Chess: Surat Tennis Club to host women’s national c’ship

History will be made on Saturday, when the 44th National women’s premier chess championship opens at the Surat Tennis Club, which turned 90 this year.

Padmini Rout has won it on the last three occasions and the 23-year-old from Odisha feels it’s going to be an interesting tournament “with a nice mix of former champions and newcomers.”   -  PTI

This port city is steeped in history. It was from here that India’s colonisation by the British began, on August 24, 1608, with the arrival of the first ever ship of the East India Company.

History of different kind will be made on Saturday, when the 44th National women’s premier chess championship opens at the Surat Tennis Club, which turned 90 this year. “It is the most important chess tournament ever to be organised at Surat,” said Ankit Dalal, joint secretary, Gujarat State Chess Association.

A bunch of talented female players have assembled here to ensure that the country’s premier domestic tournament for women would be a memorable affair. Prominent among them are Padmini Rout, Mary Ann Gomes and Soumya Swaminathan; the title hasn’t gone out of this group of three even once since 2010.

Padmini has won it on the last three occasions. “I think it is going to be a very interesting tournament with a nice mix of former champions and newcomers,” said the 23-year-old from Odisha.

The highest rated player in the field though is the Kolkata-based Mary, with 2,333 Elo points. “The presence of young players like Sakshi Chitlange, Samridhaa Ghosh and P.V. Nandhidhaa will spice up the tournament,” she said. “And there are also players who have come here in great form, like Bhakti Kulkarni.”

The 12-player round-robin tournament carries a prize fund of ₹6 lakh, with the champion taking home ₹1.75 lakh. The event concludes on December 6.

The field: Mary Ann Gomes (rating 2333), Padmini Rout (2324), Soumya Swaminathan (2320), Bhakti Kulkarni (2311), Swati Ghate (2277), Sakshi Chitlange (2248), P.V. Nandhidhaa (2190), S. Meenakshi (2165), Kiran Manisha Mohanty (2159) P. Bala Kannamma (2058), Samridhaa Gosh (1988) Srishti Pandey (1885).