National Women's 2019 R08: Bhakti's...Kxd7?! Wow! What sort of a move is that?
Bhakti Kulkarni continues to steal the show at the 46th National Women's Championship 2019. In round 8, victory came once again, this time against Nandhidhaa P V and that too playing the black side of the super weird Scandinavian opening. With the current state of things one might as well say that the Bhakti effect is taking over the tournament. However, possibilities still abound as just half a point behind breathing down Bhakti's neck is Vantika Agrawal. Meenakshi Subbaraman too has climbed up the leaderboard with formidable performances in the last two rounds and has every chance at putting a stop to Bhakti's dream run. With only three rounds remaining, the contest is still excitingly open to many!
Bhakti's masterclass in Scandinavian!
In round 8 of the 46th National Women's Championship 2019 Bhakti Kulkarni was up against Nandhidhaa P V on the top board. The latter had the White pieces and started off with 1.e4 to which Bhakti replied by pushing her queen's pawn two squares! In today's age of engine based opening preparation, the Scandinavian defense has been conclusively declared as unsound for first class tournament play. Yet this obscure line keeps making fashionable comebacks even in the most elite circles. Only earlier this month it made a notable appearance in the second leg of 2019 Grand Chess Tour in Zagreb, Croatia when Shakhriyar Mamedyarov played it against Fabiano Caruana in their tenth round encounter of the event. While certainly not the best weapon for regular use, its surprise element does make it one of the ideal choices for occasional ventures.
Nandhidhaa P V - Bhakti Kulkarni, Round 8
10.Nxd7 was played here, now how do you recapture the knight on d7? 10...Qxd7 is certainly the first thing you would think of but this wastes another tempo with the queen and allows White to play an early 11.d5. Note, exd5 isn't possible because of the pin along e-file and 11...cxd5 too is out of question because then White has the nasty 12.Bb5! Thus, in this case, Black has to yield to an early liquidation in the center with something like 11...0-0-0 12.dxe6 Bxe6 etc. Bhakti surely didn't want this. After all, a surprise in the opening becomes meaningless if you simplify things that quickly. 10...Nxd7 also runs into similar problem with d5. Therefore, the move she played was 10...Kxd7!? adding to the surprise!
The game followed 11.0-0-0 Rd8 12.Bg5 Kc8 and Black was able to keep the tension in the position. Next step was to develop the f8 bishop and double up the rooks on the d-file.
It was Black who now made the choice to simplify in the center. After a few exchanges with 20.g5 Nd5 21.Bxd5 exd5 22.dxc5 d4 23.Ne4 Bxc5 24.Bg3 Qc6 25.Nxc5 Qxc5 lines opened up and Black's position started to look good.
In the game Bhakti went 28...Qf5 and after 29.Qd2 Rc8 there was just too much pressure on the c2 pawn.
At this point White was already worse and it would have been best to just continue with 30.h4 but Nandhidhaa instead played 30.Rg2 which only quickened the fate of the game. Black simply took 30...Qxh3 and after 31.Rf2 Qf5 32.Bh2 Qd5 33.Re2 Bxc2 even the c2 pawn was picked.
34.Re5 was played but now came 34...Qxf3 exploiting White's back-rank issues, 35.Rxc2 was still out of question because of 35...Qf1+ - thus, Black had three clear extra pawns. Unsurprisingly resignation came after only five more moves!
With only three more rounds remaining it will be exciting to see if Bhakti can maintain her impressive run and win the event. Only half a point behind is Vantika Agrawal who too has managed to stay unbeaten so far in the tournament. In round 8 she actually found an easy victory against Michelle Catherina to stay at Bhakti's heels. Let's check out what happened in this game.
Vantika Agrawal - Michelle Catherina, Round 8
The above position was reached out of a closed Catalan. White does seem to have an edge here with the pair of bishops but things are far from being conclusive. 18...b4 19.axb4 Bxb4 is a fine continuation here that leaves about even chances but Black miscalculated a tactic here and went 18...Bxf2+
After 19.Kxf2 Nc5 the move 20.Rxd8 leaves equal chances as after 20...Nxb3 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 Black regains material, while something like 20.Qc2 simply loses to 20...Nxe4+. But what Michelle missed here was 20.Bxh7+!
