| Mary Ann Gomes, on Wednesday. A Telegraph picture |
Calcutta: Soumya Swaminathan of PSPB maintained her lead with 7.5 points after the end of the tenth and penultimate round of the 40th National Women’s Premier Chess Championship, organised by the Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy and Allsport Management, here, at the Spring Club, on Wednesday.
Soumya is half a point ahead of her nearest rival Mary Ann Gomes, who is on seven points. Soumya, though, has a tough draw in the final round as she faces Pamini Rout with black, while Mary Ann is paired against national junior girls’ champion Ivana Furtado of Goa.
In case of a tie, it’s Mary Ann who is better placed in the tiebreak than Soumya. However, on Wednesday, Soumya, playing with white, exploited the weakness of Bodda Pratyusha’s position to win two pawns in a French defence.
Pratyusha tried to complicate matters by going into a combination to get some play, but ended up losing a piece after which, she resigned.
Defending champion Mary Ann outsmarted Swathi Ghate with black in a Sicilian Defence. Mary Ann was in total control of the position from the beginning, as Swathi, unexpectedly, blundered her rook for knight. Playing enthusiastically, Mary Ann utilised her extra material to win the game.
“I think Swathi blundered in the opening… She seemed to be upset by the fact that I thwarted her opening,” she said.
Mary Ann is keeping fingers crossed ahead of the final round. “I’m happy with my game today. I will concentrate on my game tomorrow and accept whatever happens.”