National Chess Championship: Aravindh, Arghyadip post wins

Like on two previous days, the third round of the Khadi India National chess championship here also produced two winners – Aravindh and Arghyadip Das – leaving four players in the lead with two points.

Second seed Aravindh Chithambaram showed monk-like patience to carve out a 95-move victory over R. R. Laxman, in the third round of the Khadi India National chess championship in Patna on Monday.   -  Rakesh Rao

Though Aravindh Chithambaram is just 10 days away from turning 18, his display over the board on Monday once again proved that he possesses the patience of a monk and maturity of a veteran.

Like on two previous days, the third round of the Khadi India National chess championship here also produced two winners – Aravindh and Arghyadip Das – leaving four players in the lead with two points.

After the five drawn games, ‘rookie’ Sammed Shete was obviously pleased with the outcome he managed against top seed and defending champion M. Karthikeyan. But once it was pointed out that he had missed a definite winning line against the favourite, Sammed rued the decision to draw.

For over 90 moves, Aravindh looked better off against R. R. Laxman, who at one stage had more than an hour on the clock against his young rival. After all, being the National blitz champion, Laxman is well known for his panache for faster play in the shorter versions of the game.

In Ruy Lopez, where Laxman built the Berlin ‘wall’ and stayed away from danger for the better part of the battle, Aravindh eventually managed a march by the kingside pawn, backed by queen and knight. Laxman did well to stall the progress of his rival with queen and bishop. A point was reached where only Aravindh could have won the match but Laxman continued to keep the young aspirant at bay.

Suddenly, call it loss of patience or the fatigue factor creeping in, Laxman imploded. He made two poor moves in succession and resigned on the next to signal the end of the 95th move marathon – the longest of the championship, so far.

Arghyadip gained immensely from Deepan’s largesse in the form of a series of sub optimal moves before and after getting into serious time-trouble in their Petroff game.

Playing black, Arghyadip grew increasingly confident of his chances after Deepan sacrificed a central pawn. Again, on the 26th move, Deepan invited serious trouble with a pawn-push that soon resulted in Arghyadip trading his rooks and a pawn for Deepan’s queen.

Deep in time-trouble, Deepan faltered again on the 29th move as he held his bishop and then realised the futility of moving this minor piece. But a move had to be made and Deepan’s needless, defensive manoeuvre further helped Arghyadip. Even as Arghyadip was closing in on victory, Deepan helped him one last time by pushing a kingside pawn that expedited the end of this 35-move contest.

In a game that featured the highest and the lowest rated players in the 14-man field, expectations of an upset rose high after Karthikeyan chose not to capture Sammed’s bishop and slipped to a piece-down position. However, much to the dismay of those watching, the players agreed to a draw.

At this point of their Guico Piano game, Sammed had an extra bishop but he agreed to split point by visualising the possibility of Karthikeyan forcing a draw by perpetual checks. However, these 18-year-olds overlooked a continuation that could have straightaway led Sammed to victory.

When Sportstar pointed out the winning continuation, Sammed realised he had missed a big opportunity. “I thought I could not prevent the series of checks but now I see that there was pawn-move that could have ended the sequence of checks. Thereafter, it would have been an easy win,” said Sammed.

A humble Karthikeyan also checked out the suggested line and readily agreed. “Yes. We both missed it."

Thereafter, it was indeed very generous of Karthikeyan to willingly spend over an hour with the young local players explaining strategies and answering their questions.

The results:

Third round: Aravindh Chithambaram (2) bt R. R. Laxman (1); Deepan Chakkravarthy (1.5) lost to Arghyadip Das (2); M. R. Lalith Babu (2) drew with Himanshu Sharma (0.5); Sammed Shete (1.5) drew with M. Karthikeyan (1.5); S. L. Narayanan (2) drew with Debashis Das (1.5); Abhijit Kunte (1.5) drew with Swapnil Dhopade (1); S. Nitin (1.5) drew with P. Shyaam Nikhil (1.5).

Fourth-round pairings: Arghyadip-Narayanan; Debashis-Babu; Kunte-Aravindh; Karthikeyan-Deepan; Laxman-Shete; Dhopade-Shyaam; Himanshu-Nitin.