The Hindu

Swati in sole lead

- PRINCIPAL CORRESPOND­ENT

KOLKATA:

Swati Ghate of LIC emerged the sole leader with two full points after downing former champion Tania Sachdev of Air India, in the second round of the 42nd National premier women’s chess at the ICCR here on Friday.

Playing with white Swati was in control throughout the game as she took on one of the pretournam­ent favourites Tania, in an Italian defence.

Tania overlooked a manoeuvre on the 35th move, which resulted in a loss of pawn a few moves later. Placed in a technicall­y winning queen endgame, Swati made no mistake and wrapped up the game with ease.

WGM Soumya Swaminthan of Petroleum also played impressive­ly as she outwitted K. Priyanka of Tamil Nadu by sacrificin­g her knight for three pawns in a Sicilian Najdorf.

With her opponent’s king in the centre, Soumya had a strong attack and kept up the pressure despite being an exchange down.

She ended up in a bishop versus knight ending three pawns up and eventually won on the 38th move.

Defending champion IM Padmini Rout of Odisha got the better of Bhakti Kulkarni of Goa in a sharp tactical battle where Padmini scarified her knight on the ninth move for two pawns and an attack.

She later got a rook for two minor pieces and three extra pawns and went on to win the game with clinical precision.

In another match, N. Priyanka of Tamil Nadu had little difficulty in ensuring the full point against Neha Singh of Bihar. In a four-pawns attack variation of the King’s Indian defence, Neha made a dubious knight sacrifice on the 19th move.

But Priyanka defended well and thwarted the attack after which it was all over by the 39th move.

Two more matches scheduled in the day were postponed as R. Vaishali of Tamil Nadu, who was drawn up against her Statemate V. Varshini, took a day’s leave to receive an award for excellence in chess from the President of India.

Michelle Catherina of Tamil Nadu missed her game against B. Pratyusha of Andhra Pradesh owing to an allergic reaction in the eye.

The two games have now been reschedule­d on the rest day on November 19.

The results (Round 2): N. Priyanka (TN) 1 bt Neha Singh (Bih) 0, Padmini Rout (Odi) 1.5 bt Bhakti Kulkarni (Goa) 0.5, Soumya Swaminatha­n (PSPB) 1.5 bt K. Priyanka (TN) 0, Swati Ghate (LIC) 2 bt Tania Sachdev 0.5.

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