Sunday, Nov 16, 2003
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By P.K. Ajith Kumar
Kruttika Nadig (standing), who made her first IWM norm watching the game between Koneru Humpy (left) and. Humpy scored her 11th straight win in National women's A chess championship at Kozhikode on Saturday. Anupama Gokhale (right) is also seen. Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup
On Saturday at the Chess India Complex she scalped Bhagyashree Thipsay and Anupama Gokhale, who between them have won this tournament ten times. Her stunning show has overshadowed a brilliant effort by S. Vijayalakshmi of Indian Airlines, who's won nine games in a row. She has thus maintained her sole second position with 10 points, one point behind the top seed.
Nisha Mohota of LIC has kept her third position with 7.5 points, after being held to a draw in the 11th round by Maharashtra's Kruttika Nadig, who made her maiden International Woman Master norm.
Third seed Dronavalli Harika, who had to share the point with debutante Saheli Nath of Bengal, and Eesha Karvade have seven points each. The day also witnessed a third straight defeat for reigning champion Aarthie Ramaswamy, at the hands of Swati Ghate of LIC, for whom it was a welcome return to the winning ways, after too many reversals.
Humpy adopted King's Indian Defence against Anupama, who did not take too much time to mess up her own position with two reckless moves 11th and 12th. She saw her knight become a virtually useless piece, whereas Humpy's pieces were getting ready for the kill. When White won in 29 moves, she was two pawns up and had a passer in the centre.
Humpy's winning streak has bettered the nine straight wins scored by Bhagyashree in the National women's championship in 1986 (there were just nine rounds in the tournament). Dibyendu Barua has also had a perfect score of 9/9, in a National junior meet. "But this performance by Humpy is truly unique," said the All India Chess Federation secretary P.T. Ummer Koya.
Humpy said she never expected to have such a roaring start. "I didn't think of recording straight wins," she said, "I just concentrated on my game, that's all. But of course I'm very happy to have won so many games."
In the morning, Humpy faced Tarrasch Defence from Bhagyashree and won in 37 moves. It was another comfortable victory in the end, but not without some help from the reigning National women's `B' champion.
Humpy sacrificed a centre pawn, had a good attack on the king-side and created doubled pawns for Black. Then she went a passed pawn up and was threatening to win more material when Bhagyashree gave up.
Vijayalakshmi, with black pieces, beat M.R. Sangetha in 63 moves of Reversed Dutch. She showed her superior skills in a rook and minor piece ending. "It's good to win nine consecutive games," she said, "but don't forget that I'm still trailing by one point".
Earlier in the day, in the crucial battle between champions past and present, Vijayalakshmi played English Opening against Aarthie, who erred on the 11th move itself, with a wrong queen manoeuver, when she had at least three other options to prevent White from taking the initiative. She played correctly to activate her pieces, had a discernible advantage in space and put pressure on the centre. After sacrificing a centre pawn she forced Aarthie to give an exchange, and was a full rook up when the game ended in 36 moves.
The results (11th round): Y. Prathiba (TN) 5 drew with Tania Sachdev (Del) 5.5; Eesha Karvade (Mah) 7 bt C.V. Rajalakshmi (TN) 1.5; Saimeera Ravi (IB) 3 lost to Koneru Chandra Hawsa (AP) 5; Bhagyashree Thipsay (IDBI) 3 drew with S. Meenakshi (IA) 6.5; Anupama Gokhale (BP) 4.5 lost to Koneru Humpy (AP) 11; D. Harika (AP) 7 drew with Saheli Nath (Ben) 4; Aarthie Ramaswamy (TN) 6 lost to Swati Ghate (LIC) 4.5; M.R. Sangeetha (TN) 2 lost to S. Vijayalakshmi (IA) 10; Nisha Mohota (LIC) 7.5 drew with Kruttika Nadig (Mah) 6.
Tenth round: Tania drew with Nisha; Kruttika bt Sangeetha; Vijayalakshmi bt Aarthie; Swati lost to Harika; Saheli lost to Anupama; Humpy bt Bhagyashree; Meenakshi bt Saimeera; Chandra Hawsa lost to Eesha; Rajalakshmi drew with Prathiba.
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