Laxman downs Narayanan; Ravi stays ahead

Unlike some of the previous rounds, the top-10 boards produced eight decisive battles. GMs such as Laxman, Vishnu Prasanna, Abhijit Kunte, Tejas Bakre and Sriram Jha were among those who proved their superiority on the day.

S. Ravi Teja kept his place atop the points tally with a short draw

R. R. Laxman produced a brilliant finish to stun second seed and fellow Grandmaster S. L. Narayanan after S. Ravi Teja kept his place atop the points tally with a short draw in the 11th round of the Amity National Challengers chess championship here on Sunday.

The 23-move draw with an unbeaten Utkal Ranjan Sahoo took Ravi’s tally to nine points. Laxman’s 46-move victory raised his aggregate to 8.5 points and kept him in the title-hunt. Two more rounds remain in the qualifying race to nine spots for the National championship. Eight players share the third spot at eight points.

Unlike some of the previous rounds, the top-10 boards produced eight decisive battles. GMs such as Laxman, Vishnu Prasanna, Abhijit Kunte, Tejas Bakre and Sriram Jha were among those who proved their superiority on the day. Playing black, Laxman chose not to castle against Narayanan, whose pieces appeared in better harmony after the opening phase. But as the

game progressed, Laxman’s experience came handy against the youngster.

A kingside initiative proved decisive and once Laxman’s advanced central pawn moved to the sixth rank, Naryanan knew he could not escape defeat on this day. Somak Palit did well to hold a resurgent top seed Aravindh Chithambaram in 29 moves but some of the other underdogs were not so efficient. Vishnu needed 65 moves to end the resistance of Mehar Chinna Reddy in rook-and-pawn endgame. Kunte’s extra knight against V. A. V. Rajesh proved a clincher while Tejas broke veteran Neeraj Kumar Mishra’s defence by claiming a rook for bishop on the 40th move to ensure a much-needed victory.

Leading results:

11th round: S. Ravi Teja (9) drew with Utkal Ranjan Sahoo (7.5); S. L. Narayanan (7.5) lost to R. R. Laxman (8.5); Somak Palit (7.5) drew with Aravindh Chithambaram (7.5); Mehar Chinna Reddy (7) lost to Vishnu Prasanna (8); Abhijit Kunte (8) bt V. A. V. Rajesh (7); Neeraj Kumar Mishra (7) lost to Tejas Bakre (8); Himal Gusain (7) lost to Chandra Prasad (8); Mary Ann Gomes (7) lost to Sriram Jha (8).

Surya Praneeth (8) bt B. Harsha (7); Sidhant Mohapatra (7) lost to G. Akash (8); Vikramaditya Kulkarni (7.5) drew with Abhishek Kelkar (7.5); Shardul Gagare (7.5) bt Vinayak Kulkarni (6.5); S. Nitin (7.5) bt Arjun Tiwari (6.5); Ramnath Bhuvanesh (7.5) bt Pradip Ghosh (6.5); Hemal Thanki (7.5) bt Anup Deshmukh (6.5); Dinesh Sharma (6) lost to Santu Mondal (7.5).