Divya achieves WGM norm, snatches top spot

Chennai: Indian lass Divya Deshmukh posted two wins Saturday to snatch sole lead with seven points after the ninth round in the Velammal-AICF Women International Grand Master round-robin chess tournament here.

The Nagpur girl also achieved her maiden International Master norm and WGM norm in one go, while Chennai’s P Michelle Catherina (6.5) secured a nine-game WGM norm. Michelle Catherina and Osmak Iuilja (Ukraine) share the second spot at 6.5 points.

Divya Deshmukh posted wins over WGM Olga Babiy of Ukraine and Mongolia’s Uuriintuya Uurtsaikh, while Michelle Catherina achieved her WGM norm with a draw against compatriot Aakanksha Hagawane. Divya, who needed a draw to achieve her norm, beat Olga Babiy in a hard fought game that lasted four hours and twenty minutes after 92 moves.

Results: Round 9 (Indians unless specified): Chandreyee Hajra (2) lost to Osmak Iulija (Ukr) 6.5, Michelle Catherina (6.5) drew with Aakanksha Hagawane (5), Divya Deshmukh (7) bt Olga Babiy (Ukr) 5, Saloni Sapale (4) drew with Uuriintuya Uurtsaikh (Mongolia) 3.5, Munguntuul Batkhuyag (Mongolia) 6 drew with Nakhbayeva Guliskhan (Kaz) 4, V Varshini (2.5) drew with Franco Valencia Angela (Col) 2

NT Bureau