Bhakti Kulkarni dumps top seed in Asian chess

With five rounds still to come, Bhakti now shares the lead with Nguyen Thi Mai Hung of Vietnam and it will be a showdown between the two in the next round to determine the sole leader.

Bhakti Kulkarni came up with a sterling effort and went on to register a fine victory with black pieces. (File photo)   -  UDAY DEOLEKAR

Indian Woman Grandmaster Bhakti Kulkarni continued with her dream run and defeated Sarasadat Khademalsharieh of Iran in the fourth round of Asian Women’s Chess Championship here today.

Having beaten higher ranked compatriot Soumya Swaminathan in the previous round with white pieces, Bhakti came up with a sterling effort and went on to register a fine victory with black pieces against the highest ranked player.

It turned out to be a good day for the Indian women in general as higher ranked players Padmini Rout and Soumya scored fine victories after reversals in the third round.

Soumya had a daunting task facing Munguntuul Batkhuyag of Mongolia but he Pune-girl came unflinching to the board and delivered what was required. Padmini Rout scored a regulation victory over Uzbek Nodira Nadirjanova.

With five rounds still to come, Bhakti now shares the lead with Nguyen Thi Mai Hung of Vietnam and it will be a showdown between the two in the next round to determine the sole leader.

In the open championship being organised simultaneously, Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly scored over compatriot Aradvindh Chithambaram to emerge as one of the co-leader on 3.5 points.

It’s a six-way lead at the top with top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, formed FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan, Ehsan Ghaem Maghami of Iran, Chinese duo of Wen Yang and Wei Yi and Ganguly who all have an identical score going in to the fifth round.

It was a hard day’s work for Ganguly out of a Sicilian defence game against Chithambaram who played white. Ganguly is known worldwide as the former second of Viswanthan Anand and his experience came in handy when things got a bit rough in the middle game.

Among other Indians in the fray, Lalith Babu lost to Kasimdzhanov in an endgame that should have been an easy draw but a blunder towards the final stages cost the Indian dearly.

B. Adhiban and Abhijeet Gupta were held to draws by lesser known opponents Firman Syah Farid of Indonesia and Nodirbek Yakubboev of Uzbekistan respectively while Vidit Gujrathi scored a fine win at the expense of Chinese Tin Jingyao.

The open championship will select five players for the next world chess cup while the top ranked woman from here will qualify for the next world women’s championship.

Important results: Round 4 (Indians unless specified):

Men: Wen Yang (Chn, 3.5) drew with Le Quang Liem (Vie, 3.5); Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (Iri, 3.5) drew with Wei Yi (Chn, 3.5); Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzb, 3.5) beat M R Lalith Babu (2.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (2.5) lost to Surya Shekhar Ganguly (3.5); Gao Rui (Chn, 3) drew with S P Sethuraman (3); Firman Syah Farid (Ina, 2.5) drew with B Adhiban (2.5); Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (3) beat Tin Jingyao (Chn, 2); Abhijeet Gupta (2.5) drew with Nodirbek Yakubboev (Uzb, 2.5); Deep Sengupta (3) beat Awam Wahono (Ina, 2); Murali Karthikeyan (2) beat Ortik Nigmatov (Uzb, 1.5); Avalboev Sukhrobjon (Uzb, 1) lost to Rahul Srivatshav (2).

Women: Nguyen Thi Mai Hung(Vie, 3.5) beat Atousa Pourkashiyan (Iri, 3); Hoang Thi Bao Tram (Iri, 3) drew with Li Xueyi (Chn 3); Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Iri, 2) lost to Bhakti Kulkarni (3.5); Guo Qi (Chn, 2.5) drew with Pham Le Thao Nguyen (Vie, 2.5); Mary Ann Gomes (2.5) drew with Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz, 2.5); Mitra Hejazipour (Iri, 3) beat B Pratyusha (2); Soumya Swaminathan (2.5) beat Munguntuul Batkhuyag (Mgl, 1.5); Padmini Rout (2.5) beat Nodira Nadirjanova (Uzb, 1.5); Citra Dewi Ardhiani Anastasia (Ina, 1.5) lost to R Vaishali (2.5).