Deepan humbles Himanshu, closes in on Dhopade

Grandmasters Deepan Chakkravarthy and R. R. Laxman produced flamboyant victories to raise possibility of a thrilling finale of the National Challengers chess championship.

R. R. Laxman planning the downfall of fellow-Grandmaster M. R. Lalith Babu in the 12th round of National Challengers chess championship in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.   -  Rakesh Rao

Grandmasters Deepan Chakkravarthy and R. R. Laxman produced flamboyant victories to raise possibility of a thrilling finale of the National Challengers chess championship here.

In the action-filled 12th and penultimate round, Deepan crushed fellow Railwayman Himanshu Sharma to move within half-a-point of teammate Swapnil Dhopade, who drew early with Debashis Das.

In the final round, current leader Dhopade (10) plays white against Deepan (9.5) and needs a draw to regain the title. Deepan, riding a high of four successive victories, will be looking for another win to dash Dhopade’s plans.

In just 32 moves, an irrepressible Deepan destroyed Himanshu’s defences after choosing to trade a bishop for a rook. Himanshu, feeling the heat, blundered seriously with a queen-move on the 26 move that allowed Deepan to attack the black king relentlessly. In desperation, Himanshu gave up his queen for a knight and resigned a move later.

R. R. Laxman lived up to his reputation of being an unpredictable performer. Facing his strongest rival in the competition, Laxman produced his best to outwit M. R. Lalith Babu. What was more amazing was the fact that Laxman used up only 52 minutes of thinking-time to play 42 moves!

Laxman (9) will take on Debashis (9) on the second board ahead of six boards where the players have 8.5 points. At this stage, it appears that 13 players, on eight points, have a very slender chance of being among the nine qualifiers for the National championship.

Those who emerged victorious and kept alive their chances of qualifying with 8.5 points each were, Arghyadip Das, Abhijit Kunte, Sriram Jha, Mary Ann Gomes and Fenil Shah.

 

The results:

12th round: Swapnil Dhopade (10) drew with Debashis Das (9); Deepan Chakkravarthy (9.5) bt Himanshu Sharma (8.5); R. R. Laxman (9) bt M. R. Lalith Babu (8.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (8.5) drew with S. Nitin (8.5); S. Ravi Teja (8.5) drew with S. L. Narayanan (8.5); Arghyadip Das (8.5) bt Sammed Shete (8); Chakravarthi Reddy (7.5) lost to Abhijit Kunte (8.5); Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury (8.5) bt Swayams Mishra (7.5); P. Shyamnikhil (8) drew with Rajesh Nayak (8); S. Satyapragyan (8) drew with S. Dhananjay (8); Ankit Gajwa (7.5) lost to Sriram Jha (8.5); Mary Ann Gomes (8.5) bt S. Jayakumaar (7.5); Akash Iyer (8) drew with Padmini Rout (8); Fenil Shah (8.5) bt Baivab Mishra (7.5); N. Surendran (8) drew with K. Ratnakaran (7.5).

 

Top-8 pairings of final round: Dhopade-Deepan; Debashis-Laxman; Aravindh-Arghyadip; Narayanan-Mary; Babu-Saptarshi; Jha-Himanshu;

Kunte-Teja; Nitin-Fenil.