Bhakti goes home richer by Rs.4,00,000, Vantika finishes second and Divya third
The 46th National Women's Championship 2019 came to a successful conclusion. The field was dominated by Bhakti Kulkarni who scored an unbeaten 10.0/11 finishing a whooping 1.5 points ahead of the rest. Vantika Agrawal and Divya Deshmukh both ended with 8.5/11 and were placed second and third respectively based on tie-break scores. Overall, the tournament saw quite a few surprises, most notable among them was the performance of 15-year-old Mrudul Dehankar who fought tooth and nail with her more experienced opponents and finished fifth surpassing them with an impressive score of 8.0/11. In this final report we bring you photos from the last day, an overview of the entire event, and more.
Bhakti Champion once again and better!
Bhakti Kulkarni won the National Women's title last year as well but this year her dominance over the rest of the field was on an altogether different level. As she herself mentioned speaking to ChessBase India that it was the quality of her games that was most satisfying. In the final round of the event she faced Pratyusha Bodda with the white pieces and boy even in this last game she came close to victory, only a slip kept her from finishing with a magical 10.5/11 score.
Bhakti Kulkarni - Pratyusha Bodda, Round 11
It was actually a topsy-turvy game where both sides missed some nice chances. First it was Pratyusha who in the above position overlooked something very important and went 33...Qh3. The idea she failed to notice was 33...Bxf3 34.Bxf3 Qf5 forking the loose rook and bishop.
After 33...Qh3 the position tilted towards White and on move 46 it was Bhakti who had the opportunity to the seize the initiative!
The best move would have been 46.Bd5! after which White is clearly winning. For instance, with 46...Ne5 47.a6 Nd7 48.a7 Nb6 49.Bb7 the a-pawn proves to be a monster. Similarly, with 46...Re8 47.Kxg4 Rxe7 48.a6 Ra7 49.Bb7 too Black is hopelessly passive. But the move 46.Be6 that was played in the game simply gave away the initiative. After 46...Re8 47.Bxg4 Rxe7 48.a6 Re4 49.Bd7 Re5 50.Kxf3 Ra5 Black found sufficient counterplay.
Replay the full game below:
Vantika finishes strongly and makes a WGM norm
WIM Vantika Agrawal started as the 10th seed but finished second, scoring a WGM norm in the process. She had her lucky moments in the tournament, but as they say, fortune favours only the brave. Certainly, she made the most out of every opportunity and deservingly earned a podium finish. In the last round she came close to winning but her resilient opponent Mrudul Dehankar kept finding resources to ultimately force a draw.
Divya Deshmukh is just 13 but evidently one of the strongest!
Divya Deshmukh started as the 3rd seed and also finished third in the event with an impressive score of 8.5/11 - same as Vantika - but she had to settle for the third place based on tie-break. She found back-to-back victories in the last two rounds against Michelle Catherina and Nandhidhaa P V respectively.
Here is her win against Nandhidhaa P V from the final round:
One thing to notice about Divya is how she finishes her tournaments. She almost always reserves her best for the last rounds. This is a winner's approach that is ingrained in her right since the days she began playing chess. We won't be surprised if in 2020, she would be one of the strongest contenders for the title.
Mrudul Dehankar makes a WIM norm
15-year-old Mrudul Dehankar had a very successful event. Even though starting with a rank of 24 she finished overall fifth surpassing many an elite participant of the event. She beat WIM Mahalakshmi M, WIM Srija Seshadri, and IM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman to clinch a WIM norm for herself.
After the tournament Nisha wrote an interesting Facebook post where you can clearly see how a strong player is often looking for improvement in their games rather than just focusing on the results: "On my part, I am very satisfied and happy with my 7th place unbeaten finish! You must be thinking, what's wrong with me.. haven't I won the National in the past? Well, I am actually very happy with my last 3 rounds' games...I played attacking chess....different chess...completely against my positional style and it was very satisfying! My friends who know me very closely were very happy to see this changed Nisha last 3 rounds! Yes, I can play different chess!! Happy to finish on 3/3 last 3 rounds! Actually not the 7th position, but the confidence that I can adapt to a different style is very satisfying!"
