SPORT

Kiran shocks Meenakshi

The weather in this coastal city has changed dramatically over the last couple of days. Much like the form of the top players at the Iwasa 44th National women’s premier chess championship.

On a day that saw incessant rain, with the expected arrival of Cyclone Ockhi, sole overnight leader S. Meenakshi was shocked by Kiran Manisha Mohanty, who is placed second from the bottom. In another major upset, P.V. Nandhidhaa was beaten by Srishti Pandey, who is languishing right at the bottom. In another important game, Padmini Rout was held to a draw by fourth seed Bhakti Kulkarni. All that ensured that it should be an exciting final day at the Surat Tennis Club on Wednesday.

Theoretically as many as six players — that is half the field — will begin the final round with probabilities of winning the title. “I can’t recall a situation like this in any tournament that I have played over the years,” said Soumya Swaminathan, one of those half-a-dozen contenders for the crown. But, of the six, Nandhidhaa and top seed Mary Ann Gomes may not be too optimistic of their chances; they are half-a-point behind the joint leaders.

The fight should actually be among those four on 6.5 points – Meenakshi, Bhakti, Soumya and Padmini.

The results (tenth round): Kiran Manisha Mohanty 3 bt S. Meenakshi 6.5; Srishti Pandey 2 bt P.V. Nandhidhaa 6; Mary Ann Gomes 6 bt Samriddhaa 3; Bhakti Kulkarni 6.5 drew with Padmini 6.5; Sakshi Chitlange 4.5 lost to Soumya Swaminathan 6.5; P. Bala Kannamma 4 drew with Swati Ghate 5.5.

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