SPORT

Nisha outplays Aarthie to take lead

S. Satyapragyan (left) ponders the next move against S.S. Ganguly in the National `A' chess championship in Mumbai on Saturday. — Photo: Vivek Bendre  

Mumbai JAN. 25. IWM Nisha Mohota (6) of LIC outplayed overnight leader and WGM Aarthie Ramaswamy (5.5) of Wipro to snatch the lead at the end of the eighth round of the National women `A' championship here on Saturday.

Though GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly of PSPB suffered a shocking loss to IM S. Satyapragyan of Indian Airlines among men, the quartet of other GMs scored wins to remain on top. Sasikiran (9.5), Harikrishna and Kunte (both 8.5) and Dibyendu Barua (7.5) have separated themselves from others to form a leading bunch.

Nisha's win may not be too surprising as the tiny IWM from Kolkata holds a WGM norm herself; but shocking was the ease which she trounced the talented Wipro beneficiary. The game lasted hardly 24 moves and when Aarthi resigned, she had lost three pawns with an exchange to follow.

"Aarthi did not play the Rubinstein variation in Nimzo Indian Defence correctly," pointed out Nisha after the game. Nisha had taken full control over the centre before taking her queen and knight for a kill.

Surprisingly all the games ended decisively in the women's section with the favourites coming through. Defending champion S. Vijayalakshmi showed great patience while overcoming Y. Pratibha from the black side of Spanish Opening.

Eesha Karvade (4.5) of Wipro staked her claim for the Indian side when she scored an important victory over Swati Mohota (1.5). However the petite Pune girl was not happy with her play. "I should not have given her so much counter," Eesha said shaking her head.

Another Wipro beneficiary IWM Harika had to go through some anxious moments before defeating R. Sai Meera (Banks' Sports Board) in King's Indian Defence.

Sasikiran was in usual cavalier mood while outwitting British champion R.B. Ramesh in Catalan Opening. GM Ganguly tried to win a drawish position but came to grief when Satyapragyan's passer proved stronger to his passer.

Abhijit Kunte had little trouble overcoming IM Tejas Bakre from the black side of Sicilian Paulsen system. "Tejas mixed the moves and allowed my knight to settle on the `d5'square," the GM from IOC explained after avenging his teammate Ganguly's loss from an Indian Airlines player.

Harikrishna won a pawn against out of form IM Sarvanan in an irregular opening. After that it was child's play for the young GM to convert the advantage into a full point. Harikrishna and Kunte are tied on second spot with 8.5 points.

IM Lanka Ravi won a pawn against IM Sriram Jha in middle game but the latter used his bishop pair very well to escape with a draw. M.R. Venkatesh (PSPB) celebrated his IM norm with a win over Arvind Shastry (Karnataka).

The game between IM S. Kidambi (5) and IM Neelotpal Das (7) attracted the major share of spectators, as they played very aggressively trying to checkmate other. Neelotpal finally sensed that he had no winning chances against the apparently exposed white king and decided to sign peace with perpetual checks.

GM Dibyendu Barua's (7.5) cunning trap netted him a piece against an unsuspecting Suvrajit Saha (4.5). It was enough for Barua to turn the tables for a win.

The results: Women: Eesha Karavade [4.5] bt Swati Mohota [1.5], Y. Pratibha [3] lost to S. Vijayalakshmi [5.5], Krutika Nadig [1.5] lost to S. Meenakshi [4], Swathi Ghate [4] bt J.E. Kavitha [2], Nisha Mohota [6] bt Aarthie Ramaswamy [5.5], Dronavalli Harika [5] bt Sai Meera [1.5], Tania Sachdev [4] bye.

Men: Suvrajit Saha [4.5] lost to Dibyendu Barua [7.5], Sriram Jha [4] drew with Lanka Ravi [6], Satyapragyan Swayangsu [4.5] bt Surya Sekhar Ganguly [6.5], Satchidanand Soman [4.5] drew with Mokal Prathamesh S. [4], S. Kidambi [5] drew with Neelotpal Das [7], Praveen M. Thipsay [5] drew with Saptarshi Roy [6], Krishnan Sasikiran [9.5] bt R.B. Ramesh [5.5], Tejas Bakre [6] lost to Abhijit Kunte [8.5], P. Harikrishna [8.5] bt V. Saravanan [3], M.R. Venkatesh [6] bt Arvind Shastry [3.5], G.B. Prakash [5]: bye.