Defending champion Bhakti Kulkarni of Air India assured herself of the title with a round to spare, after posting a win over Tamil Nadu’s K Priyanka in the 10th and penultimate round of the 46th National Women Chess Championship here on Friday.

Playing consistently throughout the tournament, the Goan Woman Grandmaster again showed her tactical acumen to garner a full point against her rival in 69 moves arrived out of Ruy Lopez Opening.

The win enabled Bhakti to take her points tally to an unassailable nine and half points out of possible ten, which is lead of one and half points from her nearest contender Vantika Agrawal of Delhi before the final round Saturday.