Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sachdev wins 34th Women's National "A" Chess Championship

From The Hindu online, "Friday, November 16, 2007":

(Photo by Rakesh Rao)

PUNE: Tania Sachdev has once again proved her detractors wrong.

For the second time in the space of 11 months this English Literature graduate from Delhi claimed the prestigious women’s National ‘A’ chess title following a thrilling climax at the SIMS Complex Hall here on Thursday.

After a three-way tie for the title at eight points from 11 rounds, Tania nosed ahead due to her superior tie-break score of 66 points against runner-up Kiran Manisha Mohanty’s 64.50 and the third-placed Soumya Swaminathan’s 63.50.

The three girls will be making their Olympiad debut next year by joining K. Humpy in the Indian squad.

The top six finishers will play for the country in 2008. Swati Ghate (7.5 points), D. Harika (7) and Nisha Mohata (6.5) complete the six-member Indian team.

The final round began with four players — Tania, Harika, Kiran and Soumya — in the title-race.

In the fourth hour, Tania defeated Padmini Rout comfortably in 41 moves, but was not sure of having retained the title.

A surprise
At this stage, Harika was firmly on course for an easy victory against Soumya. However, much to the surprise of those who were watching the game, Harika faltered dramatically by inviting a checkmate from an extremely fortuitous Soumya.

Harika, armed with an extra minor piece, overlooked a checkmating combination and stared at defeat. Realising the mistake, she offered a draw which Soumya promptly turned down. A devastated Harika resigned and, with it, made room for Soumya in the Indian team.

After the completion of all the games, it was known that Harika, who was half-a-point behind Tania on tie-break score at the start of the final round, was two better.

Bad luck
That also meant Harika’s victory would have pushed Tania to the second spot. However, that was not to be.

But all the leading players felt for Harika, who quickly returned with a smile and congratulated all the leading finishers.

Even as Harika’s defeat cleared Tania’s passage to the title, Kiran won against P. Priya and ensured the runner-up spot ahead of Soumya.

Tania collected Rs. 75,000 and a trophy, Kiran got Rs. 50,000 and Soumya was richer by Rs. 20,000 from the richest-ever women’s National meet that offered Rs. 2.50 lakh.

For Kiran and Soumya, the performances were indeed very memorable since it also earned them 11-game WGM norms.

The results:
11th round: Soumya Swaminathan (8) bt D. Harika (7); Padmini Rout (6) lost to Tania Sachdev (8); P. Priya (6) lost to Kiran Manisha Mohanty (8); Swati Ghate (7.5) bt Eesha Karavade (6); Mary Ann Gomes (5.5) lost to Nisha Mohota (6.5); Aarthie Ramaswamy (6) drew with Sai Meera (6); Ch. Divyasri (5.5) lost to Pon N. Krithika (6); Amruta Mokal (5) lost to Nimmy George (6); Syed Nabeela Farheen (4) lost to Swati Mohota (5.5); Dhyani Dave (4) lost to S. Athirai (5.5); R. Preethi (5.5) bt C.H. Savetha (3); Rucha Pujari (4) lost to M.R. Sangeetha (5); S. Harini (4.5) drew with P. Uthra (4.5); Anuprita Patil (4.5) bye.

The final standings (top 15): 1-3. Tania, Kiran and Soumya; 4. Swati, 5. Harika, 6. Nisha; 7-13. Eesha, Sai, Aarthie, Priya, Nimmy, Krithika and Padmini; 14. Mary, 15. Divyasri.


Okay, I'm confused. Prior news coverage of this event said that only the top 3 finishers would be on the Olympic Team (joining Koneru Humpy). But this article say the top six finishers will be playing for the country in 2008. What does that mean?

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