PUNE: Aakanksha Hagawane clinched a gold medal to complete a hat trick in the Commonwealth Countries Chess Championship which was held at The Leela Ambience Convention hotel New Delhi recently.
Aakanksha had earlier won the gold medal in the Commonwealth Championships in 2015, Under-16 Girl’s in Delhi and in 2016 she won it in the Under-16 Girl’s event which was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Aakanksha scored 6 points out of 7 rounds - 5 wins and two draws to emerge as the clear cut winner.
Aakanksha is the current world champion in the Under-16 Girl’s category (the tournament was held in Russia in October) and Asian Champion in the Under-18 Girl’s category (the tournament was held in Tashkant in April). She had become the International Woman Master by winning the World Championship.
The Commonwealth Championship is one of the most prestigious tournament for an individual as well as the country as only selected players - the national champions only are invited to participate. Aakanksha, being the national champion in the Under-17 category was India’s main hope and she fulfilled her responsibility perfectly by giving our country the coveted gold.
In earlier Commonwealth Championships also, Aakanksha was the National Champion in the Under-16 category. It was the 11th international medal for the city player, again a feat which nobody has yet achieved which includes eight golds, a silver and two bronze medals.
As expressed by Aakanksha, her last round victory was her best game from this tournament against the Sri Lankan National champion Gunawardana MT M. Aakanksha, playing with Black pieces was faced with ‘Maxlange’ variation and she just devastated white’s defence splendidly by sacrificing her Knight as well as Rook. Gunawarddana resigned after 32nd move when she was forced a check mate.