Chennai: International Masters Tania Sachdev of Delhi and Nisha Mohota of PSPB, along with Women Grandmaster Mary Ann Gomes (AAI) shared the lead with 3.5 points at the end of the fourth round of the 38th National Women Premier Chess Championship on Tuesday.
In second place with three points are two players – WGM Padmini Rout (Orissa) and S Harini of Tamil Nadu.
The top board saw Tania employ the Nimzo Indian Defence against Candidate Master Bhakti Kulkarni of Goa.
Tania accepted an isolated pawn to gain good piece play. In a bid to gain some space on the kingside, Bhakti unwisely moved her pawns on the kingside, enabling the Delhi girl to get some vital entry points.
With both players willing to take that extra risk to gain a valuable point, Tania`s foray with her major pieces proved to be Bhakti`s undoing in 38 moves.
In the second table, Mary Ann Gomes employed an irregular set up with white pieces to confuse Pratyusha Bodda of Andhra Pradesh.
Pratyusha seemed to have equalised comfortably until a hasty pawn move on kingside forced Mary to show her hand on the queenside with a timely pawn break on the 19th move.
The balance shifted in Mary`s favour and she won two pawns and had a flowing kingside attack. A hapless Pratyusha Bodda threw in the towel in 35 moves.
Nisha Mohota had a relatively easy day as Meenakshi Subbaraman (IA) misplayed the opening to lose a pawn in seven moves.
Nisha played some easy moves to consolidate on the advantage and soon won another pawn on the 17th move. She converted the advantage into a full point in 44 moves.
Tamil Nadu`s S Harini scored an upset victory over higher rated IM Esha Karvade of Maharashtra, employing the Four Knights opening with white.
Some unorthodox handling of the position by Esha saw Harini gain a big advantage on the kingside. She then forcibly converted the advantage into a big attack against the Black king to win an exchange on the 25th move and the game in just 29 moves.
With this win Harini has moved into joint second spot with three points. WGM Padmini Rout of Orissa outplayed Pon N Krithika in an Alekhine game in 38 moves.