Kolkata, Nov 20 (IANS) Women’s International Master Michelle Catherina upset overnight leader Soumya Swaminathan while Swati Ghate and Padmini Rout emerged joint leaders after the seventh round of the women’s national premier chess championship here on Friday. Swati and Padmini, who were on half a point behind Soumya on Thursday, moved to the pole position with comfortable victories.
With four rounds to go, the meet at the ICCR now is wide open as Swati and Padmini Ahave collected 5.5 points. PSPB’s Soumya now trail them by half a point. Bhakti Kulkarni and Pratyusha Bodda are in the joint third spot with 4.5 points apiece. A computer engineering student of Anna University, Chennai, Michelle, playing white, won two pawns in the centre in an accelerated dragon against Soumya.
The Tamil Nadu girl then thwarted Soumya’s attack and swapped her pieces to take the game into a winning king and pawn ending. Soumya played on for some time but could not stop the inevitable and resigned. Top seed and defending champion, Padmini of Odisha once against played a splendid game to outclass Tamil Nadu’s Varshini in a sicilian defence.
Padmini used her pawn as a decoy to keep her opponent occupied on the queenside and then effectively transferred her rook to the kingside to win a piece. LIC’s Swati faced little resistance from tail-ender Neha Singh of Bihar in a Ruy Lopez opening with black. She obtained two connected passed pawns on the queenside and nursed them to the seventh rank after which Neha threw in the towel.
IM and former national champion Tania Sachdev of Air India tried desperately to squeeze out a win from a sterile position against Andhra Pradesh lass Partyusha Bodda in a bishop ending in what was, so far, the longest game of the championship. After 124 moves, the rivals agreed on a draw as neither could make any headway.
World junior girls’ U-14 champion R. Vaishali of Tamil Nadu gave up her rook for bishop against Priyanka Nutakki of Andhra Pradesh for a central pawn advance in a Larsen’s opening. Vaishali had three connected pawns in the centre which Priyanka could not contain despite giving up a piece to stop it’s advance. Bhakti Kulkarni of Goa was fortunate to turn the tables on Tamil Nadu’s K. Priyanka as she blundered the exchange and at one time, was in a clearly inferior position. Priyanka not only misplayed the ending, but even allowed Bhakti to checkmate her on the last rank.