Calcutta: Soumya Swaminathan of PSPB was in sole lead with 6.5 points at the end of Round IX of the 40th National Women’s Premier Chess Championship, organised by the Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy and Allsport Management, at the Spring Club, on Tuesday.
Playing against Kiran Manisha Mohanty, Soumya fractured her opponent’s pawn structure, exploiting her opponent’s weakness to win in a rook and bishop ending. However, local favourite Mary Ann Gomes and Padmini Rout are breathing down Soumya’s neck, being just half a point behind her.
Swathi Ghate, who had been on the top spot over the last few days, is down to the third position with 5.5 points alongside top seed Tania Sachdev.
National sub-junior champion G.K. Monnisha, however, stole the show on the day, spoiling Swathi’s brilliant run by upsetting her in the longest game of the championship that extended up to the 91st move.
Defending champion Mary Ann kept her title hopes alive as she downed Nisha Mohota by a queen sacrifice. With both players under pressure because of the time factor, Nisha made matters worse for herself by losing her knight, after which it was curtains for her.
Padmini obtained space advantage against 14-year-old Ivana Furtado of Goa in an advanced Caro Kann Defence and won a pawn on the queenside, which gave her total command of the position.