The second successive senior National title should do a world of good to Mary Ann Gomes’ confidence as she prepares for bigger things in chess, writes P.K. Ajith Kumar.

Mary Ann Gomes woke up on the morning of November 3 in her hotel room in Jalgaon, Maharashtra, knowing fully well that her chances of retaining the National women’s chess crown were slim.

She needed to win against fellow-Kolkatan and seasoned campaigner Nisha Mohota. And, Eesha Karavade, Bhakti Kulkarni and Soumya Swaminathan should not win their games! She did beat Nisha Mohota, while Eesha and Bhakti drew after playing more than 70 moves; Soumya also drew with Padmini Rout.

Going into the 11th and final round, second-seed Mary was in the joint-second position with 6.5 points, half-a-point behind the leading trio of top-seed Eesha, Soumya and Bhakti, the ninth seed who was the revelation of the tournament surprising many of her higher-rated rivals.

“On the final day, I decided not to think too much of the other games. I told myself that even if I wanted to keep my slim chances alive, I had to win my game first,” Mary told Sportstar shortly after her triumph.

Mary, 23, won in style, giving little chance to Nisha, who was checkmated in 43 moves. “Yes, it was my best game of the tournament,” she said. “Though my fate depended on the top two boards, I didn’t follow those games at all.”

Mary finished with 7.5 points, the same as Bhakti, Eesha and Soumya and they ended up in that order when the tie-breaker was applied. The title not only made her richer by Rs. 1,05,000 but also clinched her a spot for the World chess championship of 2014.

“My main objective here was to take that lone spot from this championship,” she said.

Mary is indeed one of the stronger Indian women players, and this second successive senior National title should do a world of good to her confidence as she prepares for bigger things in chess. The amiable girl has been a consistent performer ever since she showed promise in age-group tournaments.

“My next event is the Commonwealth championship in Chennai, to be held from November 22,” she concluded.


1-4: Mary Ann Gomes, Bhakti Kulkarni, Eesha Karvade and Soumya Swaminathan 7.5; 5-6: Padmini Rout and Kiran Monisha Mohanty 7; 7-11: Nisha Mohota, S. Meenakshi, P. Priya, S. Harini and C. Divyasree 6.5; 12-13: Prathyusha Bodda and Swati Mohota 6; 14-22: Swati Ghate, Nimmy A. George, Michelle Catherina, Aarthie Ramaswamy, Ivana Maria Furtado, M. Mahalakshmi, Rucha Pujara, S. Sahajasri and K. Sai Nirupama 5.5; 23-25: Kruttika Nadig, J. Saranya and Shweta Gole 5; 26-28: Amruta Mokal, G. Lasya and N. Raghavi 4.5; 29: Bhagyashree Thipsay 4; 30: R. Salini 3, 31: J. Rajasurya 2.5.