C'wealth c'ship: Bhagyashree stuns Tania

The ladies brigade walked away with the day’s honours in the third round of the Commonwealth chess championship here.

In a battle involving two former Asian and National champions, veteran Bhagyashree Thipsay stunned Tania Sachdev in the third round of the Commonwealth chess championship in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Though lesser-known International Masters Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh and Rishi Sardana proved equal to the top two seeds — Grandmasters Abhijeet Gupta and Aravindh Chithambaram — it was the ladies brigade that walked away with the day’s honours in the third round of the Commonwealth chess championship here.

It is not usual in an open event to find ladies proving more than a handful to higher-rated men. In fact, by the time the dust settled following a spate of upsets, Swati Ghate, Bhakti Kulkarni and K. Priyanka joined GMs Vaibhav Suri, Swapnil Dhopade and local-boy Aradhya Garg in the lead with a ‘perfect’ score.

In a fascinating 32-move battle involving the oldest and the strongest Indian ladies in the fray, former Asian, Commonwealth and National champion Bhagyashree Thipsay, 55, turned the clock back and overpowered Tania Sachdev, also a former Asian and National champion.

Even as Abhijeet, down a pawn, settled for a 58-move draw against Shaikh and Chithambaram drew in 36 moves with Rishi Sardana representing Australia, Swati stunned GM Deepan Chakravarthy, Bhakti outlasted International Master Shyam Nikhil in 84 moves and Priyanka surprised another IM C. R. G. Krishna in 35 moves.

Among the three male leaders, only Garg caused an upset at the expense of M. S. Thej Kumar, the strongest IM in the field.

Grandmasters Abhijit Kunte and Tejas Bakre could get no more than a draw after facing Mary Ann Gomes and Sri Lanka’s G. M. H. Thilakarathne.

Important third round results (Indian unless stated):

Open: Mohammad Nubairshah (2.5) drew with Abhijeet Gupta (2.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (2.5) drew with Rishi Sardana (Aus, 2.5); Aleksandar Wohl (Aus, 2) lost to Vaibhav Suri (3); Soumya Swaminathan
(2) lost to Swapnil Dhopade (3); Abhijit Kunte (2.5) drew with Mary Ann Gomes (2.5); Swati Ghate (3) bt Deepan Chakkravarthy (2); Nisha Mohota (2) lost to Ankit Rajpara (3); P. Shyamnikhil (2) lost to Bhakti Kulkarni (3); G. M. H. Thilakarathne  (Sri, 2.5) drew with Tejas Bakre (2.5); K. Priyanka (3) bt C. R. G. Krishna (2); Aradhya Garg (2.5) bt M. S. Thej Kumar (1.5); Bhagyashree Thipsay (2.5) bt Tania Sachdev (1.5); Mohammad Taibur Rahman (2) drew with Mitrabha Guha (2).