National Women's Championship: Bhakti Kulkarni takes sole lead
The eighth round of the Women's National Chess Championship saw another sole leader emerge. Of the three overnight leaders, only Bhakti Kulkarni was able to keep her tournament lead going. Defeating WGM Swati Ghate in the eighth round, Bhakti sped past her co-leaders, Mary Ann Gomes and Mahalakshmi M, who agreed to an insipid draw against each other. At the conclusion of the round, Mary and Mahalakshmi were joined in the second place by Michelle Catherina P, who scored a fantastic win over the tournament's top seed, IM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman. Bommini Mounika Akshaya also scored an upset on board 8 beating Kiran Manisha Mohanty. Round 8 report.
Bhakti races ahead
In our previous report, we had mentioned that the pole position is quite volatile at the ongoing National Women's Chess Championship in Jaipur, Rajasthan. After round 6, Mary Ann Gomes (2286) had taken sole lead in the tournament. One round later, she was joined by Bhakti Kulkarni (2256) and Mahalaksmi M (2198) in the tournament lead. And now, at the conclusion of the eighth round, Mary is no longer among the leaders. Giving WGM Swati Ghate her second loss of the tournament, Goan WGM Bhakti Kulkarni sped past her co-leaders to take sole lead in the event.
Playing on board 2, Bhakti had the white pieces in a closed Catalan. 16 moves into the game, Bhakti had planted her knight deep into the enemy lines on the c6 square. To keep balance, Ghate was forced to give up her rook for the knight -- which she did but was a move too late. Bhakti immediately took control of the position by returning the exchange in lieu of a decisive far advanced pawn phalanx on the queenside and forced resignation by the 35th move.
Meanwhile, on the top board, Mary Ann Gomes had the whites against the tournament's third co-leader at the time, Mahalakshmi M. The two discussed an English Opening that turned out to be a trade galore. Starting move 15, all of the rooks were traded and within the next ten moves, the players were left with two minor pieces and seven pawns apiece. It did not take much longer for the game to end peacefully.
While Gomes and Mahalakshmi slipped to the second place on the leaderboard after their draw, Michelle Catherina (2182) showed phenomenal tactical prowess to outplay the tournament's top seed, IM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman from the white side of a Ruy Lopez Breyer.
In another Ruy Lopez of the day, the 1859 rated Bommini Mounika Akshaya overcame a rating gap of more than 300 points to defeat Kiran Manisha Mohanty (2164) on board 8. Thus far, the 15-year-old from Gunthur has had a stunningly successful run. In these first eight rounds, Bommini has faced a higher rated player in every round with the exception being round 1 and has managed to remain unbeaten. What's more, she is performing at a performance rating of 2202 and has already gained 156 Elo points!
Standings (Top 10)
|2||2||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||IND||2286||PSPB||6,5||0,0||38,0||41,0|
|4||13||WIM||Michelle Catherina P||IND||2182||TN||6,5||0,0||33,0||37,0|
|6||39||WFM||Bommini Mounika Akshaya||IND||1859||AP||6,0||0,0||35,5||38,0|
Results of round 8
|1||2||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||2286||6||½ - ½||6||WIM||Mahalakshmi M||2198||11|
|2||4||WGM||Kulkarni Bhakti||2256||6||1 - 0||5½||WGM||Swati Ghate||2256||5|
|3||13||WIM||Michelle Catherina P||2182||5½||1 - 0||5½||IM||Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman||2365||1|
|4||6||WIM||Nandhidhaa P V||2240||5||½ - ½||5||Nimmy A.G.||2136||16|
|5||7||WIM||Chitlange Sakshi||2237||5||0 - 1||5||Priyanka Kumari||2005||23|
|6||10||Priyanka K||2207||5||0 - 1||5||WFM||Arpita Mukherjee||2090||19|
|7||12||WGM||Meenakshi Subbaraman||2191||5||½ - ½||5||WGM||Ramaswamy Aarthie||1994||27|
|8||14||WGM||Kiran Manisha Mohanty||2164||5||0 - 1||5||WFM||Bommini Mounika Akshaya||1859||39|
|9||26||Harini S.||1998||5||½ - ½||4½||WIM||Chandreyee Hajra||1963||29|
|10||31||Saranya Y||1898||4½||½ - ½||4½||IM||Mohota Nisha||2276||3|
Round 9 pairing
|1||2||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||2286||6½||7||WGM||Kulkarni Bhakti||2256||4|
|2||11||WIM||Mahalakshmi M||2198||6½||6½||WIM||Michelle Catherina P||2182||13|
|3||19||WFM||Arpita Mukherjee||2090||6||6||Priyanka Kumari||2005||23|
|4||39||WFM||Bommini Mounika Akshaya||1859||6||5½||WIM||Nandhidhaa P V||2240||6|
|5||1||IM||Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman||2365||5½||5½||Harini S.||1998||26|
|6||5||WGM||Swati Ghate||2256||5½||5½||WGM||Meenakshi Subbaraman||2191||12|
|7||16||Nimmy A.G.||2136||5½||5½||WIM||Srija Seshadri||2224||8|
|8||27||WGM||Ramaswamy Aarthie||1994||5½||5½||WFM||Saranya J||2049||22|
|9||3||IM||Mohota Nisha||2276||5||5||Ghosh Samriddhaa||1870||36|
|10||29||WIM||Chandreyee Hajra||1963||5||5||WIM||Chitlange Sakshi||2237||7|