National Chess C'ship: Aravindh survives tough test by Deepan, retains lead

Leader Aravindh Chithambaram (5 points) courted trouble “from the first move” against an otherwise struggling Deepan Chakkravarthy. Eventually, Aravindh managed to hold on to his half-point lead after a draw in 103 moves, spread over five and a half hours.

Deepan Chakkravarthy is all concentration while leader Aravindh Chithambaram (in the background) keeps an eye from a distance during their marathon 103-move draw in the seventh round of the Khadi India National chess championship in Patna on Saturday.   -  Rakesh Rao

Ironical as it may sound, the games involving three leading players ended in contrasting draws while the other four boards produced decisive results in the seventh round of the Khadi India National chess championship here on Saturday.

When the action commenced after a day’s rest, leader Aravindh Chithambaram (5 points) courted trouble “from the first move” against an otherwise struggling Deepan Chakkravarthy. Eventually, Aravindh managed to hold on to his half-point lead after a draw in 103 moves, spread over five and a half hours.

In sharp contrast, top seed and defending champion M. Karthikeyan took a quick 19-move draw following three-fold repetition of moves against S. Nitin. A little later, S. L. Naryanan joined Karthikeyan at 4. points after a 35-move deadlock with Abhijit Kunte.

Though there was no change in the standings of the front-runners, M. R. Lalith Babu matched the tally of Narayanan and Karthikeyan with a clinical destruction of R. R. Laxman in 57 moves. Other winners of the day were Swapnil Dhopade, Debashis Das and Arghyadip Das.

M.R. Lalith Babu had reasons to smile as he defeated R. R. Laxman and moved to the joint second spot after seven rounds of the Khadi India National Chess Championship in Patna on Saturday.   -  Rakesh Rao

 

The day’s most gruelling battle involved Deepan and Aravindh. Deepan, the reigning National Challengers’ champion who suffered a hat-trick of losses this week, kept up the pressure in this clash in Modern Defence. Under severe pressure, Aravindh traded his bishop for two queenside pawns on the 33rd move.

Though pressing for victory, Deepan could not help the elimination of all the pawns by the 56th move. At this stage, Deepan had a rook and a bright-squared bishop against Aravindh’s lone rook. Though staring at a theoretical draw, Deepan decided to test Aravindh’s knowledge of this endgame for the next 47 moves before draw was agreed.

“At that point, I realised even if Aravindh played inaccurately, the 50-move rule (without the capture of a pawn/piece) would force a draw,” said Deepan. Aravindh graciously admitted that he was trouble from the beginning and was “very happy” with the eventual outcome.

Lalith severely punished a flamboyant R. R. Laxman with some clever piece-play in Reti Opening. Timely exchange of queens and rooks soon left the players with a knight each and pawns after 37 moves. For the next 20 moves, Lalith’s king and knight proved far too effective for their counterparts.

Debashis Das was lucky to win against Himanshu Sharma who messed up a superior position under time-pressure. A series of poor moves between moves 39 and 45 from Himanshu saw Debashis post an unanticipated victory.

Arghyadip gained decisively when Shyaam Nikhil blundered on the 20th move and won two moves later. Swapnil Dhopade launched a massive offensive on the white king following a sequence of sub-optimal moves from Sammed Shete. Faced with a possibility of a checkmate, the youngster gave up after 28 moves.

The results:

Seventh-round: Deepan Chakkravarthy (2.5) drew with Aravindh Chithambaram (5) in 103 moves; S. Nitin (3.5) drew with M. Karthikeyan (4.5) 19 moves; S. L. Narayanan (4.5) drew with Abhijit Kunte (3) 35 moves; M. R. Lalith Babu (4.5) bt R. R. Laxman (3.5) in 57 moves; Sammed Shete (2.5) lost to Swapnil Dhopade (3.5) in 28 moves; P. Shyaam Nikhil (2.5) lost to Arghyadip Das (4) in 22 moves; Himanshu Sharma (2) lost to Debashis Das (2.5) in 45 moves.

Eighth-round pairings: Aravindh-Narayanan; Karthikeyan-Shyaam; Kunte-Lalith; Dhopade-Debashis; Arghyadip-Himanshu; Laxman-Nitin; Sammed-Deepan.