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National women's `B' from today

By P. K. Ajith Kumar

KOZHIKODE, AUG. 20 . Ten berths. Nearly a hundred women. The National women's `B' championship, which opens at the Chess India Complex here on Saturday, sure is tough heats.

Indeed the primary objective of all these women would be to finish inside that top ten, which would take them to the `finals' — the National women's `A' championship — to be held later in the year.

For that event, from which the Indian team is picked for the various international competitions, all the seven Woman Grandmasters (WGMs) have been seeded directly in addition to the top four — excluding the WGMs — from the last National women's `A' tourney.

So with nearly all of India's top female players having already made it to the `A' tourney, this is not going to be the strongest National women's `B' ever. But the defending champion, Bhagyashree Thipsay, who at 43 is as enthusiastic about chess as players young enough to be her daughters, doesn't think it's going to be a cakewalk for her.

The tourney, to be played over nine Swiss rounds, was inaugurated by T.P. Krishna Kumar, Commissioner, Income Tax, at a function attended among others by FIDE vice president P.T. Ummer Koya and Kerala Chess Association president John Joseph.

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