Calcutta: Swathi Ghate of LIC continues to be the sole leader with five points at the end of the Round VII of 40th National Women’s Premier Chess Championship, organised by the Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy and Allsport Management, at Spring Club, here, on Sunday.
Playing against top seed Tania Sachdev, Swathi opted for the Queen’s defence in reply to Tania’s queen pawn opening. With both players unwilling to take risks, they agreed to a draw in 33 moves.
The lead, though, is still a marginal one for Swathi as defending champion Mary Ann Gomes, Soumya Swaminathan and Padmini Rout trail her by just half-a-point. “I was in a similar situation in the last national championship. So I need to make sure I don’t bungle again. I still have four more matches to play and none of them will be easy,” she said.
On Monday, Swathi takes on Nisha Mohota, who lost to Padmini. Mary Ann, playing with black against Bodda Pratyusha, played out a third successive draw in a Sicilian defence.
Pratyusha obtained a slight advantage from the opening, but Mary Ann held her own in a difficult position to draw in a rook endgame.