Divya Deshmukh’s fairytale at the National Library had quite an ending on a wet Saturday evening.
She got to play in India’s Tata Steel Chess India tournament only because R. Vaishali pulled out at almost the last minute. She began as the 10th seed in a field of 10 in the women’s rapid section.
And she finished right at the top.
The 17-year-old from Nagpur authored one of the most remarkable stories – and there have been many – in Indian chess of late to become the champion.
Her story had a dramatic ending too. Deshmukh stunned second seed Koneru Humpy in the last round, with black pieces.
She still had to wait for the result of the game between top seed and World champion Ju Wenjun of China and defending champion Anna Ushenina of Ukraine. Ushenina did Divya a favour, holding Ju to a draw.
That meant she finished half-a-point ahead of Ju, who had to settle for second place. Divya thus emerged as the outright champion.
“Though I entered the tournament with no pressure, as I wasn’t expecting to play in it, going into today’s games, I was nervous,” she said.
She held her nerves admirably. She should now want to write the sequel to her fairytale: the blitz event begins on Sunday.
The standings (Indians unless specified):
The results (ninth round)
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