| Mary Ann, on Wednesday. A Telegraph picture |
Calcutta: Defending champion WGM Mary Ann Gomes of Bengal outplayed top-seeded Tania Sachdev of Air India with black pieces in the 3rd round of the UBI 40th National Women Premier Chess Championship, organised by the Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy and AllSport Foundation, at the Spring Club, on Wednesday.
Mary Ann opted for the unusual Ragozin Variation in the Queen’s Gambit declined and that caught Tania by surprise as she had a very passive position by move 15. After Mary Ann’s rook penetrated her opponent’s second rank, the city girl won a pawn on the 32nd move. With no counterplay for her material deficit, Tania resigned four moves later.
Wednesday turned out to be a very interesting day as all the games saw results. The experienced WGM Swathi Ghate of LIC emerged as the sole leader after the end of the third round with a victory against the young Michelle Catherina of Tamil Nadu.
Playing black, Swathi won two pawns in the middle game and later effortlessly won in a rook ending where she had two connected passed pawns.
In another game, WGM Padmini Rout of Odisha displayed her attacking prowess to break through young WGM Bhakti Kulkarni’s kingside in with black in a Grunfeld Defence. She obtained two connected passed pawns in the centre after which her opponent resigned.
In what can be termed as the upset of the day, national sub-junior girls’ champion GK Monnisha of Tamil Nadu got the better of IM Nisha Mohota in long game which extended till the 65th move.
Overnight leader Bodda Pratyusha of Andhra Pradesh, however, didn’t have a good day. She went into a line which involved sacrifice of a piece in a French Defence, but she failed make an headway as her opponent WGM Kiran Monisha Mohanty obtained a strong counter on the king’s wing with her extra piece, which won the game for her.
Ivana Furtado, the youngest competitor, overlooked the loss of a piece after a tactical combination against former world junior girls’ champion WGM Soumya Swaminathan of PSPB in a French defence. Though she continued for some moves thereafter, Soumya had little difficulty in converting her material advantage into a win.
While Swathi is in sole lead with 2.5 points, the second spot is shared by Mary Ann, Soumya, Pratyusha and Padmini — all on 2 points each.
An elated Mary Ann later revealed that she was well aware of Tania’s weaknesses, as both of them were teammates while representing India in the Chess Olympiad. “We know about each other’s game since we were teammates in the Olympiad… I knew she is a little uncomfortable with the opening and variation I used today… I took a risk, but it paid off. It took her by surprise since I don’t normally play that line. She was trying to defend but then the time problem went against her. In the end, it was just a waiting game,” Mary Ann said.
Mary Ann had lost to Tania in the 2011 Nationals. So was it a kind of a revenge? “Not really… Though Tania didn’t play in the 2012 Nationals, I had played her in the Asian meet and had also won,” Mary Ann said.