Kruttika defeats Bhakti

Kamesh Srinivasan

NEW DELHI: Kruttika Nadig took the long route to victory against former National junior champion Bhakti Kulkarni in the third round of the Parsvnath 35th National ‘A’ women’s chess championship at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture here on Saturday.

With the leader Soumya Swaminathan being held to a draw by a gutsy Amrutha Mokal, the 20-year-old Kruttika had reasons to be satisfied with her position, half point behind.

“It was a very funny game,” observed Kruttika.

Complicated position

After the Slav Defence had led to a complicated position, Kruttika conceded that she tried ‘all kinds of tricks’, to find a breakthrough.

Eventually, she had two bishops against a rook, but combined her queen with the bishops to wreak havoc and swallowed the rook as well.

Kruttika could have sealed the match with a bishop move on the 62nd turn, but drove the enemy king all over the board before executing the checkmate in 73 moves.

“I sacrificed to gain tempo, but she made some mistakes and lost,” said Kruttika, even as she agreed that she did not play the best moves, owing to time trouble.

Three-time Asian junior champion Mary Ann Gomes, grappling with a bout of cold, bolstered her sagging morale with a 37-move victory over last year’s runner-up Kiran Manisha Mohanty.

“It was a very tough game. She had an attack, but once it failed, my pieces became active. I gained material advantage too.

“I should not have let the match drift for so long. There should have been a better option,” said Mary. She took her tally to 1.5 points with the victory in 37 moves.

Swati Ghate was also happy to get back to winning ways after an error in the second round when she had to endure the ignominy of being check-mated following a hasty king move.

The 28-year-old sacrificed to gain momentum, but did not have to work hard on her strategy for long as her opponent blundered the queen and lost her way.

“I could have played a better course, but there is a long way ahead,” said Swati.

Time trouble

Soumya played as well as she could, but found dark horse Amrutha a tough nut to crack, despite the latter facing her usual enemy, time trouble.

At one stage, Soumya took so much time to plan her course, nearly 20 minutes for a move, that there was hardly any difference in the clock of the two.

“She played very well. There was nothing much I could do,” said the 19-year-old Soumya who had upset defending champion Tania Sachdev in the second round.

The 22-year-old Tania revealed her craft in holding WGM Eesha Karavade to a draw in 53 moves, despite being a pawn less in a knight against bishop end-game.

Pon N. Krithika continued to impress with her understanding of Ruy Lopez, as she snatched half a point from WGM Nisha Mohota in a 36-move encounter.

The results (third round): Soumya Swaminathan (2.5) drew with Amrutha Mokal (1.5); Eesha Karavade (1.5) drew with Tania Sachdev (1.5); Kiran Manisha Mohanty (1) lost to Mary Ann Gomes (1.5); Pon N. Krithika (1.5) drew with Nisha Mohota (1); Bhakti Kulkarni (0.5) lost to Kruttika Nadig (2); Swati Ghate (2) bt Padmini Rout (1).

Fourth round pairings: Amrutha-Padmini; Kruttika-Swati; Nisha-Bhakti; Mary-Krithika; Tania-Kiran; Soumya-Eesha.