Vantika Agarwal wins women's National online chess title; Raahul bags junior crown

In a field headed by R. Vaishali and featuring Tania Sachdev, Bhakti Kulkarni, Padmini Rout and Mary Ann Gomes, ninth seed Vantika scored 9.5 round from 11 rounds.

File picture of Vantika Agarwal.   -  Special Arrangement

Delhi’s Vantika Agarwal stunned a strong field to win the National women online chess title.

In a field headed by R. Vaishali and featuring past National champions like Tania Sachdev, Bhakti Kulkarni, Padmini Rout and seasoned names like Mary Ann Gomes, Soumya Swaminathan and Esha Karavade, ninth seed Vantika scored 9.5 round from 11 rounds. Her victims included Bhakti and P. V. Nandhidhaa, seeded three and five. Her lone loss came against former National champion Swati Ghate.

Arpita Mukherjee, seeded 18, took the second spot with nine points. Sreeja Seshadri topped a three-way tie at 8.5 points to take the third spot.

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In the absence of over-the-board events due to the ongoing pandemic, the All India Chess Federation has decided to consider the performance of this online event for selection of players for the Asian individual championship and other events. The rapid time-control used in the championship was 15-minute, plus five-second increment (per-move), for each player.

In the junior section, winner V. S. Raahul (9.5 points) led Tamil Nadu's sweep of the top four spots.

Meanwhile, in the open category, Bengal's Mitrabha Guha took the lead with 6.5 points from seven rounds. Top seed Abhijeet Gupta (Petroluem) bounced back from a defeat earlier in the day to share the second spot at six points.

Leading standings (from 11 rounds)

Women: 1. Vantika Agarwal (Del, 9.5 points), 2. Arpita Mukherjee (Ben, 9), 3-5. Srija Seshadri (TN), Soumya Swaminathan (Mah), R. Vaishali (TN) (8.5 each), 6-11. N. Priyanka (Andhra), Mary Ann Gomes (Pet), P. V. Nandhidhaa (TN), Tania Sachdev (Del), Padmini Rout (Odi) and Mrudul Dehankar (Mah) (8 each).

Junior boys: 1. V. S. Raahul (TN, 9.5 points), 2. Bharath Subramanium (TN, 9), 3-8. P. Iniyan (TN), G. B. Harshavardhan (TN) Mitrabha Guha (Ben), Subhayan Kundu (Ben), V. S. Rathanvel (TN) and M. Pranesh (TN) (8 each).

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