Women Challengers 2017 Round 9: Soumya and Bhakti set up title clash
C. Lakshmi's dream run at the 44th National Challengers 2017 was brought to a halt by WGM Bhakti Kulkarni ater the latter scored a marathon victory with the black pieces. On the second board Soumya Swaminathan beat P.V. Nandhidhaa. This meant that Bhakti and Soumya now jointly lead the tournament with 7.5/9. You can say that the tenth round clash between the two is the most important game of the entire tournament. The winner most certainly has great chances of becoming the champion. Mary Ann Gomes is the only player on 7 points, followed by ten participants on 6.5.
Soumya Swaminathan and Bhakti Kulkarni lead with 7.5/9
Top-seed WGM Soumya Swaminathan (PSPB) and fifth seed Bhakti Kulkarni (Air India), won their respective games on the second and top boards respectively and shared the lead with 7.5 points each from nine rounds at the end of the seventh day at the 44th National women's challengers chess championship 2017.
Playing on the top board with white pieces, over-night joint leader from Tamil Nadu, WFM Lakshmi C (6.5 points), fought gallantly, but faltered with her end game to go down to WGM Bhakti Kulkarni (7.5 points) in 91 moves. Bhakti Kulkarni continued her fine run in the tournament after a first round loss to come back strongly to win five games in a row and then drew one (against second seed WGM Mary Ann Gomes) and after that has won two games in a row to emerge as the joint leader with Soumya.
[Site "Mysore Sports Club, Mysuru, Ka"]
[White "Lakshmi, C."]
[Black "Kulkarni, Bhakti"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 d6 5. c3 f5 6. Qe2 Nf6 7. exf5 Bxf5 8. d4
e4 9. Nh4 Bd7 10. Bg5 d5 11. f3 Be7 12. fxe4 Bg4 13. Nf3 Nxe4 14. Bxe7 Qxe7 15.
O-O O-O 16. Bb3 Rad8 17. Nbd2 Nxd2 18. Qxe7 Nxe7 19. Nxd2 Bf5 20. Rae1 Nc6 21.
Nf3 h6 22. Re3 Na5 23. Re7 Nxb3 24. axb3 Rd7 25. Rfe1 Rfd8 26. R1e5 Be4 27. Nd2
Bg6 28. Nf3 a5 29. R5e6 Bf7 30. Re3 Bh5 31. Nh4 Kf8 32. R7e5 Bd1 33. b4 axb4
34. cxb4 Bc2 35. Re6 Be4 36. Rc3 Kf7 37. Re5 Ra8 38. b3 Ra6 39. b5 Ra5 40. Nf5
Ra1+ 41. Kf2 Ra2+ 42. Kf1 Bxg2+ 43. Kg1 Be4 44. Ng3 Rg2+ 45. Kf1 Rxh2 46. Nxe4
dxe4 47. Rxe4 Rh5 48. Rc5 Rhd5 49. b4 b6 50. Rc4 Rxb5 51. Re3 Rbd5 52. Rec3
Rxd4 53. Rxd4 Rxd4 54. Rxc7+ Kg8 55. b5 Rd5 56. Kg2 Rxb5 57. Kg3 Rb1 58. Rb7
Kh7 59. Kg2 h5 60. Rd7 Kh6 61. Rd6+ g6 62. Re6 h4 63. Kh3 Kh5 64. Re8 Rb3+ 65.
Kg2 g5 66. Rd8 h3+ 67. Kh2 Kh4 68. Rh8+ Kg4 69. Rd8 Rb2+ 70. Kg1 Kh4 71. Rd3 g4
72. Rd4 b5 73. Re4 b4 74. Rd4 b3 75. Rc4 Rc2 76. Rb4 b2 77. Kh1 Kg5 78. Rb5+
Kf4 79. Rb4+ Ke3 80. Rb3+ Kf2 81. Rb7 Rc1+ 82. Kh2 g3+ 83. Kxh3 b1=Q 84. Rf7+
Kg1 85. Rf3 g2 86. Kg3 Kh1 87. Kh3 g1=N+ 88. Kg3 Nxf3 89. Kf2 Qe4 90. Kg3 Kg1
91. Kh3 Qh4# 0-1
Overnight joint-leader and top-seed WGM Soumya Swaminathan (7.5 points), playing with black pieces on the second board capitalized on the error made by Nandhidhaa Pv (AAI) during the end game and registered a crucial win in 43 moves.
[Site "Mysore Sports Club, Mysuru, Ka"]
[White "Nandhidhaa, Pv"]
[Black "Soumya, Swaminathan"]
O-O-O Nc3 9. Bxc3 dxc3 10. Ne4 Nc6 11. Nxc3 Bh6+ 12. Kb1 Nxe5 13. Nd5 Kf8 14.
f4 Nc6 15. g4 d6 16. h3 Bd7 17. Bg2 Rc8 18. Nf3 Bg7 19. Rhf1 b5 20. Nh4 e6 21.
Ne3 Ke7 22. f5 Ne5 23. Nf3 Rc3 24. Rde1 Rhc8 25. Nd4 Bf6 26. Re2 a5 27. Nf3 Bg7
28. Ng5 Bh6 29. f6+ Kf8 30. h4 Kg8 31. Rd1 Bc6 32. Rxd6 Bxg2 33. Nxg2 Nxg4 34.
Ne4 Rf3 35. Rb6 b4 36. a3 bxa3 37. Ra6 Nxf6 38. Nxf6+ Rxf6 39. Rxa5 Rf1+ 40.
