Woman Grandmaster Mary Ann Gomes of AAI inched closer to her maiden National Premier Chess Championship title as she drew with International Master Eesha Karavade of Maharashtra in the tenth and penultimate round of the 38th edition of the event in Chennai on Tuesday.
Gomes continues to lead the table with 7.5 points, and with superior tie-breaks ahead of her immediate followers she needs just a draw in the final round on Wednesday against Kiran Manisha Mohanty to clinch the coveted title.
The second place is shared by IM Eesha Karavade of Maharashtra and WGM Padmini Rout of Orissa at seven points apiece.
Earlier in the day, Gomes got her final IM Norm, with some dynamic play against Eesha Karavade. Gomes made Eesha face the Benoni opening and started rolling her pawns early in the game. By the turn of an hour, Gomes had achieved more than equality.
Her deep middle game calculation was on display when she sacrificed a rook for bishop on the 23rd move, to cull out the advantage. Just when the game was poised for a big push, Gomes surprised Eesha with a draw offer, which the Pune player accepted.
Gomes has two IM Norms to her credit, the first one coming from the Paris Open 2009 at France and the second from the Czech Open 2010 at Pardubice, Czech Republic.
She now needs to fulfill the rating requirement of ELO 2400, after which she would be awarded the title of International Master.
Results (Round 10): Eesha Karavade (Mah) 7 drew with Mary Ann Gomes (AAI) 7.5, Padmini Rout (Ori) 7 drew with Kiran Manisha Mohanty (Ori) 6, Chandika Divyasree (AP) 6 drew with Tania Sachdev (AI) 6.5, Sai Meera (IB) 6 drew with Nisha Mohota (PSPB) 6, Sowmya Swaminathan (PSPB) 5.5 drew with P Michelle Catherina (TN) 5.5, Bhakti Kulkarni (Goa) 5.5 drew with Meenakshi Subbaraman (AI) 5.5, R Bharathi (TN) 5.5 drew with Pratyusha Bodda (AP) 5.5, Pon N Krithika (AICF) 5 drew with Swathi Ghate (LIC) 5, A G Nimmy (Ker) 5.5 bt Aarthie Ramaswamy (AI) 4.5, P Bala Kannamma (TN) 4.5 drew with J Saranya (TN) 4.5, Cholleti Sahajasri (AP) 4.5 drew with A Akshaya (TN) 4.5, S Harini (TN) 5 bt M Mahalakshmi (TN) 4, Supriya Joshi (Mah) 2 lost to Swathi Mohota (WB) 4.5, Shweta Gole (Mah) 4 drew with Madhurima Shekhar (Del) 2.5, P V Nandhidhaa (TN) 3.
Top final round pairings: Mary Ann v Kiran, Eesha v Padmini, Tania v Sai Meera, Nisha v Divyasree, Sowmya v Nimmy, Meenakshi v Bharathi.