly resignation came after only five more moves!

With her Scandinavian victory Bhakti continues to remain in the sole lead with an impressive score of 7.5/8 | Photo: IA Gopakumar Sudhakaran

With only three more rounds remaining it will be exciting to see if Bhakti can maintain her impressive run and win the event. Only half a point behind is Vantika Agrawal who too has managed to stay unbeaten so far in the tournament. In round 8 she actually found an easy victory against Michelle Catherina to stay at Bhakti's heels. Let's check out what happened in this game.


Vantika Agrawal - Michelle Catherina, Round 8

Position after 18.Bxe4

The above position was reached out of a closed Catalan. White does seem to have an edge here with the pair of bishops but things are far from being conclusive. 18...b4 19.axb4 Bxb4 is a fine continuation here that leaves about even chances but Black miscalculated a tactic here and went 18...Bxf2+

After 19.Kxf2 the fork 19...Nc5 does look promising ... Can you see what Black missed in this position?

After 19.Kxf2 Nc5 the move 20.Rxd8 leaves equal chances as after 20...Nxb3 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 Black regains material, while something like 20.Qc2 simply loses to 20...Nxe4+. But what Michelle missed here was 20.Bxh7+!

20.Bxh7+! is the only way for White to take the initiative and this is what Black overlooked! 

20...Kxh7 now comes with 21.Qc2+ after which White just picks up the queen, so Black played 20...Kh8 here and this was replied by 21.Qf3!

All tactics work in White's favour. Black can't go 21...Qxd1 as 22.Qh5 next comes with the threat of mate and all sorts of deadly discoveries.

The game followed 21...Qb6 22.Be3 Kxh7 23.b4 axb4 24.axb4 and in the following position Black resigned.

Black is simply losing the knight on c5 after 24.axb4 and ending up a piece down.

Is Chess 99% tactics? ... Well, after this game Michelle Catherina will agree!

Earlier in round-5 Vantika had miraculously saved a lost game against Bhakti. She is making the most out of her opportunities and is all set to take the lead if Bhakti slips. | Photo: IA Gopakumar Sudhakaran

Mrudul Dehankar continues to make one upset after another as she clinched another victory against higher rated Srija Seshadri | Photo: IA Gopakumar Sudhakaran

Meenakshi Subbaraman has won her last two rounds games. In round 8 she beat Pratyusha Bodda. In the next round she is up against Bhakti, what do you think would be the result of this game? | Photo: IA Gopakumar Sudhakaran

Priyanka K has climbed up the leaderboard beating Potluri Saye Srreezza in the last round | IA Gopakumar Sudhakaran

Divya Deshmukh won her eighth round game against Nityata Jain, the 13-year-old is now on 6.0/8 along with Soumya Swaminathan, Priyanka K, and Mrudul Dehankar | IA Gopakumar Sudhakaran

Results of round 8

Bo.No.NameRtgClub/CityPts. ResultPts. NameRtgClub/CityNo.
19WIMNandhidhaa P V 2259TN 0 - 1 WGMKulkarni Bhakti 2388AI2
210WIMVantika Agrawal 2243DEL6 1 - 0 WIMMichelle Catherina P 2226TN12
318WGMMeenakshi Subbaraman 2163AI 1 - 0 WIMPratyusha Bodda 2265AP8
41WGMSoumya Swaminathan 2402PSPB5 1 - 05 WGMKiran Manisha Mohanty 2054LIC26
53WIMDivya Deshmukh 2373MAH5 1 - 05 WFMJain Nityata 2135MP20
65WIMSrija Seshadri 2306TN5 0 - 15 WCMMrudul Dehankar 2074MAH24
721WIMThipsay Bagyashree Sathe 2093MAH5 ½ - ½5 WGMGomes Mary Ann 2303PSPB6
830Potluri Saye Srreezza 1999TEL5 0 - 15 Priyanka K 2217TN14
915WGMSwati Ghate 2192LIC5 ½ - ½5 WIMHarshita Guddanti 2078AP23
1017WIMChitlange Sakshi 2168MAH 1 - 05 Bala Kannamma P 2051TN27
117WIMPriyanka Nutakki 2293AP ½ - ½ WGMRamaswamy Aarthie 2020AI28
1213IMMohota Nisha 2221PSPB ½ - ½ Bakshi Rutuja 1958MAH33
1334WFMSanskriti Goyal 1948UP ½ - ½ WCMSharma Isha 2188KAR16
1452Abhirami Madabushi 1689TEL 0 - 1 WIMVarshini V 2087TN22
1544Singh Neha 1809BIH4 0 - 14 IMVijayalakshmi Subbaraman 2357AI4
1611WIMMahalakshmi M 2227RSPB4 - - +4 Sunyasakta Satpathy 1801ODI45
1719WIMParnali S Dharia 2145MAH4 1 - 04 WFMPotluri Supreetha 1873AP41
1846Smaraki Mohanty 1773ODI4 0 - 14 WFMSaranya J 2067TN25
1950Divyabharathi Masanam 1730TN4 0 - 14 Meenal Gupta 2004J&K29
2056WCMChinnam Vyshnavi 1664AP4 ½ - ½4 Saranya Y 1959TN32

Standings after round 8

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 w-we
12WGMKulkarni BhaktiIND2388AI7,50,040,043,540,0071,59
210WIMVantika AgrawalIND2243DEL7,00,039,042,536,0062,33
318WGMMeenakshi SubbaramanIND2163AI6,50,036,038,530,5051,70
43WIMDivya DeshmukhIND2373MAH6,00,039,042,529,255-0,46
51WGMSoumya SwaminathanIND2402PSPB6,00,038,041,528,255-0,58
614Priyanka KIND2217TN6,00,032,536,026,505-0,88
724WCMMrudul DehankarIND2074MAH6,00,032,536,025,7551,59
89WIMNandhidhaa P VIND2259TN5,50,039,542,525,255-0,10
912WIMMichelle Catherina PIND2226TN5,50,038,042,027,254-0,39
108WIMPratyusha BoddaIND2265AP5,50,036,540,025,005-0,81
1121WIMThipsay Bagyashree SatheIND2093MAH5,50,035,538,522,7550,40
1223WIMHarshita GuddantiIND2078AP5,50,034,537,524,2541,36
136WGMGomes Mary AnnIND2303PSPB5,50,033,036,524,004-1,23
1415WGMSwati GhateIND2192LIC5,50,033,035,021,755-0,91
1522WIMVarshini VIND2087TN5,50,032,536,023,254-0,69
1617WIMChitlange SakshiIND2168MAH5,50,029,533,022,755-1,57
174IMVijayalakshmi SubbaramanIND2357AI5,00,036,540,523,754-1,96
1830Potluri Saye SrreezzaIND1999TEL5,00,036,539,020,0050,97
1928WGMRamaswamy AarthieIND2020AI5,00,036,040,024,2531,87
205WIMSrija SeshadriIND2306TN5,00,035,539,022,504-1,74

The ninth round of the event begins at 10 a.m IST today. Follow live.

Contact Us