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

Second seed Bhakti Kulkarni and Delhi’s young gun Vantika Agrawal shared the lead with four points apiece after the fourth round of the 46th National Women's Chess Championship.

Bhakti (L) and Vantika (R) were in a punishing mood right through.   -  Special Arrangement

Former Asian champion and second seed Bhakti Kulkarni (Air India) and Delhi’s young gun Vantika Agrawal shared the lead with four points apiece after the fourth round of the 46th National women's chess championship at the Chettinad Public School here on Sunday.

Both Bhakti and Vantika were in a punishing mood right through. Playing the black side of the Giuoco Piano opening, Bhakti planned it well by tactically shutting down the space for five-time national champion Bhagyashree Thipsay (Maharashtra) to develop the pieces. It worked as she gained a double-pawn advantage and, with it, sealed the game in 44 moves.

Vantika, on the other hand, playing with the dark pieces in a Rossolimo variation of the Sicilian Defence, used her pair of bishops quite smartly against P.V. Nandhidhaa’s pair of knights in the middle game to collect a full point after 41 moves.

The third day saw some upsets as well with three-time national champion WGM Mary Ann Gomes (PSPB) going down in a rather shocking manner to Srishti Pandey (Maharashtra). Mrudul Dehankar from the same State surprised her higher-ranked opponent M. Mahalakshmi of Railways.

Important results (fourth round, TN unless specified):
 

Bhagyashree Thipsay (Mah) 3 lost to Bhakti Kulkarni (AI) 4; P.V. Nandhidhaa 2 lost to Vantika Agrawal (Del) 4; Soumya Swaminathan (PSPB) 3.5 bt Nityata Jain (MP) 3; Divya Deshmukh (Mah) 3 drew with S.Meenakshi (AI) 3; S. Vijayalakshmi (AI) 3.5 bt Harshita Guddanti (AP) 2.5; M Mahalakshmi (Rlys) 2.5 lost to Mrudul Dehankar (Mah) 3.5; Nandhini Saripalli (Goa) 3 drew with Michelle Catherina 3; Nisha Mohota (PSPB) 3 drew with Kiran Manisha Mohanty (LIC) 3; Aarthie Ramaswamy (AI) 3.5 bt K. Priyanka (2.5); Swati Ghate (LIC) 3 bt L. Jyothsna 2.5; Srija Seshadri 3 bt Dhyana Patel (Guj) 2; Srishti Pandey (Mah) 3 bt Mary Ann Gomes (PSPB) 2; Priyanka Nutakki (AP) 3 bt Potluri Supreetha (AP) 2; Neha Singh (Bih) 2 lost to Pratyusha Bodda (AP) 3; Smaraki Mohanty (Odisha) 2 lost to Isha Sharma (Kar) 3.