National Chess C’ship: Ratnakaran creates upset

Defending champion S. P. Sethuraman suffered his second successive defeat, this time at the hands of K. Ratnakaran in the sixth round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier chess championship.

K. Ratnakaran surprised S. P. Sethuraman with a few mid-game moves.   -  The Hindu

IM K. Ratnakaran upset defending champion GM S. P. Sethuraman in the sixth round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier chess championship, organised by the Tiruvarur DCA, at the Kasi’s Inn here on Friday. It was Sethuraman’s second successive defeat.

Every time Ratnakaran played with the black pieces (thrice so far) his opponents opted for the English opening. And, his game against Sethuraman was no exception. Ratnakaran, who had lost the earlier two outings with the black pieces, this time around, reversed the trend by clinching a win.

When Sethuraman captured Ratnakaran’s pawn on the 22nd move, he expected the latter to exchange the pieces. The two extra pawns played on his mind. But, Ratnakaran had other ideas. He ripped open the king side and brought the active rook to the centre. Sethuraman blundered at this juncture. He exchanged the minor pieces with a hope to minimise the hovering of his opponent’s pieces around his king. And, Ratnakaran further drove the last nail with a rook sacrifice pushing Sethuraman into a situation of being checkmated or losing the queen.

In another contest, GM Vidit Gujrathi, adopting the Grunfeld Defence, decided to play it safe and agreed for a draw with GM-elect Swapnil S. Dhopade after 25 moves. Vidit continues to lead with 4.5 points.

The Bishop opening game between IM Arghyadip Das and IM P. Shyaamnikhil also ended in a draw after 25 moves. Arghyadip and IM P. Karthikeyan, who defeated FM K. Praneeth Surya, are in the joint second spot with four points each.

Saturday is a rest day.

The results (sixth round):

M.R. Venkatesh (PSPB) 2 bt Abhijit Kunte (PSPB) 1.5; Swapnil S. Dhopade (Rlys) 3.5 drew with Vidit Gujrathi (PSPB) 4.5; Arghyadip Das (Rlys) 4 drew with P. Shyaamnikhil (TN) 2.5; S.P. Sethuraman (PSPB) 3 lost to K. Ratnakaran (Rlys) 2.5; P. Karthikeyan (Rlys) 4 bt K. Praneeth Surya (Tel) 3; Karthikeyan Murali (TN) 3.5 drew with M. Shyam Sundar (AAI) 3.5; Neelotpal Das (PSPB) 3 drew with Deep Sengupta (PSPB) 1.5.