Divya topples top seed Vaishali, set to become senior national chess champion.

NAGPUR: Maharashtra’s youngest Women Grand Master (WGM) Divya Deshmukh is all set to become Vidarbha’s first senior national women chess champion.

In the MPL 47th National Women Chess Championship currently underway at Bhubaneswar, the 16-year-old Divya is on a dream run. Having toppled top seeded Vaishali R in the penultimate round, Divya posted her seventh successive victory to lead the strong field of 103-woman players by one full point.
With just a round remaining, Divya is now a draw away from bringing home her maiden gold medal at the senior level, and becoming Vidarbha’s first national champion. In 2019, Divya became the youngest to pocket a bronze medal in the senior nationals.
In the 47th edition, Divya is living a dream specially after being forced to split the point in her opening round contest by lower ranked Varshita Jain of Madhya Pradesh. Thereafter, she never looked back and the eighth-seed Divya went for the kill to take sole lead with a full point cushion by winning all the seven rounds. In the eight rounds, Divya is leading the pack with 7.5 points and moved  her position to within a draw of winning the championship.

In the eighth and penultimate round, Divya defended well with black pieces and foxed top seeded 2403 Elo Vaishali R in the opening phase while posting a comfortable victory in 37 moves.
In the final round, Divya will face the challenge of fifth seeded experienced Indian IM Soumya Swaminathan. A draw with Soumya will be enough for Divya to become senior national champion as she is followed by Priyanka Nutakki at 6.5 points.

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