National Women's Chess Championship: Bhakti Kulkarni stays on top after round eight

Bhakti Kulkarni overcame Nandhidhaa in 39 moves to stay on top of the table, while second-placed Vantika Agarwal beat Michelle Catherina in just 24 moves to keep the pressure on the leader.

Former Asian champion and second seed Bhakti Kulkarni of Air India continued her good form in round eight of the National Women's Chess Championship.   -  Special Arrangement

WGM Bhakti Kulkarni of Air India scored a fine win over WIM P.V. Nandhidhaa of Tamil Nadu to stay firmly on top of the table, with 7.5 points, after the eighth round in the 46th National women’s chess championship at the Chettinad Public School here on Tuesday.

It was a closely fought game between the two till the 30th move but, quite soon, Nandhidhaa provided her opponent with a winning chance and, Bhakti grabbed it with both hands to seal the game in 39 moves.

READ| National Women's Chess Championship: Bhakti, Vantika share lead

Meanwhile, Delhi’s Vantika Agarwal defeated Michelle Catherina of Tamil Nadu in just 24 moves to remain in the second position. Playing the black side of the Queen’s Gambit decline variation, Michelle miscalculated a bishop sacrifice on the 18th move and, that was enough and more for Vantika to score an easy win.

Air India’s WGM S. Meenakshi ousted Pratyusha Bodda of Andhra Pradesh to move to the lone third spot.

Top seed Soumya Swaminathan (PSPB) and third seed Divya Deskhmukh of Maharashtra got past Kiran Manisha Mohanty (LIC) and Nityata Jain (Madhya Pradesh) with ease. Mrudul Dehankar, on the other hand, pulled off a stunning win over Srija Seshadri.

Important results (eighth round):

P.V. Nandhidhaa (TN) 5.5 lost to Bhakti Kulkarni (AI) 7.5; Vantika Agarwal (Del) 7 bt Michelle Catherina (TN) 5.5;

S. Meenakshi (AI) 6.5 bt Pratyusha Bodda (AP) 5.5; Soumya Swaminathan (PSPB) 6 bt Kiran Manisha Mohanty (LIC) 5; Divya Deshmukh (Mah) 6 bt Nityata Jain (MP) 5;

Srija Seshadri (TN) 5 lost to Mrudul Dehankar (Mah) 6; Bagyashree Thipsay (Mah) 5.5 drew with Mary Ann Gomes (PSPB) 5.5; Potluri Saye Srreezza (TS) 5 lost to K. Priyanka (TN) 6;

Swati Ghate (LIC) 5.5 drew with Harshita Guddanti (AP) 5.5; Sakshi Chitlange (Mah) 5.5 bt P. Bala Kannamma (TN) 5;

Priyanka Nutakki (AP) 5 drew with Aarthie Ramaswamy (AI) 5; Nisha Mohota (PSPB) 5 drew with Rutuja Bakshi (Mah) 5; Sanskriti Goyal (UP) 5 drew with Isha Sharma (Kar) 5;

Abhirami Madabushi (TS) 4.5 lost to V. Varshini (TN) 4.5; Neha Singh (Bih) 4 lost to S. Vijayalakshmi (AI) 5.