National Chess C'ship: Aravindh catches up with Lalith; first victory for Kunte

Wednesday’s 11th round saw Deepan Chakkravarthy doing Aravindh a favour by holding Lalith, while Abhijit Kunte scored his first victory by inflicting a fifth straight loss on Himanshu Sharma.

Aravindh Chithambaram pulled off a timely victory over Shyaam Nikhil to catch up with M. R. Lalith Babu at 7.5 points.   -  Ranjeet Kumar

As anticipated, Aravindh Chithambaram pulled off a timely victory over Shyaam Nikhil and caught up with M. R. Lalith Babu at 7.5 points to set up a close finish in the Khadi India National chess championship here.

Wednesday’s 11th round saw Deepan Chakkravarthy doing Aravindh a favour by holding Lalith, while Abhijit Kunte scored his first victory by inflicting a fifth straight loss on Himanshu Sharma. Meanwhile, Debashis Das got the better of an unpredictable R. R. Laxman.

With two rounds to go, Aravindh appears better placed to overtake Lalith since the teenager plays an off-form Himanshu on Thursday. In contrast, Lalith faces a stronger rival in S. L. Narayanan.

Aravindh managed to trap Shyaam’s queen around the first time-control and did not have to wait for long as his rival gave up at the completion of the 40th move. Aravindh needed a victory to keep the pressure on Lalith who started the day half a point ahead of the field.

Lalith, who slipped into a slightly unpleasant position against Laxman in the first half of their game, felt better once his rival faltered on the 32nd move with defensive knight retreat. Lalith immediately grabbed a central pawn and dominated the rest of the game but could not find a winning line. Eventually, the players agreed to draw in an ending involving queen, knight and pawns.

Abhijit Kunte scored his first victory by inflicting a fifth straight loss on Himanshu Sharma.   -  Ranjeet Kumar

 

Kunte finally tasted victory by pushing Himanshu to his seventh loss of the competition. The game lacked quality-play as both players dished out a number of moves of sub-optimal strength. Kunte gained more as he exerted pressure on Himanshu who faltered decisively around the first time-control.

The encounter involving Narayanan and Swapnil Dhopade was interesting. At one stage, Narayanan sacrificed a rook in search of a possible checkmate. Unable to find victory, Narayanan forced a draw following perpetual checks.

Debashis carved out an encouraging victory over Laxman in a rook-and-pawn ending. Though not in the hunt for the title, Debashis has been playing solidly and now has a chance of a strong finish.

Sammed Shete ended his run of five successive defeats by holding birthday-boy S. Nitin.

The results:

11th round: M. R. Lalith Babu (7.5) drew with Deepan Chakkravarthy (5.5) in 56 moves; P. Shyaam Nikhil (4.5) lost to Aravindh Chithambaram (7.5) in 40 moves; S. L. Narayanan (6.5) drew with Swapnil Dhopade (5) in 30 moves; Debashis Das (6) bt R. R. Laxman (5.5) in 61 moves; Arghyadip Das (6.5) drew with M. Karthikeyan (6.5) in 44 moves; S. Nitin (6) drew with Sammed Shete (3) in 41 moves; Himanshu Sharma (2) lost to Abhijit Kunte (5) in 38 moves.

12th round pairings: Aravindh-Himanshu; Narayanan-Lalith; Swapnil-Karthikeyan; Laxman-Arghyadip; Deepan-Nitin; Sammed-Shyaam; Kunte-Debashis.

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