National Chess C’ship: Sethuraman shares lead

Defending champion GM S. P. Sethuraman, GM Vidit Gujrathi, IM P. Karthikeyan and IM Arghyadip Das shared the lead with three points each after the fourth round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier chess championship.

S. P. Sethuraman defeated M. Shyam Sundar in 57 moves.   -  The Hindu (File Photo)

Defending champion GM S. P. Sethuraman, GM Vidit Gujrathi, IM P. Karthikeyan and IM Arghyadip Das shared the lead with three points each after the fourth round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier chess championship, organised by the Tiruvarur DCA, at the Kasi’s Inn here on Wednesday.

In an absorbing contest arising from Catalan opening, both Sethuraman and GM M. Shyam Sundar played an attacking game. After exchanging the queens, Sethuraman managed to win a pawn on the 34th move resulting in a three-chain pawn as against Shyam’s isolated two. To make matters worse, Shyam, in a rook and knight ending, exchanged the rooks and the extra pawn helped Sethuraman secure a win in 57 moves.

The match between overnight joint-leader GM Vidit Gujrathi and GM M.R. Venkatesh, which resulted in a draw, had a delayed start as the former was unwell.

Interestingly, two games that had connected pawns on a- and b- files in the end game, produced victories. Arghyadip Das threatened to queen his a- pawn and FM K. Praneeth Surya transferred the attack to king side by sacrificing his knight. Unperturbed, Arghyadip accepted it, sacrificed his bishop and posted his rook on the seventh rank, leading to a winning combination. The game ended after 37 moves in Arghyadip’s favour.

In the other contest, GM-elect Swapnil S. Dhopade held the upper hand against IM K. Ratnakaran in an English opening that lasted 47 moves. Swapnil’s connected pawns on a- and b- files had a decisive advantage, in addition to a knight outpost. At this juncture, Ratnakaran lost his knight in a bid to stop the marching a- pawn of Swapnil and the end result in favour of the latter was evident.

However, pawns on a- and b- files could not produce a win for P. Karthikeyan in a Reti opening against GM Deep Sengupta. Though Karthikeyan had an extra pawn, Deep had a stout defence in the opposite colour bishop ending and repeated the position to get away with a draw.

The results: Fourth round:

M.R. Venkatesh (PSPB) 0.5 drew with Vidit Gujrathi (PSPB) 3; Abhijit Kunte (PSPB) 1.5 drew with P. Shyaamnikhil (TN) 2; Swapnil S. Dhopade (Rlys) 2 bt K. Ratnakaran (Rlys) 1; Arghyadip Das (Rlys) 3 bt K. Praneeth Surya (Tel) 2; S.P. Sethuraman (PSPB) 3 bt M. Shyam Sundar (AAI) 2; P. Karthikeyan (Rlys) 3 drew with Deep Sengupta (PSPB) 1; Karthikeyan Murali (TN) 2 bt Neelotpal Das (PSPB) 2.