Commonwealth Chess Ch'ship: Abhijeet records win; Aravindh, Thej emerge leaders

Top seed Abhijeet Gupta was the notable winner over Pravin Thispay, the country’s oldest Grandmaster, in their top-board encounter. National champion Aravindh Chithambaram, seeded three, and M. S. Thej Kumar, seeded 13, weaved checkmating nets to emerge as leaders.

Aravindh Chithambaram came up with an aggressive move to finish against S. Nitin. (FILE IMAGE)   -  RANJEET KUMAR

Fierce battles were the order of the day that left only three players with perfect scores following the third round of the Commonwealth chess championship here on Monday.

Top seed Abhijeet Gupta was the notable winner over Pravin Thispay, the country’s oldest Grandmaster, in their top-board encounter. National champion Aravindh Chithambaram, seeded three, and M. S. Thej
Kumar, seeded 13, weaved checkmating nets to emerge as leaders.

Among the overnight leaders, R. Vaishali holding Arjun Erigaisi, the young seventh seed, in a 67-move battle was the biggest surprise. But fourth seed M. R. Lalit Babu, trailing the leaders by half a point, was the highest seed to split the point after facing Bhakti Kulkarni.

Abhijeet 35-move triumph in Sicilian was a clinical one. In a encounter where the margin for error was very slim, Abhijeet captured one of white’s central-pawn on the 19th move to seize the edge. After simplification on the queen-side, Abhijeet appeared to be pressing for decisive advantage when Thipsay gave up.

On the second board, Aravindh came up with a beauty of a finish against S. Nitin. Playing aggressively after employing the Sicilian defence, Aravindh managed to post his knight on a strategic square in line with of the castled white king and delivered a classy checkmate with a rook-blow.

The results (third round)

Pravin Thipsay (2) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (3); S. Nitin (2) lost to Aravindh Chithambaram (3); R. Vaishali (2.5) drew with Arjun Erigaisi (2.5); Swapnil Dhopade (2.5) drew with K. Ratnakaran (2.5); Rahul Sangma (M. S. Thej Kumar (3); P. Karthikeyan (2.5) drew with L. R. Srihari (2.5); Ajay Karthikeyan (2.5) drew with R. R. Laxman (2.5) V. Varshini (2) lost to C. R. G. Krishna (2.5); M. R. Lalit Babu (2) drew with Bhakti Kulkarni (2).