Pravin Thipsay’s master-class display to defeat second seed M. Karthikeyan proved to be the talking point on a day when Aravindh Chithambaram remained the only one with a perfect score at the end of the fourth round of the National chess championship here.
A steady drizzle, since early Monday morning, signalled the beginning of an intense spell of cold in the region and Thipsay and Aravindh turned on the heat with clinical displays.
Aravindh, the last year’s runner-up, stopped Commonwealth champion P. Karthikeyan before the other two overnight leaders, Deep Sengupta and Ritviz Parab, signed peace.
Previous round report: Pack of four leads national chess championships
Earlier, seven-time winner Thipsay breached two-time champion Karthikeyan's fortress to move into joint second spot with 12 others at 3.5 points. Unlike Aravindh’s expected victory, Thipsay made light of a rating difference of a whopping 191 points for his biggest victory in a long time.
At 59, the country’s oldest Grandmaster, Thipsay is not playing actively these days owing to his professional compulsions as a senior bank official. In contrast, the 19-year-old Karthikeyan - rated at 2591 to Thipsay’s 2400 - is among the finest young talents in the country.
Karthikeyan, born seven years after Thipsay won the last of his seven National titles, found himself at the receiving end of a valuable lesson from the veteran. Facing the Scheveningen variation of Sicilian Defence adopted by Karthikeyan, Thipsay came up with a brilliant sacrifice, giving up his rook for the black knight, on the 17th move. Momentarily stunned and sensing serious trouble, Karthikeyan returned the rook for a menacing knight just two moves later, but Thipsay was unrelenting. After further simplification of the position, the youngster gave up two pawns before accepting the inevitable in 33 moves.
Another old-timer and former National champion P. Konguvel upstaged GM Tejas Bakre for a share of the second spot. Similarly, K. Ratnakaran's experience came handy against the recently-crowned National junior champion Karthik Venkataraman, seeded nine, as the seasoned
hands continued to make their presence felt in the midst of the young brigade.
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