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WGM Soumya Swaminathan wins India Chess Championship

WGM Swathi Ghate silver, WGM Mary Ann Gomes bronze

WGM Soumya Swaminathan is the new National Champion of India after winning the 2010-2011 edition of the championship. Swaminathan Soumya dominated the championship and for the last four rounds showed firmly she is going for the title.

With last round victories WGM Swathi Ghate and WGM Mary Ann Gomes managed to take full point and climb into shared second, taking silver and bronze respectively.

Soumya Swaminathan

WGM Soumya Swaminathan

About WGM Swaminathan Soumya

Born in 1989, WGM Swaminathan Soumya is currently the 5th strongest Indian chess player. She was two times youth girls champion before her first major success on national level – the India National Junior title in 2006 (scroll down to read more about it). She earned her WIM title in 2007, reflecting the super jump from 2140 ELO in the January rating list to 2315 ELO in just 1 year period. Logically, this was followed by a WGM title in 2008.

In November 2009, she won the World Junior Chess Championship (for women under 20) held in Argentina, with 9.5 points and winning on tie-break.

Just an year later WGM Swaminathan Soumya is champion of India, on clear first. The success brings her the title and additional 23 points to her rating.

Final standings

1 WGM Soumya Swaminathan 2332 8.5

2 WGM Swathi Ghate 2302 8

3 WGM Gomes Mary Ann 2306 8

4 WGM Padmini Rout 2352 7.5

5 IM Tania Sachdev 2385 7

6 WGM Mohota Nisha 2325 7

7 Pratyusha Bodda 2086 6

8 IM Karavade Eesha 2369 5.5

9 WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty 2230 5.5

10 WFM Bharathi R 2111 5.5

11 Harini S 2063 5.5

12 Aparajita Gochhikar 1871 5.5

13 Arunima Kalra 1866 5.5

14 WFM Swati Mohota 2090 5

15 WFM Pujari Rucha 2114 5

16 Amrutha Mokal 2089 5

17 A Akshaya 2022 5

18 Preethi R 2073 5

19 Rathore Sonakshi 1971 4.5

20 WFM Saranya J 2123 4

21 Sithalatchumi A 1917 4

22 Shweta Gole 1906 4

23 Minki Sinha 1880 3

24 Nivedhitha J G 1819 2.5

Arvind Aaron about Soumya Swaminathan junior title in 2006

Soumya Swaminathan is a two-time national junior girls champion having won it at Sivakasi in November 2005 and at Delhi in 2006. She is one of the players in the current National Women “A” chess Championship being sponsored by Win TV and BSNL at Hotel Sangeetha Residency in Mylapore, Chennai.

In a chat after her sixth round, Soumya who is a first year B.Com student from BMCC College Pune said she hopes to become a Woman International Master soon and cross 2200 rating mark.

Soumya speaks a number of languages, Tamil, English, Marathi and Hindi. Her other interests are music and films. She prepares from her laptop and travels to Khar, Mumbai to train under GM Pravin Thipsay. Her favourite player is Bobby Fischer.

She has been travelling a lot and and is under scholarship from Indian Oil. She liked Oropesa del Mar, Spain very much and that was her first trip outside India in 1999. She lives with her father after losing her mother in an accident. Asked if losing her mother affected her chess, Soumya said, yes very much but overall, not just in chess.

Soumya gets local support from her uncle Ramnarayanan (mothers brother) who is the branch manager of Central Bank of India, Mylapore Branch which is four blocks away from Hotel Sangeetha Residency, the venue.

Asked for a suggestion to improve this new format under which the National Women A is played, Soumya said,”I love this Swiss format. The 18-game format earlier was boring and tiring.” I do not like the odd entry here and getting a “bye” is a humiliation. “I hope I dont get it,” said Soumya with her hand on her heart.

About expectations, Soumya said she did not expect to finish in the top five at Sivakasi but actually ended up winning the National Junior Girls last year. In Delhi I expected to win and I won, she added. My only ambition is to play well.

she and her room-mate Amruta Mokal wanted to browse the net and soon we heard them say “India jinkla” (marathi for win) and one knew they were following the Doha Asian games. “Humpy is incredible.” I hope we get the team gold also.

About Chennai and the organisation here she likes it and has played many age group events in the city. Her career best is winning the National Junior.

Arvind Aaron about Soumya Swaminathan World Junior title in 2009

Soumya Swaminathan achieved what only five other Indians have achieved in world chess. She won the World Junior girls chess championship at Puerto Madryn in Argentina on November 3, 2009.

In the thirteenth and final round, Soumya, defeated Kubra Ozturk of Turkey with the white pieces for a place in world history. She became the third Indian girl after Koneru Humpy (2002) and Dronavalli Harika (2008) to win the World Junior Girls championship. The World Junior had been won by V. Anand (1987), P. Harikrishna (2004) and Abhijeet Gupta (2008) also. India is retaining the girls title.

“Great news Magesh, congratulations to her and to the entire team. Our president Mr N.Srinivasan and myself convey our hearty thanks for having kept the Indian flag flying high,” said D.V. Sundar in an official comminique from Vietnam to the Indian coach GM P. Magesh Chandran in Argentina.

Soumya tied for the first place with two others but had the better tie-break score to end a deserving winner. All of them scored 9.5 points from 13 games. In the final round, Soumya started on 8.5 points and Cori Tello (Per) was also on 8.5. But Betul Yildiz of Turkey was better placed on nine points. While leader Yildiz only drew against Orissa’s Kiran Mohanty, Soumya and Cori Tello won to tie for the first place on 9.5 points. When the official results were out, Soumya had the higher tie-break score of 27314, higher than Cori Tello’s 27250 and Yildiz’s 27052.

Soumya was in command in the event but a penultimate round defeat pushed her down from which she rose to win the tournament. She speaks English, Hindi, Marathi and fluent Tamil.

Soumya was born in Palakkad in 1989 and their family moved to Pune. Both her parents worked in a bank. When she was about to represent India in the World Under-10 championship her mother died in a road accident. Soumya recovered from that blow and has achieved plenty in chess.

“In her trip to Europe last year, she made five norms in one and a half months,” said Joseph D’Souza, a chess administrator in Pune. Soumya is hard working and is a Commerce Student from the BMCC College he said. She is under the scholarship of a Petroleum company, he said.

Soumya had won several National titles: National U-17 in 2004, National Junior in 2005 and 2008. Her rating is 2297 and she played at 2433 Elo and would be gaining about ten Elo points from this event. Soumya won eight games, lost two to the two players she tied on points and drew three games for the title.

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