Padmini still ahead despite drawNovember 28, 2017
She came here with a hat-trick of titles at the National women’s premier chess championship. But there was no hat-trick of wins as Padmini Rout had to settle for a draw with Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) teammate Soumya Swaminathan in the third round.
The reigning champion, however, maintained her sole lead with 2.5 points at the Surat Tennis Club here on Monday. Half-a-point behind are Soumya, S. Meenakshi, P.V. Nandhidhaa and top seed Mary Ann Gomes.
After the excitement of day two in which all but one game produced decisive results, the third round was bit of a disappointment with four draws. The only women to post victories on this day were Swati Ghate and Bhakti Kulkarni, who looked relieved after putting behind two eminently forgettable games behind her.
Padmini might have been disappointed at not making three out of three, but she didn’t show it after her tough battle with Soumya, which lasted 56 moves. It all ended with the second and third seeds repeating the moves in a rook-and-minor-piece ending. Padmini, who employed French Defence, was a pawn down, but the position was drawn. “I had the better position after the opening, but I failed to capitalise,” said the second seed.
Mary had to face some anxious moments though before she drew with Kiran Manisha Mohanty, who adopted Petroff Defence and had a promising position before she erred on the 27th move.
Swati too could afford to smile, that too for a happier reason, after her game with Samriddhaa Ghosh, who had opened with French Defence. The senior-most player in the tournament won in 40 moves with considerable help from her younger rival, who made far too many poor moves to go a rook down and face mating threats.
Like Samriddhaa, P. Bala Kannamma too is pretty inexperienced at this level, but she played confidently to take a creditable half-a-point off Nandhidhaa, who is rated 132 points above. The all-Tamil Nadu affair lasted just 25 moves from a Sicilian Chigorin variation.
It looked like a nice bit of home preparation from the white side by Kannamma.
Another Tamil Nadu player, Meenakshi, had to work harder for her half-a-point against higher rated Sakshi Chitlange after 81 moves of Slav Defence.
The results, third round:
Soumya Swaminathan 2 drew with Padmini Rout 2.5; Mary Ann Gomes 2 drew with Kiran Manisha Mohanty 1.5; Bhakti Kulkarni 1.5 bt Srishti Pandey 0; Swati Ghate 1.5 bt Samriddhaa Ghosh 0.5; Sakshi Chitlange 1.5 drew with S. Meenakshi 2; P. Bala Kannamma 1 drew with P.V. Nandhidhaa 2.