Meenakshi, Harika in race

After drawing their encounter in an earlier round, both have been easily winning their games against other rivals, though Meenakshi is ahead by half a point.

Meenakshi leads the table with seven points while Harika is close on her heels with 6.5 points. Candidate Master Bhakti Kulkarni of Goa has jumped into third spot with 5.5 points.
In the eighth round on Wednesday, Meenakshi opted for the Moller variation with Black pieces against the Spanish Opening of World Junior Girls Champion Soumya Swaminathan.

In an interesting middlegame, Soumya overestimated her chances and even won a pawn at the cost of weakening her Kingside.

Meenakshi exploited the weakness very well to launch a Kingside attack and win the game in 40 moves.

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