Soumya Swaminathan wins World Junior Chess Championship
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Puerto Madryn, Argentina: Pune based Indian girl Soumya Swaminathan achieved what only five other Indians have achieved in world chess - she has won the World Junior girls chess championship at Puerto Madryn in Argentina on November 3, 2009.
“This is a big achievement. With this title, she will directly qualify for the Junior World Cup in Russia later this month. Almost every junior champion has performed well in the World Chess Championship. That is why this title is more prestigious,” said GM Abhijeet Kunte.
“Soumya has been training with Kunte’s Academy for the past three years. She has sacrificed a lot for chess. She is a hard-worker, a talented player and has a bright future,” he added.
In the thirteenth and final round, Soumya defeated Kubra Ozturk of Turkey for a place in world history. She became the third Indian girl after Koneru Humpy (2002) and Dronavalli Harika (2008) to win the World Junior Girls championship. The World Junior title had been won by V Anand (1987), P Harikrishna (2004) and Abhijeet Gupta (2008) also. India has retained the girl’s title.
Soumya was tied for the first place with two others but had the better tie-break score to end a deserving winner. All of them scored 9.5 points from 13 games. In the final round, Soumya started on 8.5 points and Cori Tello (Per) was also on 8.5. But Betul Yildiz of Turkey was better placed on nine points. While leader Yildiz only drew against Orissa's Kiran Mohanty, Soumya and Cori Tello won their games to be tied for the first place on 9.5 points. When the official results were declared, Soumya had the higher tie-break score of 27314, higher than Cori Tello's 27250 and Yildiz's 27052.
Soumya was in command in the event but a penultimate round defeat pushed her down from which she rose to win the tournament. Soumya was born in Palakkad in 1989 and her family shifted to Pune. Chess administrator in Pune Joseph D'Souza said, "In her trip to Europe last year, she made five norms in one and a half months." Soumya is hard working and is a commerce student from the BMCC College .She is under the scholarship of a Petroleum company, he informed.
Soumya has won several national titles including the national U-17 in 2004, and the national junior titles in 2005 and 2008. Her rating is 2297 and she played at 2433 Elo and would be gaining about ten Elo points from this event. Soumya won eight games; lost two to the two players she tied on points and drew three games for the title. The highest rated player she defeated was second seed Xiaowen Zhang of China. She did not face the top seed Mary Ann Gomes of Kolkata.
Following are the medal winners and Indians in tie-break order in both the boys and girls categories:
Boys: 1-2 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra), Sergei Zhigalko (Blr) 10.5/13; 3 GM Michal Olszewski (Pol) 9; 20 IM M.R. Lalith Babu (Ind) 7.5; 22 IM P. Karthikeyan (Ind) 7.5; 24 IM Ashwin Jayaram (Ind) 7.5; 40 IM B. Adhiban (Ind) 6.5; 41 IM M. Shyam Sundar (Ind) 6.5; 44 FM Vishnu Prasanna (Ind) 6.5 ... 82 players.
Girls: 1-3. WGM Soumya Swaminathan (Ind), WIM Deysi Cori Tello (Per), Betul Yildiz (Tur) 9.5/13 each; 8 WIM Padmini Rout (Ind) 8; 10 WIM Kiran Manisha Mohanty (Ind) 8; 19 WGM Mary Ann Gomes (Ind) 7; 34 S. Harini (Ind) 5.5 ... 45 players.