Defending champion and second seed Mary Ann Gomes of Bengal managed to forge a draw against young Michelle Catherina of Tamil Nadu in the opening round of UBI 40th National premier women chess here on Monday.

Top seed Tania Sachdev of Air India overcame a stiff challenge from Padmini Rout of Odisha to take full points.

The tournament brings together the top 12 women chess players of the country in an all-play-all format.

The highlight of the day was 17-year-old Michelle Catherina’s game against WGM Mary Ann, who adopted Najdorf variation of the Sicilian defence.

The Tamil Nadu youngster enjoyed a slight advantage in the middle-game but Mary Ann rebounded strongly.

Mary Ann showed good sprit in the end-game. But with the two opponents getting into severe time pressure the game petered out into a draw in a rook ending.

Padmini showed good enterprise against Tania and gained excellent position from the opening even with black pieces in a King’s Indian defence.

But Padmini faltered later on and blocked the kingside which allowed Tania’s pieces free run on the queenside. Tania won a pawn and went on to win the game comfortably thereafter.

The results: First round: Ivana Maria Furtado (Goa) 0.5 drew with Swathi Ghate (LIC) 0.5; Michelle Catherina (TN) 0.5 drew with Mary Ann Gomes (Ben) 0.5; Soumya Swaminathan (PSPB) 0.5 drew with Nisha Mohota (PSPB) 0.5; Tania Sachdev (AI) 1 beat Padmini Rout (Odi) 0; G.K. Monnisha (TN) 0 lost to Pratyusha Bodda (AP) 1; Bhakti Kulkarni (Goa) 1 bt Kiran Manisha Mohanty (LIC) 0.

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