Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tania Sachdev is champion.

The Bank of Maharashtra sponsored 34th Women’s National A Chess Championship was organized by Symbiosis Spa Chess School at Symbiosis Center for Health Care Campus, Range Hills Road, Kirkee, Pune 411020. The sponsors’ list also includes State Bank of India, Indian Bank, Union Bank, Syndicate Bank and Pravin Masale. The Technical Assistance was provided by Buddhibal Kreeda Trust.

Woman Grandmaster Tania Sachdev of Delhi beat Padmini Rout of Orissa to win the 34th Women’s National A Chess Championship. Tania (tiebreak 66), Kiran Monisha Mohanty (tiebreak 64.5) and Soumya Swaminathan (tiebreak 63.5) scored an identical 8 points out of possible 11 but Tania’s better tiebreak score ensured her the Title. Tania was the only player to remain undefeated throughout the tournament and so her title finish is a very fitting prize. This is her second consecutive National A triumph. Tania, Soumya and Kiran have qualified to the Indian Women’s team that will play the Chess Olympiad. Koneru Humpy is directly seeded into the Women’s Olympiad team. Swati Ghate, Dronavalli Harika and Nisha Mohota took places 4 to 6 and made it to the Indian team for other tournaments.

It was not a surprise to see the Sicilian Najdorf (one of the sharper variations of a sharp opening!) being played on 3 of the top 4 boards as players were out to win at all cost for a place in the Indian team.

The top board game between WIM Soumya Swaminathan of Maharashtra and top seed IM Dronavalli Harika of Andhra Pradesh had a dramatic finish. Harika playing Black side of the Sicilian Najdorf got a comfortable position and soon capitalized on Soumya’s mistakes to win a Rook for Knight and pawn. Faced with a losing position Soumya tried to complicate matters and Harika made a mistake on move 33 and Soumya took advantage by sacrificing her knight in order to give perpetual checks. After that a draw would a logical conclusion but Harika tried to avoid the checks and landed her King in a mating net. Harika and her opponent who hadn’t realized till then were suddenly shocked to find out that Black is getting mated. Harika offered a draw and Soumya actually gave it a 2-minute thought before noticing that she can give checkmate. After Soumya refused the draw offer, Harika resigned. Both had tears in their eyes only for Soumya they were tears of joy!

WGM Tania Sachdev of Delhi played the Angleischek variation of the Spanish Opening from Black against Padmini Rout of Orissa. Tania got an advantage right after the opening and within a few moves won 3 pawns. The rest of the game turned out to be just a formality for her as she did not make any mistakes while converting her advantage into a win.

WIM Kiran Mohanty of Orissa playing the Black side of Sicilian Najdorf against P Priya of Tamil Nadu got an advantage after the Queens were exchanged. She soon won a pawn and the game steered towards a Rook, Bishop and pawns endgame. Kiran positioned her pieces excellently and marched her King into her opponent’s camp to win the opposite colored Bishops endgame.

WGM Eesha Karavade also chose the Sicilian Najdorf against city mate WGM Swati Ghate of LIC. Swati maintained a slight advantage right after the opening and eventually struck the decisive blow in the endgame to win the full point and a clear fourth place. IM Dronavalli Harika of Andhra Pradesh finished a clear 5th with 7 points while WGM Nisha Mohota of PSPB beat Mary Ann Gomes to finish clear 6th on 6.5 points.

The 11 member strong contingent of Tamil Nadu was disappointed as it turned out to be a very rare instance when none could finish in the Indian team. The absence of Vijayalaxmi and Meenakshi was certainly felt. On the other hand the hosts had something to celebrate as two Puneites made it to the Indian team, Soumya finding a place in the Olympiad team , an icing on the cake.

The seeded players disappointed by not catering to expectations. Soumya Swaminathan’s great run continues as it is the same year when she made 5 norms (1IM norm, 1 WGM norm and 3 WIM norms) in Spain in July. She got her 2nd WGM norm here. Kiran Monisha Mohanty also made her maiden WGM norm. Kiran had a dream tournament. Her play was also appreciated by all and mostly free of any dramatic errors.

The games were shown live on the official website for the tournament.


Rout, Padmini vs. Sachdev, Tania

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Bc5 6. c3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. d4 Bb6 9. a4 Bg4 10. axb5 axb5 11. Rxa8 Qxa8 12. d5 Ne7 13. Qd3 O-O 14. Bg5 Ng6 15. h3 Bd7 16. Nh4 Nh5 17. Qf3 Nhf4 18. Nf5 Qa1 19. Nd2 Qxb2 20. Rd1 Ba5 21. Bxf4 Nxf4 22. g3 Nxh3 23. Kg2 Bxc3 24. Qd3 Ng5 25. Bc2 Bxf5 26. exf5 Bxd2 27. Qxd2 f6 28. Rb1 Qa3 29. Bd3 e4 30. Be2 Rb8 31. Rc1 Qa7 32. Qb4 Qa2 33. Kf1 Rb7 34. Bxb5 Nh3 35. Kg2 Nxf2 36. Qc4 Qb2 37. Qc6 Nd3 38. Kh3 Qxb5 39. Ra1 Qxc6 40. Ra8 Kf7 41. dxc6 Rb6 0-1

Swaminathan, Soumya vs. Dronavalli, Harika

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be3 h5 9. Qd2 Nbd7 10. a4 Rc8 11. a5 Be7 12. Be2 g6 13. O-O h4 14. Nd5 Bxd5 15. exd5 Nh5 16. c4 Ng7 17. f4 Nf5 18. Rac1 Nxe3 19. Qxe3 exf4 20. Qxf4 O-O 21. Bg4 Rc7 22. Bxd7 Bg5 23. Qxd6 Rxd7 24. Qb4 Bxc1 25. Rxc1 Re8 26. Qd2 Rde7 27. Nd4 Re4 28. Rf1 Qc7 29. Qf2 R4e7 30. b3 Qxa5 31. Qf6 Qc3 32. Kh1 Qd3 33. Kg1 Rd7 34. Nf5 gxf5 35. Qg5 Kf8 36. Qh6 Ke7 37. Re1 Kd8 38. Qb6 1-0


Soumya Swaminathan (8) beat Dronavalli Harika (7); Padmini Rout (6) lost to Tania Sachdev 8); P Priya (6) lost to Kiran Monisha Mohanty (8); Swati Ghate (7.5) beat Eesha Karavade (6); Mary Ann Gomes (5.5) lost to Nisha Mohota (6.5); R Aarthire (6) drew with Sai Meera (6); Divya Sri (5.5) lost to Pon. Krithika (6); Amruta Mokal (5) lost to Nimmy George (6); S Nabeela Farheen (4) lost to Swati Mohota (5.5); Dhyani Dave (4) lost to S Athirai (5.5); R Preethi (5.5) beat C H Savetha (3); Rucha Pujari (4) lost to M R Sangeetha (5); S Harini (4.5) drew with P Uthra (4.5); Anuprita Patil had a bye.