National Chess Championship: Aravindh Chithambaram in lead; Karthikeyan nails Lalith

Going into Friday’s rest day, Aravindh emerged as the late winner and raised his tally to 4.5 points following a second straight victory. Top seed M. Karthikeyan joined S. L. Narayanan in the joint second spot by stopping M. R. Lalith Babu in just 31 moves.

Aravindh Chithambaram chess

Aravindh emerged as the late winner and raised his tally to 4.5 points following a second straight victory. (file image)   -  Rajeev Bhatt

 

Playing true to form and expectations, second seed Aravindh Chithambaram won the ‘battle of teenagers’ against Sammed Shete and led the field following a sedate sixth round of the Khadi India
National chess championship here on Thursday.

Going into Friday’s rest day, Aravindh emerged as the late winner and raised his tally to 4.5 points following a second straight victory. Top seed M. Karthikeyan joined S. L. Narayanan in the joint second
spot by stopping M. R. Lalith Babu in just 31 moves.

Three of the five drawn games ended within two hours, before Lalith became the day’s casualty. Aravindh battled long and hard against an upbeat Sammed, fresh from beating Abhijit Kunte, the oldest player in the fray.

In the Reti Opening, 17-year-old Aravindh was better off but could not find a precise plan to assert his superiority until Sammed erred with a pawn-move on the 34th turn. Aravindh realised Sammed had missed a better continuation with a bishop retreat, and piled up the pressure straightaway. By the 43rd move, the players were left with a rook and five pawns each but Aravindh was ready to make things happen.

In fact, Aravindh used the ‘doubled’ pawns on a central file to his advantage and came out stronger in 61 moves.

Much earlier, Karthikeyan took a shorter way to get past Lalith. Even before Karthikeyan castled on the queen’s side, he advanced his extreme kingside pawn to signal an early offensive. Once a set of
rooks were exchanged, Karthikeyan planted his rook deep into the rival territory, sacrificed a knight on the 18th move and then got his queen into play.

Lalith’s king ran for safety and shelter but in vain. Lalith escaped further torture by resigning.

The action resumes on Saturday after a day’s rest.

The results:

Sixth-round: M. Karthikeyan (4) bt M. R. Lalith Babu (3.5) in 31 moves; Aravindh Chithambaram (4.5) bt Sammed Shete (2.5) in 61 moves; R. R. Laxman (3.5) drew with S. L. Narayanan (4) in 26 moves;
Arghyadip Das (3) drew with S. Nitin (3) in 25 moves; Debashis Das (2.5) drew with Shyaam Nikhil (2.5) in 43 moves; Abhijit Kunte (2.5) drew with Deepan Chakkravarthy (2) in 26 moves; Swapnil Dhopade (2.5) drew with Himanshu Sharma (2) in 69 moves.