WGM Soumya Swaminathan, former World junior girls champion snatched the lead with 6.5 points, at the end of the ninth round of the 40th Indian Women Premier Chess Championship, organised by Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy, Kolkata.
The overnight joint leader WGM Swathi Ghate was stunned by bottom ranked GK Monnisha in a marathon game, allowing Soumya to grab sole lead.
Defending champion Mary Ann Gomes of Kolkata, half a point behind the leader, stayed in contention for the title, with a win over her city mate IM Nisha Mohota.
With two more rounds remaining, the championship is poised for an exciting and thrilling finish.
Soumya defeated WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty to surge ahead of others. After exchanging the queen on 31st move, Soumya won a pawn soon. Kiran gave up the fight, when Soumya’s active rook and bishop combined well and was about to secure another pawn.
In the game of the tournament so far, Swathi’s Sicilian defence kept her on the defensive mode most of the time against Monnisha. Monnisha’s powerful pawn movements fetched her, a queen, while Swathi’s knight and bishop were silent spectators in the end game. The 91 mover came to a finish, when Monnisha began to pick up her pawns one by one.
Mary Ann Gomes played a good game against the international master Nisha Mohota, sacrificing her queen for a rook and a minor piece and managing to get a knight later. Her three pieces knitted a check mate position, when Nisha surrendered in 38 moves.
International master and top seed Tania Sachdev’s attempts to win the title suffered a blow, when she was held to a draw by Bhakti Kulkarni. She is trailing the leader by a full point.
Former Under 8 world champion WIM Ivana Maria Furtado’s Caro Kann defence against former under 14 world champion WGM Padmini Rout had a verdict in favour of the latter. After exchanging the queens, Padmini’s g- and h- pawns raced towards the eighth rank to win her the game.
Pratyusha Bodhha’s extra pawn in the end game was instrumental in winning the game against Michelle Catherina, who drew with Magnus Carlsen in a simultaneous display recently.
Round 9 results:
2056 WFM Monnisha Gk 1 – 0 WGM Swathi Ghate 2226
2302 WGM Kulkarni Bhakti ½ – ½ IM Tania Sachdev 2430
2272 WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty 0 – 1 WGM Soumya Swaminathan 2318
2159 Pratyusha Bodda 1 – 0 Michelle Catherina P 2152
2332 WGM Padmini Rout 1 – 0 WIM Ivana Maria Furtado 2116
2293 IM Mohota Nisha 0 – 1 WGM Gomes Mary Ann 2418
Round 9 standings:
1 WGM Soumya Swaminathan 2318 – 6.5
2 WGM Gomes Mary Ann 2418 – 6
3 WGM Padmini Rout 2332 – 6
4 WGM Swathi Ghate 2226 – 5.5
5 IM Tania Sachdev 2430 – 5.5
6 WIM Ivana Maria Furtado 2116 – 4.5
7 Pratyusha Bodda 2159 – 4.5
8 WGM Kulkarni Bhakti 2302 – 3.5
9 IM Mohota Nisha 2293 – 3.5
10 WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty 2272 – 3.5
11 WFM Monnisha Gk 2056 – 3
12 Michelle Catherina P 2152 – 2