20...Kxh7 now comes with 21.Qc2+ after which White just picks up the queen, so Black played 20...Kh8 here and this was replied by 21.Qf3!
The game followed 21...Qb6 22.Be3 Kxh7 23.b4 axb4 24.axb4 and in the following position Black resigned.
Results of round 8
|1||9||WIM||Nandhidhaa P V||2259||TN||5½||0 - 1||6½||WGM||Kulkarni Bhakti||2388||AI||2|
|2||10||WIM||Vantika Agrawal||2243||DEL||6||1 - 0||5½||WIM||Michelle Catherina P||2226||TN||12|
|3||18||WGM||Meenakshi Subbaraman||2163||AI||5½||1 - 0||5½||WIM||Pratyusha Bodda||2265||AP||8|
|4||1||WGM||Soumya Swaminathan||2402||PSPB||5||1 - 0||5||WGM||Kiran Manisha Mohanty||2054||LIC||26|
|5||3||WIM||Divya Deshmukh||2373||MAH||5||1 - 0||5||WFM||Jain Nityata||2135||MP||20|
|6||5||WIM||Srija Seshadri||2306||TN||5||0 - 1||5||WCM||Mrudul Dehankar||2074||MAH||24|
|7||21||WIM||Thipsay Bagyashree Sathe||2093||MAH||5||½ - ½||5||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||2303||PSPB||6|
|8||30||Potluri Saye Srreezza||1999||TEL||5||0 - 1||5||Priyanka K||2217||TN||14|
|9||15||WGM||Swati Ghate||2192||LIC||5||½ - ½||5||WIM||Harshita Guddanti||2078||AP||23|
|10||17||WIM||Chitlange Sakshi||2168||MAH||4½||1 - 0||5||Bala Kannamma P||2051||TN||27|
|11||7||WIM||Priyanka Nutakki||2293||AP||4½||½ - ½||4½||WGM||Ramaswamy Aarthie||2020||AI||28|
|12||13||IM||Mohota Nisha||2221||PSPB||4½||½ - ½||4½||Bakshi Rutuja||1958||MAH||33|
|13||34||WFM||Sanskriti Goyal||1948||UP||4½||½ - ½||4½||WCM||Sharma Isha||2188||KAR||16|
|14||52||Abhirami Madabushi||1689||TEL||4½||0 - 1||4½||WIM||Varshini V||2087||TN||22|
|15||44||Singh Neha||1809||BIH||4||0 - 1||4||IM||Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman||2357||AI||4|
|16||11||WIM||Mahalakshmi M||2227||RSPB||4||- - +||4||Sunyasakta Satpathy||1801||ODI||45|
|17||19||WIM||Parnali S Dharia||2145||MAH||4||1 - 0||4||WFM||Potluri Supreetha||1873||AP||41|
|18||46||Smaraki Mohanty||1773||ODI||4||0 - 1||4||WFM||Saranya J||2067||TN||25|
|19||50||Divyabharathi Masanam||1730||TN||4||0 - 1||4||Meenal Gupta||2004||J&K||29|
|20||56||WCM||Chinnam Vyshnavi||1664||AP||4||½ - ½||4||Saranya Y||1959||TN||32|
Standings after round 8
|8||9||WIM||Nandhidhaa P V||IND||2259||TN||5,5||0,0||39,5||42,5||25,25||5||-0,10|
|9||12||WIM||Michelle Catherina P||IND||2226||TN||5,5||0,0||38,0||42,0||27,25||4||-0,39|
|11||21||WIM||Thipsay Bagyashree Sathe||IND||2093||MAH||5,5||0,0||35,5||38,5||22,75||5||0,40|
|13||6||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||IND||2303||PSPB||5,5||0,0||33,0||36,5||24,00||4||-1,23|
|18||30||Potluri Saye Srreezza||IND||1999||TEL||5,0||0,0||36,5||39,0||20,00||5||0,97|
The ninth round of the event begins at 10 a.m IST today. Follow live.