Former champion Mary Ann Gomes defeated overnight leader Bhakti Kulkarni and M. Mahalakshmi stopped Cathrina Michelle to share the lead at 7.5 points after the ninth round of National women chess championship here on Saturday.

Bhakti (7) slipped to the third spot but remained half a point ahead
of S. Vijayalakshmi, Priyanka Kumari, Catherina, Arpita Mukherjee, J.
Saranya, P. V. Nandhidhaa and S. Meenakshi.  Two more rounds remain.