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Since 1st March, 1999
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Mohota is India’s 4th WGM
- After three GMs, Bengal gets first superstar in the girls’ field

Kozhikode: Nisha Mohota has become India’s fourth Woman Grandmaster, Fide vice-president P.T. Ummer Koya said on Wednesday.

The Fide presidential board which met in Abuja, Nigeria on August 17, also awarded the International Woman Master title to twelve-year-old Dronavalli Harika. The Andhra Pradesh girl in now India’s youngest IWM.

The three other Indians to become WGM are S. Vijayalakshmi, Koneru Humpy and Aarthie Ramaswamy.

Nisha, 22, had been conferred the WGM title following her outstanding performance over the last few years. She won the first norm in the Asian women’s chess championship, Chennai in 2001 and the second in the IM tournament, in Dhaka in April 2002.

The third and final norm came her way after her superb performance in the National Women’s A championship, in Mumbai in January this year.

She started her chess career with The Telegraph schools meet in 1988. That was the year when she saw Saheli Dhar take a special award from Arun Lal and from PK Banerjee and was excited enough to ask her father for extra coaching. She was around seven years old then. Bipin Shenoy took up coaching her and then she won the national under-14 and under-18 meets in 1993.

“I’m delighted and overwhelmed by the announcement,” Nisha, currently employed with LIC, said.

“I received so much support from the AICF that enabled me to participate in various tournaments within and abroad,” she said.

Humpy in joint lead

Koneru Humpy and Xu Yuanyuan of China carved emphatic wins to join overnight leaders D. Harika and Gu Xiaobing at the top of the table with 3.5 points each after the fourth round of the 10th Asian women’s chess championship on Wednesday. Playing on top board, ninth-seed Harika and China’s Xiaobing agreed for a draw after 45 moves.

Initially, Harika, who used Sicilian defence, had a slight edge going in for a two-bishop exchange after 16 moves.

On the second board, Grandmaster Humpy cashed in on her Chinese opponent Ruan Lufei’s mistakes to win in 77 moves.

After sacrificing a pawn on the 31st move to give room for her other pieces, Humpy used her knight to take her rival’s rook on the 48th.

Following an exchange of queens two moves later, Humpy surged ahead to win in a rook against knight ending. “I made full use of the exchange tactics and took control of the game by the 50th move,” Humpy said.

In an all-Chinese affair on the third board, Yuanyuan went for queen exchange soon after making a queen-pawn opening and also forced Ang Yu to commit errors regularly. Yuanyuan won in 65 moves. In the other prominent games, Aarthie Ramaswamy, who beat third seed Wang Pin of China on Tuesday, played impressively to split points with second seed Zhao Xue, while S. Vijayalakshmi overcame China’s Tian Tian.

Joining Aarthie and Vijayalakshmi in the second spot with three points each was defending champion Li Ruofan, who defeated S. Meenakshi.

In the third position with 2.5 points apiece are Ruan Lufei, Wang Yu, Wang Pin, Zhao Xue, Huang Qian, Zhang Jilin, Hoang Thanh Trang, Le Kieu Thien Kim and Maria Sergeeva.

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