National Challengers: Kushagra stuns Laxman; top four GMs concede draws

Little known but amazingly well-prepared youngsters have left the leading seeds feeling seriously embarrassed in the National Challengers chess championship on Monday.

National under-13 runner-up is all smiles after upsetting Grandmaster R. R. Laxman in the third round of National Challengers chess championship in Ahmedabad.   -  Rakesh Rao

Gone are the days when the creamy layer of National Challengers chess championship could take their smooth rides for granted in the intial rounds. Little known but amazingly well-prepared
youngsters have often left the leading seeds feeling seriously embarrassed.

Monday was one such double-round day when the top four seeds, led by Aravindh Chithambaram, conceded a draw each and dropped out of the leaders’ pack.

Odisha’s Baibhav Mishra, who proved equal to Chitambaram, returned to hold International Master P. Shyam Nikhil.

The biggest upset of the day came when 13-year-old Hyderabad-lad Kushagra Mohan upstaged Grandmaster R. R. Laxman, who flamboyantly traded his queen for a rook and a minor piece. There was some respite for GMs like second seed S. L. Narayanan, fourth seed N. Srinath, eighth seed Debashis Das and 11th seed Tejas Bakre were among those held.

At the same time, these GMs could draw consolation from the fact that third seed M. R. Lalith Babu drew twice!

Important results:

Third round: S. L. Narayanan (2.5) drew with Ankit Gajwa (2.5);
Sankalp Gupta (2) lost to Swapnil Dhopade (3); Himanshu Sharma (3) bt
Arjun Tiwari (2); Suyong Wagh (2) lost to Abhijit Kunte (3); Debashis
Das (2.5) drew with Ram S. Krishnan (2.5); S. K. Rathore (2) lost to
M. S. Thej Kumar (3); Deepan Chakravarthy (3) bt R. Raja Rithwik (2);
S. Jayakumaar (2.5) drew with Tejas Bakre (2.5); Swayams Mishra (3) bt
Moksh Doshi (2); S. Nitin (3) bt Aaryan Varshney (2); Varugeese Koshy
(2) lost to Arghyadip Das (3); Kushagra Mohan (3) bt R. R. Laxman (2);
Vipul Subhashi (2) drew with M. R. Lalith Babu (2); Baibhav Mishra (2)
drew with P. Shyam Nikhil (2).

Second round: Chithambaram drew with Baivabh Mishra;  Jalpan Bhatt
lost to Narayanan; Lalith Babu drew with Neelash Saha; Manush Shah
drew with N. Srinath; P. Shyamnikhil drew with Santanu Borpatra
Gohain; Gajendra Singh drew with K. Rathnakaran; Priyanka Kumari drew
with Shashikant Kutwal.