Tania Sachdev starts on winning note in National Women`s chess

Chennai: Former National champion and IM Tania Sachdev defeated seasoned campaigner Bhagyashree Thipsay in 32 moves to earn full points in the Velammal 38th National Women Premier Chess Championship on Saturday.

Spearheaded by defending champion and WGM Sowmya Swaminathan of Pune, the championship has attracted nine WGMs, one IM, three WIMs and five WFMs.

The event, to be played under an 11-round Swiss System, carries a prize fund of Rs 2,50,000 with the winner getting a handsome purse of Rs 75000.

In the first round matches played today, all the higher rated players had a smooth sailing, except for Orissa WGMs Padmini Rout and Kiran Monisha Mohanty, who were held to draws by Tamil Nadu youngsters J Saranya and A Akshaya respectively.

In the lone upset of the day, Andhra youngster Pratyusha Bodda outsmarted WGM and defending champion Swaminathan. At the end of the first round, as many as 13 players share the lead with one full point.

Sachdev, top seed in the event, faced veteran WGM Thipsay on the top table. She employed the Queens Gambit and opted for a sharp game by castling on the opposite wings.

With forceful play on the 13th move, she forced Thipsay on the backfoot and duly won a pawn. With Black struggling to get her counterplay going on the queenside, Sachdev cleverly blocked the play using her minor pieces and pawns and soon initiated a vicious attack on the Black king.

Sachdev won the game in fine style by sacrificing her Queen on the 32nd move, which forced instant resignation as it was leading to a checkmate.

Andhra player Pratyusha Bodda faced the Sicilian Scheveningen offered by Swaminathan. Pratyusha played the opening phase of the game in an extremely energetic fashion to force Swaminathan into making some concessions on her kingside.

Swaminathan was soon forced into the defensive early and she tried to exchange queens in a bid to slow down white`s initiative. But Bodda continued in an exemplary way and took her initiative into the ending to earn a hard-fought win in 60 moves to register the biggest upset of the championship.


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