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Priyanka K. wins under-17 Nationals for second time in a row!

by Sagar Shah - 22/09/2018

She is a fighter not just on the chess board but also in life. Priyanka's chess career was on the rise and she was doing very well until a disaster struck her family. She was ten years old and her father met with an accident and passed away. Since then apart from the feeling of someone missing in her life, Priyanka's chess career has been constantly mired with financial difficulties. But her resolve is strong. A strong chess player is what she wants to become and there is nothing that can stop her. At the under-17 national championships recently held in Sonipat, Haryana from 3rd to the 11th of September 2018, she claimed the first spot! This was Priyanka's second under-17 national title after she had won it last year as well.

K. Priyanka winning the under-17 national champion's trophy at the hands of AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan and Haryana State Secretary Naresh Sharma

Final rankings:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
12Priyanka KIND2163Tamil Nadu9,50,071,576,564,508
27WCMJyothsna LIND1964Tamil Nadu9,00,072,077,561,507
33WFMHarshini AIND2160Tamil Nadu7,50,074,079,052,005
41WFMArpita MukherjeeIND2207West Bengal7,50,073,579,050,755
517Tejasvi MIND1747Tamil Nadu7,50,072,076,549,254
64WFMTarini GoyalIND2072Chandigarh7,50,070,575,550,254
712Toshali VIND1875Andhra Pradesh7,50,066,070,545,755
86Sanskriti GoyalIND1965Uttar Pradesh7,00,074,079,045,506
99WFMTanishka KotiaIND1918Haryana7,00,070,575,543,005
105WCMMrudul DehankarIND2065Maharastra7,00,069,574,044,005
1116Adane NarayaniIND1755Maharastra7,00,067,572,542,507
128Pandey SrishtiIND1958Maharastra7,00,067,072,543,506
1310Ghosh SamriddhaaIND1904West Bengal7,00,066,572,042,505
1415WFMBommini Mounika AkshayaIND1787Andhra Pradesh7,00,066,571,542,505
1514WCMJain NityataIND1807Madhya Pradesh7,00,064,570,042,256
1623Garima GauravIND1615Bihar7,00,061,064,536,006
1711Bhagyashree PatilIND1885Maharastra6,50,065,070,037,255
1822Kalyani BIND1656Andhra Pradesh6,50,064,569,538,256
1918Benasir MIND1736Tamil Nadu6,50,064,569,537,755
2028Shriya R RevankarIND1534Karnataka6,50,063,567,537,255

Complete standings

The tournament was not at all easy for Priyanka. There were some extremely strong players starting from the top seed Arpita Mukherjee, who has a rating of above 2200. There was Harshini A (2160), Tarini Goyal (2072), Mrudul Dehankar (2065), L. Jyothsna, all very capable young girls who have even beaten strong IMs on their best days. After four rounds it was Harshini who had taken the sole lead with 4.0/4. She was followed by Priyanka and Jyothsna, who had drawn their games and were trailing the leader by half a point with 3.5/4.  In round 6, the big turnaround took place as top seeded Arpita Mukherjee got the better of Harshini and Priyanka and Jyothsna also managed to move ahead by beating Bhagyashree Patil and Benasir M respectively. At the end of six rounds we now had three leaders - Arpita, Priyanka and Jyothsna with 5.0/6. While Jyothsna and Arpita drew their games, Priyanka grabbed the sole lead by beating Mrudul Dehankar in round seven. Priyanka maintained her lead by drawing the eighth round against Tejasvi M, but was now caught by Jyothsna.


As Priyanka and Jyothsna had already played each other in round four, they both were pitted against different opponents in the ninth round. It was a big test for Priyanka who faced the top seed Arpita Mukherjee in round 9 and she was up to the challenge. She played the aggressive Najdorf and soon had her opponent on the backfoot with a pawn sacrifice! Let's go over the most critical part of the game:

White has just played b3. What is the move that Black must make in order to wrest the initiative from the opponent?

Black sacrificed the pawn with ...d5 and after exchange on b6 - Bxb6 Qxb6 Nxd5 Nxd5 exd5, just moved her bishop back to d7. This is the position that was reached:

This was a very deep pawn sacrifice that was found by MVL and was played by him to beat Fabiano Caruana at Wijk Aan Zee 2015. It seems as if Black is just a pawn down. But Black wants to put her queen on d6, follow it up with f5, and perhaps even e4. And at the same time she wants to push in the move ...h4! to weaken White's kingside. As the game progresses you can see that Black has excellent compensation.

Arpita Mukherjee vs K. Priyanka (annotated by Priyanka K)

Caruana vs MVL (annotated by MVL)

If you enjoyed the above game and learnt from it, it might be a good idea to have your own ChessBase 14 + Mega Database 2018 combo. Mega Database has over 72000+ annotated games by top masters and grandmasters. The point is that there are many games that you can find online and in live database, but the annotations from a world class player like MVL can just make the difference between winning the tournament and missing it by a whisker.

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Back to the tournament! Priyanka won her ninth round game with Arpita and moved to 7.5/9, and Jyothsna too won her game against Sanskriti Goyal. This meant that both of them were now tied in the lead with 7.5/9. In the tenth round Priyanka won another game against Akshaya Bommini. Jyothsna, however, was held to a draw by M. Tejasvi. Thus, going into the last round Priyanka had a half point lead, but it was critical to play well in the last round and win the game. She was up against Sanskriti Goyal. Jyothsna was playing against Tanishka Kotia. Immediately after the opening Priyanka landed in a difficult position where she was pressed for space.


Priyanka K vs Sanskriti Goyal

It was now or never for Priyanka. She sacrificed her knight on f5 for two pawns and hoped that the compensation would be enough

Black has just moved the king to h8. How should White continue the attack?

Priyanka played without a care and sacrificed another piece on h7! Objectively the sacrifice was only good enough for equality, but in a practical game, finding all the defensive ideas proved to be quite difficult for Sanskriti. It is commendable that even in such a high-pressure situation where the national title was at stake, Priyanka managed to put the result on the backseat and played with courage to win the championship. Jyothsna won her game as well, but Priyanka was already half point ahead and was crowned the champion with 9.5/11. A worthy champion!

Priyanka vs Sanskriti Goyal (annotated by Priyanka)

Jyothsna L has been showing some excellent performances lately. She recently won the gold medal in under-14 girls in 2018 and gave Priyanka a run for her money at the under-17 nationals. She is sure to make it big in the years to come.
Interview with Jyothsna L after she became the Commonwealth Champion 2018

A. Harshini had to settle for the third position in the tournament

It is a proud moment for us that Priyanka, who won the MKG scholarship under the HelpChess Initiative, just a couple of months ago has shown some tremendous bit of performance. She gained 55 Elo points at the Abu Dhabi Masters and now she won the under-17 nationals. In spite of all the difficulties she fighting hard and making it big. You can follow Priyanka's progress on this page

Priyanka has already surpassed the 2200 Elo barrier. She already has one WIM norm and will be looking to make the other two pretty soon. It won't be long before she becomes a WIM. We congratulate her for her fine performance at the nationals and wish her the best!

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