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Women's Premier R04-06: Soumya in sole lead

by Sagar Shah - 19/11/2015

Soumya Swaminathan leads the National Women Premier after six rounds with a score of 5.0/6. She is followed closely by Swati Ghate and Padmini Rout who are on 4.5/6 and Pratyusha Bodda on four points. Especially worrying is the form of Tania Sachdev who is only on 2.0/6. The participants recieved a fine boost as the Governor of Bengal visited the venue. With five rounds to go this is shaping up to be an exciting contest. We have some nice pictures as well as analysis from the event.

We are past the half way stage at the 42nd Women's Premier tournament taking place in Kolkata from the 12th-24th November 2015. Six rounds have been completed out of the stipulated eleven and we finally have a sole leader - WGM Soumya Swamninathan.

Soumya has been playing a great tournament. She has drawn her games with Tania Sachdev and Pratyusha Bodda and beaten strong players like R.Vaishali and Bhakti Kulkarni
In the fourth round Soumya played an excellent positional game against Bhakti Kulkarni. The game started as a French Defence and Bhakti started making a few passive moves. Before she could even know it, her position was completely over-run by the white pieces. Look at the position below just to get an idea of how dominant White was.
Soumya Swaminathan - Bhakti Kulkarni, round four
White to play. It is certain that White has a huge edge here but how would you build the pressure?
One of Soumya's great facets is that she is always tactically aware. A slow positional player would have enjoyed herself in the above situation as white. But Soumya was quick to spot the tactical 33.Rdxd5! exd5 34.Rxe8 and for the exchange she had a pawn and strong attack against the opponent's king. So how to build the pressure was a trick question! The pressure had been built. It was time to cash in.
[Event "RamRatna 42nd National Women Premier Che"]
[Site "Kolkata"]
[Date "2015.11.16"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Soumya, Swaminathan"]
[Black "Kulkarni, Bhakti"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C11"]
[WhiteElo "2341"]
[BlackElo "2257"]
[PlyCount "119"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[Source "MonRoi"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qd2
O-O 9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. O-O-O Qa5 11. Kb1 Bb4 12. a3 Be7 $6 (12... Bxc3 $1 13.
Qxc3 Qxc3 14. bxc3 $13) 13. Qe1 a6 14. Nd4 Qc7 15. Qg3 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 f6 17.
exf6 Bxf6 18. Be2 Bxd4 19. Rxd4 Nb8 20. Rf1 Nc6 21. Rdd1 Rb8 22. Bg4 b5 23. Qh3
Rf6 24. Rfe1 Rh6 25. Qf3 Ne7 26. Ne2 Nc6 27. Nd4 Nxd4 28. Rxd4 Rf6 29. Qe3 Bd7
30. Qd2 Rb6 31. g3 Rc6 32. Re5 Be8 33. Rdxd5 exd5 34. Rxe8+ Kf7 35. Re5 Rfd6
36. Bf3 d4 37. Bd5+ Kf8 38. Bxc6 Qxc6 39. Qd3 g6 40. f5 Qh1+ 41. Ka2 Qc6 42.
Qd2 Qc4+ 43. b3 Qc8 44. fxg6 hxg6 45. Re4 Qc6 46. Rf4+ Kg8 47. Qf2 Qc8 48. Rf3
a5 49. Kb2 a4 50. b4 Qe8 51. h4 Qe7 52. Qf1 Rd5 53. g4 Re5 54. Qd3 Qd6 55. g5
Re6 56. Qxb5 Kg7 57. Qxa4 Qe5 58. Rd3 Re7 59. Qc6 Re6 60. Qd7+ 1-0
It was as if the loss to Soumya spurred on Bhakti. She was reeling at 1.5/4 but in rounds five and six she beat Swati Ghate and Tania Sachdev respectively!
Bhakti against Swati reached a very interesting hanging pawns situation out of the opening. The girl from Goa very systematically built pressure on the black pawns on c5 and d5. But as we all know Swati well, she was ready for a counter attack!
Bhakti Kulkarni - Swati Ghate, Round five
With the move d5-d4 the position was thrown wide open. Bxf3 would ruin White's kingside structure and Black would get a strong attack. This is exactly what happened and we reach a critical position after a few moves.
