The 46th National Women Chess Championship, being held in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, on Monday, saw young chess players wracking their brains out and getting exhausted with top seed Divya Deshmukh also falling prey. Deshmukh and Mrudul Dehankar, however, sits in fourth and fifth position o halfway mark.
Both Deshmukh and Dehankar entered the tournament as strong contenders but started to flutter by the time they reached the respective sixth-round contests against higher-rated rivals. Third-seeded Women International Master (WIM) Deshmukh started with a fluent 42-move easy win over Tamil Nadu’s WIM V Varshini.
Following that, she was up against joint leader and second-seeded WGM Bhakti Kulkarni and despite having the advantage of the white pieces, Deshmukh was short of ideas in the mid-game and eventually suffered a defeat in just 31 moves in a double bishop versus rook ending.
“I didn’t see one of her moves after a variation and she got a good position right after that mistake. Then she played well and converted the game well,” Divya told TOI.
Women Candidate Master (WCM) Dehankar had a similar run as after doing well in the fifth round against top-seeded WGM Soumya Swaminathan, against whom she forced to play out a 42-move draw, Dehankar failed to defend with black pieces in the sixth round. Following that Dehankar lost to ninth seed WIM Nandhidhaa PV of Tamil Nadu in just 36 moves.
Unseeded Srishti Pandey was an interesting exception in the tournament known for her giant-killing feats. However, after having a bad start with her black pieces in the fifth round contest against WGM Meenakshi Subbaraman of Air India, which she lost in just 35 moves, she was seen playing safe settling for a draw in the evening session.
The fluctuating results have, however, kept Deshmukh and Dehankar at the joint fourth position while Srishti slipped to the fifth spot.
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