The growing depth of Indian chess made its presence felt as some Grandmasters, with ratings ranging from fifth seed N. R. Visakh’s 2544 to 45th-ranked Sriram Jha’s 2337, facing varying degrees of difficulty before being held in the second round of the National chess championship here.
Though top seed S. P. Sethuraman headed a pack of 32 players who posted their second successive victory, not all pre-match favourites stayed undefeated. International Master Arghyadip Das, rated 2438 and seeded 21, crashed to a shock loss with white pieces to J. Akshit Kumar, rated a modest 2158, to be the day’s biggest casualty.
With several underdogs playing way above their suggested rating strength to come out undefeated, some better known names could not join the leaders.
Bharat Reddy, rated 2243, held Visakh, Mohamed Anees proved equal to sixth seed M. Shyam Sundar, as did S. Dhananjay against another GM Swapnil Dhopade. Similarly, Sandipan Chanda and fellow-GM M. R. Venkatesh split the points against lowly-rated Shreyansh Daklia (2165) and Kartavya Anadkat (2147). Y. Grahesh forced GM R. R. Laxman to a draw.
Two other GMs, Deepan Chakkravarthy and Sriram Jha continued to search for their first victory.
Second round: V. Varun (1) lost to S. P. Sethuraman (2); P. Saravana Krishnan (1) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (2); Leon Mendonca (2) bt Praloy Sahoo (1); Bharat Reddy (1.5) drew with N. R. Visakh (1.5); M. Shyam Sundar (1.5) drew with Mohammed Anees (1.5); S. Dhananjay (1.5) drew with Swapnil Dhopade (1.5); Shreyansh Daklia (1.5) drew with Sandipan Chanda (1.5); Kartavya Anadkat (1.5) drew with M. R. Venkatesh (1.5); Arghyadip Das (1) lost to J. Akshit Kumar (2); Kaivalya Nagare (1.5) drew with L. R. Srihari (1.5); Anuj Shrivatri (1.5) drew with Gaurang Bagwe (1.5); R. R. Laxman (1.5) drew with Y. Grahesh (1.5); Tapan Badamundi (1) drew with Sriram Jha (1).