Aradhya Garg, Srishti Pandey become National junior chess champions

Delhi’s Aradhya Garg capped a dream run with a sixth straight victory while the girls’ title went to Maharashtra’s Srishti Pandey.

Reason to smile: Srishti Pandey and Aradhya Garg after winning the National junior chess titles on Saturday.   -  RAKESH RAO

Delhi’s Aradhya Garg capped a dream run with a sixth straight victory and became the National junior chess champion here on Saturday.

The girls’ title went to Maharashtra’s Srishti Pandey who emerged worthy champion with a one-point margin, with nine players tied for second.

Garg was seeded a distant 20th and Srishti sixth.

In the final round, Garg defeated overnight leader and top seed Koustav Chatterjee with black. As it turned out, this first-year student of Kirori Mal College faced rivals from Bengal in the last four rounds, including fourth seed Rajdeep Sarkar (2362) and second seed Mitrabha Guha (2443).

Garg started his campaign with a win but drew four times in succession to fall behind in the title race. But a stunning wave of victories swept aside other title contenders.

Guha matched Garg’s tally but was placed second on inferior tie-break count. Chatterjee topped a three-way tie for the third place.

Among the girls, the top four boards ended in draws and that saw Srishti maintain her overnight one-point lead. Second seed Arpita Mukherjee and third seed Aakanksha Hagawane, like seven others, tallied eight points to follow Srishti.

Final standings: Open: 1-2. Aradhya Garg (Del), Mitrabha Guha (Ben) (9 points each); 3-5. Koustav Chatterjee (Ben), Aaryan Varshney (Del) and Srijit Paul (Ben) (8.5); 6-11. Jeet Jain (Guj), Saurabh Anand (Bih), Soham Kamotra (J&K), Anuj Shrivatri (MP), G.B. Harshavardhan (TN) and B. Selvamurugan (TN) (8).

Girls: 1. Srishti Pandey (Mah) (9); 2-10. Arpita Mukherjee (Ben), Aakanksha Hagawane (Mah), B. Mounika Akshaya (AP), Sakshi Chitlange (Mah), Saina Salonika (Odi), Nityata Jain (MP), Bhagyashree Patil (Mah), K. Priyanka (TN) and P. Supreetha (AP) (8 each).