Padmini takes sole lead at women’s national premier chess

Kolkata, Nov 22 (IANS) Defending champion and top seed Padmini Rout of Odisha inched closer to the title as she extended her lead to a full point by beating Swati Ghate of LIC in the ninth round of the women’s national premier chess championship here on Sunday.

Padmini is now sitting pretty at the top with 7.5 points. Swati, who was the overnight joint leader alongside Padmini, has now slipped to the second spot which she shares with Andhra Pradesh’s Pratyusha Bodda with identical totals of 6.5 points.

A point behind on 5.5 are Soumya Swaminathan of PSCB and Goa’s Bhakti Kulkarni.

In the crucial match against Padmini, Swati unexpectedly went down rather tamely, as she lost the exchange of rook for bishop on the 21st move and despite her best efforts, Acould not prevent her rival from dominating the board with her two rooks. In an already superior position, Padmini delivered the coup de grace by sacrificing her queen to set up mate with her rook and knight at the ICCR auditorium.

Pratyusha made good use of her extra pawn against world U-14 girl’s champion R. Vaishali of Tamil Nadu in a Benko Gambit. Vaishali could not stop the advance of her opponent’s Aa-pawn and resigned on the 43rd move.

Bhakti Kulkarni of Goa , playing white opposite Priyanka Nutakki of Andhra Pradesh, won the exchange and later a piece after which her opponent resigned.

A former world junior champion, Soumya was held to a draw by V. Varshini of Tamil Nadu in a Sicilian Dragon. Playing with white pieces, Varshini was content with exchange of pieces and though she won a pawn in the rook ending, it did not offer her any chance of a win and a draw was finally agreed upon on the 73rd move.

Michelle Catherina of Tamil Nadu held Tania Sachdev of Air India to a draw in a knight versus bishop ending.

Bihar’s Neha Singh lost a piece against K Priyanka of Tamil Nadu in a centre counter defence but continued for some time before finally throwing in the towel on the 77th move.

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