Prize money won by top 10 finishers
Although there were only ten prizes at the event, all of them were quite substantial:
Aarthie has inspired her husband Ramesh RB after her performance. India's Olympiad team trainer wrote on Facebook, "Very proud of Aarthie Ramaswamy performance at the recently concluded Women National Championship 2019. Despite not finding enough time for her Chess due to managing family, office work, academy related works and various other things, which keeps her occupied 24*7, she fought bravely in a competitive tournament and did pretty well. Tough lady - inspired by you!"
Results of final round
|1||2||WGM||Kulkarni Bhakti||2388||AI||9½||½ - ½||7½||WIM||Pratyusha Bodda||2265||AP||8|
|2||24||WCM||Mrudul Dehankar||2074||MAH||7½||½ - ½||8||WIM||Vantika Agrawal||2243||DEL||10|
|3||9||WIM||Nandhidhaa P V||2259||TN||7½||0 - 1||7½||WIM||Divya Deshmukh||2373||MAH||3|
|4||28||WGM||Ramaswamy Aarthie||2020||AI||7||0 - 1||7||WIM||Srija Seshadri||2306||TN||5|
|5||13||IM||Mohota Nisha||2221||PSPB||7||1 - 0||7||Priyanka K||2217||TN||14|
|6||23||WIM||Harshita Guddanti||2078||AP||6½||1 - 0||7||Bala Kannamma P||2051||TN||27|
|7||6||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||2303||PSPB||6½||½ - ½||6½||WIM||Varshini V||2087||TN||22|
|8||18||WGM||Meenakshi Subbaraman||2163||AI||6½||1 - 0||6½||WIM||Michelle Catherina P||2226||TN||12|
|9||17||WIM||Chitlange Sakshi||2168||MAH||6½||1 - 0||6½||WCM||Jyothsna L||1939||TN||35|
|10||33||Bakshi Rutuja||1958||MAH||6||½ - ½||6||WGM||Soumya Swaminathan||2402||PSPB||1|
|11||37||Toshali V||1920||AP||6||0 - 1||6||IM||Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman||2357||AI||4|
|12||34||WFM||Sanskriti Goyal||1948||UP||6||0 - 1||6||WGM||Swati Ghate||2192||LIC||15|
|13||16||WCM||Sharma Isha||2188||KAR||6||1 - 0||6||Pandey Srishti||1882||MAH||40|
|14||20||WFM||Jain Nityata||2135||MP||6||1 - 0||6||Nandhini Saripalli||1933||GOA||36|
|15||39||WFM||Dhyana Patel||1900||GUJ||6||½ - ½||6||WIM||Thipsay Bagyashree Sathe||2093||MAH||21|
|16||26||WGM||Kiran Manisha Mohanty||2054||LIC||6||½ - ½||6||Singh Neha||1809||BIH||44|
|17||50||Divyabharathi Masanam||1730||TN||5½||1 - 0||5½||WIM||Parnali S Dharia||2145||MAH||19|
|18||29||Meenal Gupta||2004||J&K||5½||0 - 1||5½||Sunyuktha C M N||1815||TN||43|
|19||32||Saranya Y||1959||TN||5½||1 - 0||5½||Abhirami Madabushi||1689||TEL||52|
|20||38||WFM||Meghna C H||1903||RSPB||5½||1 - 0||5½||Rindhiya V||1573||TN||66|
Standings after final round
|8||9||WIM||Nandhidhaa P V||IND||2259||TN||7,5||0,0||74,5||79,5||49,25||7||0,19|
|15||6||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||IND||2303||PSPB||7,0||0,0||66,5||72,5||45,25||5||-1,74|
|17||27||Bala Kannamma P||IND||2051||TN||7,0||0,0||66,5||71,5||40,75||6||1,59|
We had kept a contest on day one as to who would win the Women's National Championships 2019. Two people - Aradhya Garg and Sivakami Ramanathan had guessed it right that Bhakti would become the champion, but they also had to guess her score. Aradhya said 8.5 or 9 and Sivakami guessed it as 9.0/11. To be fair no one could have imagined that Bhakti would dominate the tournament in such brutal fashion scoring 10.0/11.
We hope you enjoyed our coverage of the event. If you have any feedback, do let us know in the comments section. You can read through all the previous articles of the event through the grey boxes below.