File photo of Arpita Mukherjee
KOLKATA: Kolkata girl Arpita Mukherjee became the only Indian to finish on the podium, claiming the bronze medal in the online edition of Asian Junior chess meet last week. Her city-mate International Master Mitrabha Guha finished ninth with five points in the open section.
The nine-round Swiss tournament with a 10+2 time control saw participation of over 200 players from 43 countries across Asia in different categories.
“We generally play our opponents across the board but this pandemic forced us to play from our own places. But overall I enjoyed the experience,” Women’s International Master (WIM) Arpita told TOI.
The 19-year-old, who qualified as the second best in Indian junior (U-19) national girls championship along with champion Srishti Pandey and third-place Aakanksha Hagawane, went into the meet with an open mind.
“Honestly I did not expect anything as I learnt about the tournament just 10 days before,” she said.
Arpita, who recorded six wins, two losses and one draw to finish with 6.5 points out of a possible 9; however, she was not satisfied with her show.
“It was an average performance. Actually I feel I missed out on a gold as I lost a crucial match against Turmunkh of Mongolia, who eventually claimed the silver,” she said.
Playing Turmunkh in round eight, the former Asian Youth Under-18 and Commonwealth Under-20 Girls gold medalist could not convert from a winning position.
“I was on six points from seven rounds then. First I missed out on a winning position and then it was a clear draw and I missed out on that too making some pre-moves,” Arpita lamented.
Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua, in whose academy Arpita trains, too felt likewise.
“She should have won the gold but such things do happen. Overall Arpita is very sharp but now she needs to bring that winning mentality,” Barua said.
Awaiting her Class XII board examination results, Arpita now looks to become Women’s Grandmaster (WGM).
“I missed out on some WGM norms last year, but now I have to wait for normalcy to return for onboard tournaments to happen,” she stated.
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