National Women's C'ship: Padmini Rout clinches title

In the final round against Eesha Karavade, Padmini Rout played solidly and drew to reach an unsurpassable tally of eight points. Unbeaten Padmini collected Rs. 1.75 lakh and a trophy.

Padmini Rout, winner of the National women chess title for thethird year in a row, is flanked by runner-up S. Vijayalakshmi (left)and Eesha Karavade (right) after receiving the trophies in New Delhi.

Devoid of any last minute-suspense, the crowning of Padmini Rout as the National women chess champion was a smooth affair. The defending champion completed a hat-trick of titles with a business-like approach following a 26-move draw with top seed Eesha Karavade at Punjab Bhawan here on Monday.

Fourth seed Padmini, who led throughout the 11-round event, needed no reminding that a draw on this day was enough to keep the title. In the final round against Eesha Karavade, her top seeded teammate from Indian Oil, Padmini played solidly and drew to reach an unsurpassable tally of eight points. Unbeaten Padmini collected Rs. 1.75 lakh and a trophy.

S. Vijayalakshmi’s campaign for a record seventh title ended in a runner-up finish, following a long, 90-move victory over 15-year-old R. Vaishali. The 37-year-old’s seventh win raised her tally to 7.5 points, worth Rs. one lakh.

Soumya, overnight in the second spot, tried too hard with white pieces but lost her way and the game against good friend Mary Ann Gomes in 35 moves. This result helped Eesha take the third spot, worth Rs. 80,000, and forced Soumya to settle for the fourth place that fetched her Rs.60,000.

Mary held on to the fifth place and was richer by Rs. 50,000, after the game between Nisha Mohota and Swati Ghate ended in a draw. In fact, the top five places went to the five strongest players in the fray.

Even as Vijayalakshmi was busy looking to end Vaishali’s resistence, P. Bala Kannamma scored her third victory and with it, gained her maiden Woman International Master norm.

Kannamma, 20, was the lowest rated player in the field at 2073 but performed way above expectations. Her victims included Vijayalakshmi (2390), R. Vaishali (2300) and Pratyusha Bodda (2289). She finished eighth with five points and more significantly, gained 51 rating points.

The results:

11th round: Padmini Rout drew with Eesha Karavade in 26 moves; S. Vijayalakshmi bt R. Vaishali in 90 moves; Soumya Swaminathan lost to Mary Ann Gomes in 35 moves; M. Mahalakshmi bt Kiran Manisha Mohanty in 38 moves; Nisha Mohota drew with Swati Ghate in 26 moves; P. Bala Kannamma bt Pratyusha Bodda in 48 moves.

Final standings (with points and prize-money): 1. Padmini Rout (8 points, Rs. 1.75 lakh), 2. S. Vijayalakshmi (7.5, Rs. 1 lakh), 3. Eesha Karavade (7, Rs. 80,000), 4. Soumya Swaminathan (7, Rs. 60,000), 5. Mary Ann Gomes (5.5, Rs. 50,000), 6. M. Mahalakshmi (5, Rs. 40,000) 7. Nisha Mohota (5, Rs. 30,000), 8. P. Bala Kannamma (5, Rs. 20,000), 9. Swati Ghate (5, Rs. 15,000) 10. Kiran Manisha Mohanty (4, Rs. 10,000), 11. R. Vaishali (3.5, Rs. 10,000) and 12. Pratyusha Bodda (3.5, Rs. 10,000 each).