Black (Swati) has to choose from two continuations here Rg6+ or Qxe4. What would you play?
Swati had an easy win with the move 29....Rg6+! 30.Kf1 and then 30...Qxe4 and it's all over. The rook is coming to e8, there is Qg2+ or Qh1+. White is unconditionally lost. But in the game Swati went for first Qxe4. And that gave Bhakti the opportunity to play 30.Be5! Rg6 31. Bg3! blocking the kingside and safeguarding the king. It was one of those moments when Swati must have been kicking herself for missing the straightforward win. And maybe in that frustration she went on to lose the equal position. There are some nice variations which have been analyzed in the javascript board below.
[Event "RamRatna 42nd National Women Premier Che"]
[Site "Kolkata"]
[Date "2015.11.17"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Kulkarni, Bhakti"]
[Black "Swati, Ghate"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E14"]
[WhiteElo "2257"]
[BlackElo "2230"]
[PlyCount "155"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[Source "MonRoi"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. e3 e6 5. Qc2 b6 6. Nc3 Bb7 7. b3 Nbd7 8. Bb2
Be7 9. Bd3 Rc8 10. O-O c5 11. Qe2 O-O 12. Rac1 Qc7 13. cxd5 exd5 14. dxc5 bxc5
15. Rfd1 Qa5 16. Bf5 Rcd8 17. Rc2 Rfe8 18. Qb5 Qc7 19. Rcd2 d4 20. exd4 Bxf3
21. gxf3 Qf4 22. Bxd7 Rxd7 23. Ne4 Red8 24. Qe2 Nxe4 25. fxe4 Bd6 26. Qh5 Bc7
27. Bc3 Rd6 28. d5 Qxe4 $6 (28... Rg6+ $1 29. Kf1 Qxe4 30. Qh3 Qh1+ 31. Ke2
Re8+ $19) 29. Be5 $6 Rg6+ (29... Rh6 $5 30. d6 $3 (30. Qxh6 $2 gxh6 31. Bxc7
Rd7 32. Bg3 f5 $19) 30... Rxh5 31. dxc7 Rf8 32. Rd8 Rxe5 33. Rxf8+ Kxf8 34.
c8=Q+ Re8 $11) 30. Bg3 $1 $11 Bxg3 31. fxg3 Re8 $6 (31... Rg4 $11) 32. d6 Qe3+
33. Kg2 Rge6 34. Qd5 Rd8 35. d7 Rf6 36. Rc1 h5 37. Rxc5 Qe1 38. Qd3 h4 39. Rc8
h3+ 40. Kxh3 Qe6+ 41. Kg2 Rxc8 42. dxc8=Q+ Qxc8 43. Qd8+ Qxd8 44. Rxd8+ Kh7 45.
Rd7 a6 46. Rd4 g5 47. g4 Kg6 48. Rd2 Re6 49. Rf2 Re4 50. h3 a5 51. Kf3 Rb4 52.
Rc2 Rf4+ 53. Ke2 Re4+ 54. Kd3 Rf4 55. Rc6+ f6 56. Ra6 Rf3+ 57. Kc2 Rf2+ 58. Kb1
Rh2 59. Rxa5 Rxh3 60. Rc5 Kf7 61. Kb2 Rh4 62. Rc4 Rh2+ 63. Rc2 Rh4 64. Rg2 f5
65. gxf5 Kf6 66. a4 Kxf5 67. a5 Kf4 68. Kc3 g4 69. b4 Kf3 70. Rd2 g3 71. a6 Rh1
72. b5 Ra1 73. Kc4 g2 74. Rxg2 Kxg2 75. Kc5 Kf3 76. Kb6 Ke4 77. Ka7 Kd5 78. b6
Swati came back after her loss against Bhakti to beat Pratyusha Bodda. She is currently on 4.5/6 and in the second position
After her loss in the third round, Padmini has made a comeback with three wins and is currently on 4.5/6 and in the joint second position
Pratyusha Bodda from Andhra Pradesh is on 4.0/6 and has beaten the top seed Padmini Rout and Michelle Catherina and also drawn with Soumya. In the sixth round she lost to Swati Ghate.
There are a lot of expectations from the 14-year-old R.Vaishali who is the National Challengers champion as well as World under 14 winner. However, she had a thoroughly dismal start to her tournament with a score of 0.5/4. She is picking up speed now and is on 2.5/6 with a win over Tania Sachdev.
The second seed of the event, Tania Sachdev, is having a terrible tournament. She has lost three games and drawn two and is on 2.0/6. She is already losing 23 Elo points. A rest day is maybe what Tania requires to get back on track.
The stylish playing hall at the Bengal Gallery
FA Anandh Babu VL (left) and IA Srivatsan are the arbiters at the event
Stalwarts of India chess (left to right): GM Dibendyu Barua, Bharat Singh and IM Atanu Lahiri
It was good news for chess fans that Governor of West Bengal Keshari Nath Tripathi visited the tournament hall. Seated from left to right: Goutam De, Ashok Motwani, H.E.Keshari Nath Tripathi , Tribhuvan Ji Kabra, Srenik Sett and Dibendyu Barua. 
The rankings crosstable after round six
Pictures provided by organizers