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National Women's Championship: Bhakti Kulkarni takes sole lead

by Aditya Pai - 23/11/2018

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.

With her win in round 8, Bhakti Kulkarni has taken sole lead in the tournament | Photo: Ankit Dalal

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.

Mary Ann Gomes slipped down to the second place after her draw against... | Photo: Gopakumar Sudhakaran

...Mahalakshmi M

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.

Michelle Catherina brought her A-game to the board to outplay Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman in round 8 | Photo: Amruta Mokal 

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!

Bommini, after securing 10th place at the National Sub-Junior Championship, earlier this year | Photo: Swati Biswas

Bommini's  performance thus far at the National Women's Championship

Standings (Top 10)

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
14WGMKulkarni BhaktiIND2256AI7,00,038,042,0
22WGMGomes Mary AnnIND2286PSPB6,50,038,041,0
311WIMMahalakshmi MIND2198RSPB6,50,037,041,0
413WIMMichelle Catherina PIND2182TN6,50,033,037,0
523Priyanka KumariIND2005JHA6,00,039,042,5
639WFMBommini Mounika AkshayaIND1859AP6,00,035,538,0
719WFMArpita MukherjeeIND2090WB6,00,033,036,5
81IMVijayalakshmi SubbaramanIND2365AI5,50,039,544,0
95WGMSwati GhateIND2256LIC5,50,038,041,5
1026Harini S.IND1998TN5,50,036,039,0

Results of round 8

12WGMGomes Mary Ann22866½ - ½6WIMMahalakshmi M219811
24WGMKulkarni Bhakti225661 - 0WGMSwati Ghate22565
313WIMMichelle Catherina P21821 - 0IMVijayalakshmi Subbaraman23651
46WIMNandhidhaa P V22405½ - ½5Nimmy A.G.213616
57WIMChitlange Sakshi223750 - 15Priyanka Kumari200523
610Priyanka K220750 - 15WFMArpita Mukherjee209019
712WGMMeenakshi Subbaraman21915½ - ½5WGMRamaswamy Aarthie199427
814WGMKiran Manisha Mohanty216450 - 15WFMBommini Mounika Akshaya185939
926Harini S.19985½ - ½WIMChandreyee Hajra196329
1031Saranya Y1898½ - ½IMMohota Nisha22763


Round 9 pairing

12WGMGomes Mary Ann22867WGMKulkarni Bhakti22564
211WIMMahalakshmi M2198WIMMichelle Catherina P218213
319WFMArpita Mukherjee209066Priyanka Kumari200523
439WFMBommini Mounika Akshaya18596WIMNandhidhaa P V22406
51IMVijayalakshmi Subbaraman2365Harini S.199826
65WGMSwati Ghate2256WGMMeenakshi Subbaraman219112
716Nimmy A.G.2136WIMSrija Seshadri22248
827WGMRamaswamy Aarthie1994WFMSaranya J204922
93IMMohota Nisha227655Ghosh Samriddhaa187036
1029WIMChandreyee Hajra196355WIMChitlange Sakshi22377



Related news:
National Women's Championship: Seven players lead after three rounds

@ 19/11/2018 by Aditya Pai (en)

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