National women's c'ship: Nisha posts laboured win

Long battles proved the order of the day with all six games lasting a minimum of five hours, with only Nisha Mohota coming out as a winner, in the third round of the national women’s chess championship on Saturday.

Nisha Mohota: 'I was in winning position on several occasions but could not end [Mahalakshmi's] resistance.'   -  Rakesh Rao

Long battles proved the order of the day with all six games lasting a minimum of five hours, with only Nisha Mohota coming out as a winner, in the third round of the national women’s chess championship here on Saturday.

It is common knowledge that in women’s chess, not particularly in India, making a draw-offer is rather unfashionable. The absence of ‘timely’ draw-offers was also the reason behind the games being played rather aimlessly, beyond a point.

In the midst, Nisha looked like posting an early win after gaining three pawns before the 30th move against M. Mahalakshmi. But Nisha lost her way a bit and eventually opted for a circuitous route to complete a deserving victory in the Semi-Slav game that stretched to 63 moves.

“I should have checkmated her in the middle-game itself but overlooked the winning continuation. I was in winning position on several occasions but could not end her resistance,” said a relieved Nisha after her first victory. All credit to 18-year-old Mahalakshmi for her never-say-die attitude against a rival twice her age.

Padmini, Vijayalakshmi keep lead

Meanwhile, there was no change in the standings at the top with Padmini and S. Vijayalakshmi leading with 2.5 points.

Defending champion Padmini Rout, who took 10 minutes to decide her first move, escaped with a 93-move draw against her Oriya statemate Kiran Manisha Mohanty in the last game to finish after close to five-and-a-half hours. To escape Kiran’s grasp, Padmini gave up her a queen for a rook and bishop on the 35th move. Kiran tried to enlarge her advantage but Padmini defended accurately and battled all the way to split the point.

Incidentally, for the third successive round, Padmini’s game was the last to finish.

Vijayalakshmi, the other overnight leader, forced a draw after perpetual checks against Soumya Swaminathan. This 65-move battle was fought on an even keel and eventually, Soumya’s extra pawn could not make a decisive difference.

R. Vaishali, Swati Ghate and Pratyusha Bodda opened their accounts with a draw.

The results (third round):

Soumya Swaminathan (2) drew with S. Vijayalakshmi (2.5) in 65 moves; Kiran Manisha Mohanty (1) drew with Padmini Rout (2.5) in 93 moves; Nisha Mohota (2) bt M. Mahalakshmi (1) in 63 moves; Pratysuha Bodda (0.5) drew with Mary Ann Gomes (1.5) in 76 moves; Swati Ghate (0.5) drew with P. Bala Kannamma (2) in 57 moves; R. Vaishali (0.5) drew with Eesha Karavade (2) in 88 moves.

Fourth round pairings: Mary-Mahalakshmi; Vijayalakshmi-Nisha; Bala-Soumya; Padmini-Swati; Eesha-Kiran; Pratyusha-Vaishali.