Priyanka K. wins under-17 Nationals for second time in a row!
She is a fighter not just on the chess board but also in life. Priyanka's chess career was on the rise and she was doing very well until a disaster struck her family. She was ten years old and her father met with an accident and passed away. Since then apart from the feeling of someone missing in her life, Priyanka's chess career has been constantly mired with financial difficulties. But her resolve is strong. A strong chess player is what she wants to become and there is nothing that can stop her. At the under-17 national championships recently held in Sonipat, Haryana from 3rd to the 11th of September 2018, she claimed the first spot! This was Priyanka's second under-17 national title after she had won it last year as well.
|1||2||Priyanka K||IND||2163||Tamil Nadu||9,5||0,0||71,5||76,5||64,50||8|
|2||7||WCM||Jyothsna L||IND||1964||Tamil Nadu||9,0||0,0||72,0||77,5||61,50||7|
|3||3||WFM||Harshini A||IND||2160||Tamil Nadu||7,5||0,0||74,0||79,0||52,00||5|
|4||1||WFM||Arpita Mukherjee||IND||2207||West Bengal||7,5||0,0||73,5||79,0||50,75||5|
|5||17||Tejasvi M||IND||1747||Tamil Nadu||7,5||0,0||72,0||76,5||49,25||4|
|7||12||Toshali V||IND||1875||Andhra Pradesh||7,5||0,0||66,0||70,5||45,75||5|
|8||6||Sanskriti Goyal||IND||1965||Uttar Pradesh||7,0||0,0||74,0||79,0||45,50||6|
|13||10||Ghosh Samriddhaa||IND||1904||West Bengal||7,0||0,0||66,5||72,0||42,50||5|
|14||15||WFM||Bommini Mounika Akshaya||IND||1787||Andhra Pradesh||7,0||0,0||66,5||71,5||42,50||5|
|15||14||WCM||Jain Nityata||IND||1807||Madhya Pradesh||7,0||0,0||64,5||70,0||42,25||6|
|18||22||Kalyani B||IND||1656||Andhra Pradesh||6,5||0,0||64,5||69,5||38,25||6|
|19||18||Benasir M||IND||1736||Tamil Nadu||6,5||0,0||64,5||69,5||37,75||5|
|20||28||Shriya R Revankar||IND||1534||Karnataka||6,5||0,0||63,5||67,5||37,25||5|
The tournament was not at all easy for Priyanka. There were some extremely strong players starting from the top seed Arpita Mukherjee, who has a rating of above 2200. There was Harshini A (2160), Tarini Goyal (2072), Mrudul Dehankar (2065), L. Jyothsna, all very capable young girls who have even beaten strong IMs on their best days. After four rounds it was Harshini who had taken the sole lead with 4.0/4. She was followed by Priyanka and Jyothsna, who had drawn their games and were trailing the leader by half a point with 3.5/4. In round 6, the big turnaround took place as top seeded Arpita Mukherjee got the better of Harshini and Priyanka and Jyothsna also managed to move ahead by beating Bhagyashree Patil and Benasir M respectively. At the end of six rounds we now had three leaders - Arpita, Priyanka and Jyothsna with 5.0/6. While Jyothsna and Arpita drew their games, Priyanka grabbed the sole lead by beating Mrudul Dehankar in round seven. Priyanka maintained her lead by drawing the eighth round against Tejasvi M, but was now caught by Jyothsna.
As Priyanka and Jyothsna had already played each other in round four, they both were pitted against different opponents in the ninth round. It was a big test for Priyanka who faced the top seed Arpita Mukherjee in round 9 and she was up to the challenge. She played the aggressive Najdorf and soon had her opponent on the backfoot with a pawn sacrifice! Let's go over the most critical part of the game:
Black sacrificed the pawn with ...d5 and after exchange on b6 - Bxb6 Qxb6 Nxd5 Nxd5 exd5, just moved her bishop back to d7. This is the position that was reached:
This was a very deep pawn sacrifice that was found by MVL and was played by him to beat Fabiano Caruana at Wijk Aan Zee 2015. It seems as if Black is just a pawn down. But Black wants to put her queen on d6, follow it up with f5, and perhaps even e4. And at the same time she wants to push in the move ...h4! to weaken White's kingside. As the game progresses you can see that Black has excellent compensation.
Arpita Mukherjee vs K. Priyanka (annotated by Priyanka K)
Caruana vs MVL (annotated by MVL)
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Back to the tournament! Priyanka won her ninth round game with Arpita and moved to 7.5/9, and Jyothsna too won her game against Sanskriti Goyal. This meant that both of them were now tied in the lead with 7.5/9. In the tenth round Priyanka won another game against Akshaya Bommini. Jyothsna, however, was held to a draw by M. Tejasvi. Thus, going into the last round Priyanka had a half point lead, but it was critical to play well in the last round and win the game. She was up against Sanskriti Goyal. Jyothsna was playing against Tanishka Kotia. Immediately after the opening Priyanka landed in a difficult position where she was pressed for space.
Priyanka K vs Sanskriti Goyal
Priyanka played without a care and sacrificed another piece on h7! Objectively the sacrifice was only good enough for equality, but in a practical game, finding all the defensive ideas proved to be quite difficult for Sanskriti. It is commendable that even in such a high-pressure situation where the national title was at stake, Priyanka managed to put the result on the backseat and played with courage to win the championship. Jyothsna won her game as well, but Priyanka was already half point ahead and was crowned the champion with 9.5/11. A worthy champion!
Priyanka vs Sanskriti Goyal (annotated by Priyanka)
It is a proud moment for us that Priyanka, who won the MKG scholarship under the HelpChess Initiative, just a couple of months ago has shown some tremendous bit of performance. She gained 55 Elo points at the Abu Dhabi Masters and now she won the under-17 nationals. In spite of all the difficulties she fighting hard and making it big. You can follow Priyanka's progress on this page.