Ne1 Rd8 41. Ka2 Rd1 42. Kxa3 Ra1+ 43. Kb4 Bf8+ 0-1
In the biggest upset of the day, Tamil Nadu's unseeded Bala Kannamma P (6.5 points-rating 1977) playing an excellent middle and endgame on the fifth board with white pieces shocked the present Commonwealth women's champion and third seed in the tournament WGM Swati Ghate (LIC-rating 2278) in 64 moves. In another upset win unseeded Andhra Pradesh player G.Sandhya (Rating 1873-6.5 points) shocked WGM Aarathie Ramaswamy (Air India-5.5 points). Sandhya had already beaten Michelle Catherina in the previous round. So this is turning out to be a great event for the girl from Tamil Nadu.
WGM Mary Ann Gomes (PSPB), the second seed after her 42 move win over WFM Arpita Mukherjee (WB) is ranked third with 7 points from nine rounds. Ten players are tied with 6.5 points and are placed from fourth to thirteenth in the rankings after the ninth round. Fourth seeded IM Nisha Mohota (PSPB-6.5 points) scored a good win over Makhija Aashna (Mah) in 31 moves, while WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty (LIC) and WGM Meenakshi Subbaraman (AI) were involved in a 64-move drawn encounter. Srishti Pandey (Mah), WCM Jyotsna (TN), WIM Pranali S Dharia (Mah), WIM Chitlange Sakshi (Mah) scored good wins over their respective rivals.
Results of round 9
|1||30||WFM||Lakshmi C||1952||TN||6½||0 - 1||6½||WGM||Kulkarni Bhakti||2255||AI||5|
|2||7||WIM||Nandhidhaa Pv||2221||AAI||6||0 - 1||6½||WGM||Soumya Swaminathan||2349||PSPB||1|
|3||2||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||2331||PSPB||6||1 - 0||6||WFM||Arpita Mukherjee||2100||WB||19|
|4||13||WGM||Kiran Manisha Mohanty||2170||LIC||6||½ - ½||6||WGM||Meenakshi Subbaraman||2181||AI||10|
|5||25||Bala Kannamma P||1977||TN||5½||1 - 0||5½||WGM||Swati Ghate||2278||LIC||3|
|6||4||IM||Mohota Nisha||2271||PSPB||5½||1 - 0||5½||Makhija Aashna||1947||MAH||31|
|7||32||Pandey Srishti||1930||MAH||5½||1 - 0||5½||Harshita Guddanti||2180||AP||11|
|8||27||WCM||Jyothsna L||1964||TN||5½||1 - 0||5½||WIM||Mahalakshmi M||2154||TN||15|
|9||33||Shetye Siddhali||1920||MAH||5½||0 - 1||5½||WIM||Parnali S Dharia||2140||MAH||16|
|10||18||WIM||Chitlange Sakshi||2112||MAH||5½||1 - 0||5½||Kaur Palkin||1723||DEL||47|
Rank after round 9:
|3||2||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||IND||2331||PSPB||7,0||0,0||50,5||55,5|
|5||13||WGM||Kiran Manisha Mohanty||IND||2170||LIC||6,5||0,0||47,0||51,0|
|6||16||WIM||Parnali S Dharia||IND||2140||MAH||6,5||0,0||45,5||49,0|
|10||25||Bala Kannamma P||IND||1977||TN||6,5||0,0||43,5||47,0|
Pairing for round 10:
|1||1||WGM||Soumya Swaminathan||2349||PSPB||7½||7½||WGM||Kulkarni Bhakti||2255||AI||5|
|2||4||IM||Mohota Nisha||2271||PSPB||6½||7||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||2331||PSPB||2|
|3||10||WGM||Meenakshi Subbaraman||2181||AI||6½||6½||Bala Kannamma P||1977||TN||25|
|4||32||Pandey Srishti||1930||MAH||6½||6½||WGM||Kiran Manisha Mohanty||2170||LIC||13|
|5||38||Sandhya G||1873||AP||6½||6½||WIM||Parnali S Dharia||2140||MAH||16|
|6||27||WCM||Jyothsna L||1964||TN||6½||6½||WIM||Chitlange Sakshi||2112||MAH||18|
|7||19||WFM||Arpita Mukherjee||2100||WB||6||6½||WFM||Lakshmi C||1952||TN||30|
|8||42||Sanskriti Goyal||1805||UP||6||6||WIM||Nandhidhaa Pv||2221||AAI||7|
|9||9||WIM||Pujari Rucha||2191||MAH||6||6||Divya Lakshmi R||1957||TN||29|
|10||41||Ghosh Samriddhaa||1854||WB||6||5½||Harshita Guddanti||2180||AP||11|
About the author
C.K.Muralidharan is a 55-year-old Free-lance Sports Journalist based in Mysore. He has 20 years of experience in sports journalism. He contributes to the Hindu National daily and Daily Star of Mysore on all sports in Mysore for the last 15 years. He has been covering sports in Mysore on his website - www.mysoresport.com. He is the promoter of Mysore Professional Chess Academy. IM M.S.Thejkumar is the Vice-President of the Academy and supervises the coaching programme. He works with the Mysore District Chess Association in order to spread the game of chess through the chess in schools program.