Woman International Master Sapale Saloni gave herself a good start scoring over fellow WIM Chandreyee Hajra in the first round of the Velammal – AICF International Women Grandmaster Round Robin Chess tournament 2019 at Hotel Abu Sarovar Portico, Chennai here today. A winning start should place the Pune girl well on track for her WGM Norm. Snatching the head start after the first round win are Osmak Iulija, Babiy Olga (both Ukraine), Sapale Saloni (India), Franco Valencia Angela (Columbia) at 1.0 point each.
Colombian Franco Valencia Angela scored the first upset of the day, bringing the Mongolian higher seed Uuriintuya Uurtsaikh down in a Guicco Piano game that lasted 31 moves. In a game that saw both missing their chances, Angela got the Mongolian on mat, when she trapped her queen.
Aakanksha Hagawane pulled a fast one on top seed Mungntuul Batkhuyag as she caught the Mongolian unawares with a knight sacrifice on the 33rd move. She followed it a perpetual check taking a draw, when she appeared to have the upper hand. Higher rating of the Mongolian might have influenced her to settle for a draw.
In another all-Indian game, WIM Michelle Catherina missed her chances against Divya Deshmukh and managed to snatch a draw in the nick of time. Their 69 move battle ended after four hours, where the Chennai girl failed to land the final blow. Double WGM Norm holder Varshini V went down to Babiy Olga of Ukraine.
Round 1 Results (Indians unless specified) : Nakhbayeva Guliskhan (Kaz) lost to Osmak Iulija (Ukr) 1.0, Uuriintuya Uurtsaikh (Mon) lost to Franco Valencia Angela (Col) 1.0, Babiy Olga (Ukr) 1.0 bt Varshini V, Aakanksha Hagawane (0.5) drew with Munguntuul Batkhuyag (Mon) 0.5, Chandreyee Hajra lost to Sapale Saloni (1), Michelle Catherina P (0.5) drew with Divya Deshmukh (0.5)