Harika in joint lead with Meenakshi

Updated: Dec 11, 2009, 18:03 PM IST

Chennai: Top seeded IM D Harika registered a fluent win to jump to the joint lead with WGM Meenakshi Subbaraman at the end of the 10th and penultimate round of the 36th National Women Premier Chess Championship.

Both have eight points.

Meenakshi`s winning streak was halted by Priya (TN) who held her to a long fought draw in 93 moves.

Harika had earlier defeated R Bharathi (TN) and Meenakshi had to win to maintain the lead.

Priya played the exchange variation in the Ruy Lopez and held some slight theoretical advantage. Meenakshi, unwilling to settle for a draw, activated her double bishops. In the process, she lost a pawn but held her fort.

Harika defeated Bharathi, a former national Sub-junior champion in 36 moves. From the white side of the closed Catalan game, Harika sacrificed a pawn on the 18th move to saddle Bharathi with a backward pawn.

Harika`s queen side pawn roll aided by her double bishop advantage was too much to handle forcing Bharathi to resign.

The game between IM Tania Sachdev (Air India) and WGM Kiran Monisha (Orissa) was fluctuating with both having advantage from time to time.

In a Grunfeld game, Tania exchanged the dark bishop to gain some chances, but her exposed king was a cause of worry allowing Kiran to pile up her major pieces. Mutual exchange of pieces petered out into a drawn rook and pawn ending in 41 moves.