National Women's Chess Championship: Bhakti Kulkarni assures herself of title

Defending champion Bhakti Kulkarni assured herself of the title with a round to spare, after a win over Tamil Nadu’s K Priyanka in the penultimate round of the 46th National Women Chess Championship.

Playing consistently throughout the tournament, Bhakti, a Woman Grand Master, again showed her tactical acumen to garner a full point against her rival in 69 moves arrived out of Ruy Lopez Opening.

Playing consistently throughout the tournament, Bhakti, a Woman Grand Master, again showed her tactical acumen to garner a full point against her rival in 69 moves arrived out of Ruy Lopez Opening.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Defending champion Bhakti Kulkarni of Air India assured herself of the title with a round to spare, after posting a win over Tamil Nadu’s K Priyanka in the 10th and penultimate round of the 46th National Women Chess Championship here on Friday.

Playing consistently throughout the tournament, Bhakti, a Woman Grand Master, again showed her tactical acumen to garner a full point against her rival in 69 moves arrived out of Ruy Lopez Opening.

The win enabled Bhakti to take her point tally to an unassailable nine and half points out of possible ten, which is lead of one and half points from her nearest contender Vantika Agrawal of Delhi before the final round Saturday.

Meanwhile, Vantika regained her sole second spot with eight points after outwitting three-time national champion Mary Ann Gomes.

In the process, Vantika also secured the Women Grandmaster norm.

Continuing her splendid performance, Mrudul Dehankar of Maharashtra achieved a Women International norm after beating six times champion S Vijayalakshmi (Air India).

Former champion and top seed Soumya Swaminathan suffered another setback as she lost to P Bala Kannamma (TN) in the tenth round.

P V Nandhidhaa (TN) and Pratyusha Bodda of Andhra Pradesh along with Maharashtra duo of Divya Deshmukh and Mrudul Dehankar are in third spot with seven and half points.

In the final round Saturday, Bhakti is paired with Pratyusha while Vantika takes on Mrudual and Nandhidhaa will fight it out against third seed Divya Deshmukh.

Important results:

Round 10: K Priyanka (TN) (7) lost to Bhakti Kulkarni (9.5); Vantika Agrawal (8) beat Mary Ann Gomes (PSPB) (6.5); Divya Deshmukh (Maharashtra) (7.5) beat Michelle Catherina (TN) (6.5);

V Varshini (TN) (6.5) lost to Pratyusha Bodda (AP) (7.5); P V Nadhidhaa (TN) (7.5) beat S Meenakshi (Air India) (6.5); S Vijayalakshmi (Air India) (6) lost to Mrudul Dehankar (Maharashtra) (7.5).

Soumya Swaminathan (PSPB) (6) lost to P Bala Kannamma (7); Srija Seshadri (TN) (7) beat Isha Sharma (Karnataka) (6); Nisha Mohota (PSPB) (7) beat Nityata Jain (Madhya Pradesh) (6); Parnali S Dharia (Maharashtra) (5.5) lost to Aarthie Ramaswamy (Air India) (7).

Swati Ghate (LIC) (6) drew with Kiran Manisha Mohanty (LIC) (6); Sakshi Chitlange (Maharashtra) (6.5) beat Y Saranya (TN) (5.5); Bagyashree Thipsay (Maharashtra) (6) drew with Rutuja Bakshi (Maharahstra) (6).