Rout keeps Women’s National Chess title despite final round loss

Kolkata, Nov 24 (IANS) Defending champion and top seed Padmini Rout of Odisha retained the Women’s National Premier Chess Championship title despite her final round loss to Tamil Nadu’s K. Priyanka here on Tuesday.

Playing against low-ranked Priyanka in the final round, Padmini was expected to win with ease, but her young opponent put up a stubborn defence. Padmini went overboard while trying to avoid a draw and blundered, allowing Priyanka to penetrate her position with decisive results.

For her efforts, Padmini got the glittering trophy and was richer by Rs.1.75 lakhs. The other hopeful, Swati Ghate of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) went down to Petroleum Sports Promotion Board’s (PSPB) Somya Swaminathan in a tense game.

Soumya sacrificed a piece for two pawns on the 30th move which gave her a strong attack. Swati tried hard to consolidate her position but Soumya’s passed ‘g’ pawn proved decisive.

There was a tie for the second place with three players — Soumya Swaminathan, Bhakti Kulkarni and Swati Ghate — all scoring 7.5 points each. Soumya took the second spot and the cash prize of Rs.1 lakh, while Bhakti Kulkarni of Goa was placed third on tie breaking points. Bhakti received Rs.80,000 and Swati had to be content with the fourth place and Rs.60,000.

Bhakti of Goa had little difficulty with black, in getting the better of Bihar’s Neha Singh. Neha ended the tournament with just one point as she made yet another blunder to lose a pawn and resigned on the 23rd move.

Former national champion Tania Sachdev of Air India, who had a miserable tournament, managed to salvage her pride and some rating points with a crucial final round win over V. Varshini with black in a Ruy Lopez opening.

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