Kolkata: Soumya Swaminathan of PSCB continued her winning streak to lead the pack with five points after the sixth round of the RamRatna national women’s premier chess championship here on Wednesday.

Close on her heels, half a point behind, are Padmini Rout of Odisha and Swati Ghate of LIC with 4.5 points apiece.

Soumya, playing white, was hard put to break the defence of Bihar’s Neha Singh in a Ruy Lopez opening at the ICCR audotorium. Neha, who is at the bottom with one point from five rounds, surprisingly put up a stout resistance in a queen and rook ending.A But Neha faltered in the rook ending later and lost a pawn after which it was curtains for her.

Defending champion Padmini sailed through comfortably with black pieces against Priyanka Nutakki of Andhra Pradesh in a Grunfeld defence. Padmini won a pawn in the opening and had the advantage of two bishops as well. She utilised the favourable position to break through her opponent’s defence and forced Priyanka to resign.

Swati, playing her usual brand of attacking chess, sacrificed her rook for bishop to weave a mating net around Pratyusha Bodda’s king. Her young opponent from Andhra Pradesh was forced to give up her queen to stave off the mate. Swati played the resulting end game with queen against a rook and bishop with precision to net the full point.

Former national champion Tania Sachdev’s miserable form continued as she lost yet another game – this time to WGM Bhakti Kulkarni of Goa – with white in a Queen’s Gambit Tarrasch variation. Tania lost a pawn on the 41st move after which her position disintegrated and she ended up losing one more pawn in a knight versus bishop ending.

World U-14 girls champion R. Vaishali ofA Tamil Nadu showed her class to get the better of her state-mate K. PriyankaA with black in a Scotch opening.Vaishali won a pawn in a middle game and then played the ending perfectly where she had a knight against a bishop.

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