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Bhagyashree is queen again

By P. K. Ajith Kumar

BhagyashreeThipsay of IDBI who won the National women's B chess championship in Kozhikode on Thursday. — Photo: Ramesh Kurup

KOZHIKODE JUNE 5. Fortune favoured the best in the end.

Bhagyashree Thipsay, that plucky little woman from Mumbai who still remains a major threat for rivals young enough to be her daughters, regained the National women's `B' chess championship, after a gap of one year, at Hotel Asma Tower on a humid Thursday afternoon.

She had qualified for next year's National women's `A' championship with a round to spare on Wednesday itself. So had M.R. Sangeetha of Tamil Nadu and Koneru Chandra Hawsa of Champion Chess Academy, Andhra, who finally finished runner-up and third respectively. The three ended with seven points each, and the ties were broken with progressive scores.

There was a fierce fight in the ninth and final round for the seven remaining spots (the top ten qualify), which were claimed eventually by Tania Sachdev of Delhi, Anupama Gokhale of Bharat Petroleum, Kruttika Nadig of Maharashtra, Y. Prathiba of Tamil Nadu, Saimeera Ravi of Bank Sports Board, Saheli Nath of Bengal and Eesha Karvade of Maharashtra, who were placed in that order. Among them Chandra Hawsa and Saheli would be making their debut at the National women's `A' tourney, India's premier event for the fairer sex.

Forty-one-year-old Bhagyashree, representing Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), needed some luck on the final day and had to spend a couple of anxious hours before hearing the glad news. On the top board, she had a quick draw with Tania (who needed half-a-point to qualify). So for her to win the championship it was necessary that the second board clash between Chandra Hawsa and Sangeetha should end in a draw. As for the two girls, it was a final: the winner would lift her maiden National title.

Chandra Hawsa, the younger sister of former World junior champion Koneru Humpy, played the Trompowsky Opening -- not the most popular way to begin a game -- and Sangeetha was equal to the task. The Chennai girl's position in fact looked better at one stage in the middle game. But a couple of dubious moves from her restored parity, which then reached a rook-and-minor-piece ending. They declared peace after 41 moves. Bhagyashree thus received a slice of luck. But nobody would grudge her good fortune. For she was easily the best of the 104 players who battled it out over the last five days.

``I feel very happy,'' said a beaming Bhagyashree, who has now won three out of the four National women's `B' championships she played. "I've been feeling low for some time because I haven't had good results for some time.''

On 6.5 points were three other players, C.V. Rajalakshmi of Chromepet Chess Academy, Chennai, H. Nilavoli of Tamil Nadu and Dolan Champa Bose of Jharkand. The unluckiest of them all was Rajalakshmi who had the same progressive score as Eesha, who took the last spot among the qualifiers. Her `cut' progressive score was half-a-point less than that of Eesha.

BJP National Council member P.S. Sreedharan Pillai gave away the prizes at the closing ceremony, at which FIDE vice president P.T. Ummer Koya and Russian Grandmaster Ruslan Sherbakov also spoke.

* Important results (ninth and final round): Koneru Chandra Hawsa (Champion Academy, AP) 7 drew with M.R. Sangeetha (TN) 7; Tania Sachdev (Del) 6.5 drew with Bhagyashree Thipsay (IDBI) 7; Y. Prathiba (TN) 6.5 drew with Anupama Gokhale (BP) 6.5; H. Nilavoli (TN) 6.5 drew with Eesha Karvade (Mah) 6.5; Sreeparna Chakraborty (Alekhine Club) 6 drew with Kruttika Nadig (Mah) 6; C.V. Rajalakshmi (Chromepet Academy, Chennai) 6.5 bt M. Safira Shanaz (TN) 5.5; Saheli Nath (Ben) 6.5 bt Supriya Maji (GNCA, Kolkata) 5.5; Dolan Champa Bose (Jha) 6.5 bt Saheli Dhar Barua (Ben) 5; Soumya Swaminathan (Mah) 5 lost to Swati Ghate (LIC) 6; Mary Ann Gomes (GNCA) 6 bt Madhuri M. Patil (Mah) 5; Ketaki Kulkarni (Mah) bt M. Rajadarshini (Emanuel Academy, Chennai) 5; Kiran Monisha Mohanty (Ori) 5 lost to Anuprita Patil (Mah) 6; Swati Mohota (Ben) 6 bt N. Sandhya (Ker) 5; Pushpalata Mangal (BSB) 5 lost to N. Vinuthna (AP) 6; Alka Das (Jha) 5.5 drew with Nimmy A. George (Ker) 5.5; I. Ramya Krishna (AP) 5 drew with Baisakhi Das (Jha) 5.5; Ayushi Ray Choudhury (Ori) 5 drew with C. Delphin (Mount Academy, Chennai) 5; Amita Kashikar (Mah) 4.5 lost to M. Priyadarshini (Emanuel) 5.5; N. Raghavi (Capa Academy, Chennai) 5.5 bt Sougaijam Victoria (Man) 4.5; Amruta Mokal (Mah) 5.5 bt P. Sudha (Lak) 4.5; Sunetri Das (Ben) 4.5 lost to P. Sivasanakari (Aaron Academy, Chennai) 5.5; P. Priya (TN) 4.5 drew with Aneeqha Thahseen (T'Nagar Academy, Chennai) 4.5.

The qualifiers: 1-3. Bhagyashree, Sangeetha and Chandra Hawsa 7; 4-10. Anupama, Tania, Kruttika, Prathiba, Saimeera, Saheli Nath and Eesha 6.5.

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