Delhi Int'l Open: Karthikeyan thrills, leads with two others

M. Karthikeyan surprised his opponent R. K. Srihari at an opportune moment to sow the seeds for his victory that kept him in the lead alongside two others, at the Delhi International Open.

Alongside top seeded Tajikistan player Farrukh Amonatov and Vietnamese Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy, M. Karthikeyan leads with four points.   -  Rajeev Bhatt (File Photo)

M. Karthikeyan is probably the most understated two-time National champion the country has seen. This young practitioner of the cerebral sport remains consistent and humble in his ways as he silently goes about his job.

On Thursday, this 17-year-old produced a beauty – sacrificing his rook for a bishop and a pawn – at a stage when his rival R. K. Srihari did not look in any serious danger during the fourth round of the Delhi International Open chess tournament here.

The surprise sacrifice on the 20th move of this Sicilian game completely unsettled Srihari and the fifth seed Karthikeyan marshalled his rook and knight brilliantly around the two advanced central pawns to win in 35 moves.

The victory kept Karthikeyan in the lead, with top seeded Tajikistan player Farrukh Amonatov and Vietnamese Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy, at four points. Following the leaders is a pack of 19 players at 3.5 points.

A number of overseas Grandmasters had to settle for draws against lesser-rated Indians. Sayantan Das held Ukrainian eighth seed Vitaly Sivuk, P. Iniyan proved equal to 17th seed and Sivuk’s team-mate Valeriy Neverov, A. R. Harikrishnan drew with Belgium’s Vadim Malakhatko, seeded 10, and Vikramjit Singh split the point with Bangladesh’s Niaz Murshed.

The results (Indians unless stated):

Fourth round: Farrukh Amonatov (Tjk, 4) bt K. Ratnakaran (3); M. Karthikeyan (4) bt R. K. Srihari (3); Sayantan Das (3.5) drew with Vitaly Sivuk (Ukr, 3.5) Valeriy Neverov (Ukr, 3.5) drew with P. Iniyan (3.5); Rahul Sangma (3.5) drew with Sahaj Grover (3.5); N. R. Visakh (3.5) drew with Niranjan Navalgund (3.5); Akash Iyer (3) lost to Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy (4); V. A. V. Rajesh (2.5) lost to M. R. Lalith Babu (3.5); Sidhant Mohapatra (2.5) lost to S. L. Narayanan (3.5) A. R. Harikrishnan (3) drew with Vadim Malakhatko (Bel, 3); S. Prasanna (2.5) lost to Andrei Deviatkin (Rus, 3.5); Pawan Dodeja (2.5) lost to Attila Czebe (Hun, 3.5); Swayams Mishra (3.5) bt Sameer Kathmale (2.5); P. Shyamnikhil (3.5) bt Arjun Erigaisi (2.5); Vikramjit Singh (3) drew with Niaz Murshed (Ban, 3); M. R. Venkatesh (3) drew with Koustav Chatterjee (3); S. Nitin (3.5) bt Shashikant Kutwal (2.5); Prantik Roy (3) bt Ajay Krishna (3); Sankalp Gupta (2.5) lost to S. Ravi Teja (3.5) Akash Thakur (3.5) bt Srija Seshadri (2.5); S. Vigneshwaran (2.5) lost to Nouri Hamed (Phi, 3.5); Jeen Jain (2.5) lost to Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury (3.5); Rakesh Kumar Jena (3) drew with V. S. Raahul (3).