National C'ship: Karthikeyan held to a draw

Defending champion M. Karthikeyan drew with Abhijit Kunte in 25 moves on the official rest day at the National Chess Championship in which two rescheduled fourth-round games were played.

M. Karthikeyan has six points in the tournament, half a point behind leader Aravindh Chithambaram.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

The official rest day of the National chess championship was used to complete some unfinished business as two rescheduled fourth-round games were played on Friday.

Action was at a premium as defending champion M. Karthikeyan drew with Abhijit Kunte in 25 moves, one less than what Abhishek Kelkar took to hold Tejas Bakre. Vidit Gujarathi collected a point by virtue of a walkover.

It may be recalled that, after the third round, Kunte, Kelkar, Bakre, Gujarathi and Neeraj Kumar Mishra withdrew from the event, protesting the poor playing conditions. Following the effort made by the All India Chess Federation (AICF) Mr. Venketrama Raja, the event was moved to a five-star hotel. Thereafter, of the five players, only Mishra declined to return to the championship.

With the clearing of the backlog of three games on Friday, Aravindh Chithambaram heads the table with 6.5 points after eight rounds. Five more rounds remain.

Ninth-round pairings: Aravindh Chithambaram (6.5)-S. Nitin (4); M. Karthikeyan (6)-B. Adhiban (5); Abhijit Kunte (4)-D. B. Chandra Prasad (4); R. R. Laxman (5)-Tejas Bakre (5); S. Ravi Teja (5)-Abhishek Kelkar (3); Vidit Gujarathi (5.5) and Sriram Jha (1.5) byes.