Meenakshi held to a draw but maintains lead

Chennai: Woman Grandmaster Meenakshi Subbaraman was held to a draw but maintained her lead at the end of the seventh round of the 36th National Women Premier Chess Championship here today.

Meenakshi has six points while top seed D Harika with 5.5 points is at the second place.

Meenakshi could not get any advantage despite playing the white pieces against WIM Kiran Monisha Mohanty of Orissa. Meenakshi opted for the Trompovsky opening and Kiran played solidly to equalize the game. A level Rook ending was reached in 27 moves. Kiran handled the rook ending very well to hold Meenakshi to a draw in 46 moves.

IM Harika offered a Kings Indian setup with the Black pieces against the Queen pawn opening of WGM Esha Karvade.

With Esha showing her aggressive intentions by opting to castle Queenside and push her kingside pawns forward, Harika cleverly delayed castling and opted for Queenside castling, which was rare for such setups.Soon,the Bishops were exchanged and Harika planted her knight on a central square defending all the key squares both on the kingside as well as on the queenside, while Esha had doubled her Rooks on the “f” file.

In a promising middlegame position, both the players suddenly agreed to a draw in 25 moves.

Current national champion,WGM Kruttika Nadig, playing white, opted for English Opening.Former champion IM Tania Sachdev opted for the open system, akin to a classical Dragon position with reversed colours.Soon,Tania broke open the Kingside and gained tangible advantage.