Hattrick for Mary Ann, Tania second in National women`s chess
Kolkata: Local favourite Mary Ann Gomes pipped Tania Sachdev and Soumya Swaminathan with a better tie-breaking score to clinch a hat-trick of titles in the 40th Women`s National Premier Championship here on Thursday.
It was a heartbreak for overnight leader Soumya as the Pune girl lost to Padmini Rout in the final round to slip to third, while top seed Tania Sachdev who had suffered early losses finished second with six points from last seven rounds.
Mary Ann, who was on second spot, settled for a hard-fought draw against Ivana Maria Furtado and the result was enough to earn a third national title in a row.
Mary Ann, Tania and Soumya were locked on 7.5 points but the local girl had a better tie-breaking score (40.5) to pocket a prize purse of INR 1.75 lakh.
Subaraman Vijayalaxmi had won the National women`s title five times in a row (1998-2002), while Rohini Khadilkar had won thrice in 1976, 1977 and 1979 -- there was no championship in 1978.
Playing 14-year-old Ivana of Goa, Mary Ann found herself in an inferior position in a King`s Indian attack.
But Ivana was equally nervous as she offered a draw despite being a piece ahead on the 25th move and Mary Ann promptly accepted.
Odisha`s Padmini cleared the deck for Mary Ann later by outplaying the overnight leader Soumya, who was in tears after her loss.
Padmini, who had blundered last evening against Michelle Catherina, showed remarkable cool in handling a queen and rook ending and later converting her superior position into a winning rook and pawn ending to finish fourth.
Delhi girl Tania showed her class to get the better of Bodda Pratyusha of Andhra Pradesh in just 29 moves.
The find of the championship was clearly the National junior girls champion, Ivana, who in her maiden National Premier gained 24 Elo points, while Bhakti Kulkarni lost 26 Elo points.