Divya Deshmukh who replaced Vaishali R at the eleventh hour at the Tata Steel Chess India 2023 made the most of her opportunity. A dream event for the young girl from Nagpur as she wins one of the strongest events hosted in the country. She displayed immense calm and composure for last 3 days. Divya ended with 7 points, closely followed by Ju Wenjun with 6.5 points.
Sole leader, IM Divya Deshmukh drew her game against GM Anna Ushenina after 4 consecutive victories on the trot. GM Ju Wenjun narrowed in for the top spot with a win over GM Nino Batsiashvili. GM Koneru Humpy came back to winning ways after a second consecutive victory over WGM Savitha Shri B. IM Vantika Agrawal failed to convert winning chances in her game against IM PolinaShuvalova, having to settle for a draw. GM HarikaDronavalli split the point against GM Irina Krush after the players repeated moves in an equal position out of the middle game.
An unexpected turn of events saw some changes in the leaderboard. Round 8 was dramatic with all games producing decisive results.
GM JuWenjun upped the ante at the business end of the tournament with consecutive victories, this time against WGM Savitha Shri. The top seed of the event won a pawn early in the game and kept her advantage throughout. Overnight leader, IM DivyaDeshmukh, suffered a loss at the hands of IM Polina Shuvalova. GM Koneru Humpy brought up her third consecutive victory with a thrilling king-hunt against GM Anna Ushenina. GM Nino Batsiashbili brought up her second victory of the tournament with a win over GM Irina Krush. GM HarikaDronavalli, after 6 consecutive draws, notched up her first win of the event against IM Vantika Agrawal.
IM Divya Deshmukh displayed incredible quality shrugging away the previous round defeat to score one of the biggest victories of her career against Indian No. 1 Koneru Humpy. The Asian Champion hardly set a foot wrong in her beautifully crafted. The highlight was the incredible combination in the endgame where Deshmukh sacrificed her rook to create a passed pawn that eventually decided the game.
The icing on the cake for Deshmukh was the result in GM Ju Wenjun’s game against GM Anna Ushenina which ended in a draw. This meant that Deshmukh clinched the rapid section of the women’s championship half a point ahead of the World Champion.
IM Vantika Agrawal scored a victory over GM Nino Batsiashvili. WGM Savitha Shri also ended the tournament on a high with a victory over GM Irina Krush with the black pieces. GM Harika Dronavalli split the point with IM Polina Shuvalova.