National C'ship: Vidit, Adhiban assert dominance

After Tuesday’s tough going, the top two seeds Vidit Gujarathi and B. Adhiban were expected to come hard at their rivals at the National chess championship. And they did.

B. Adhiban defeated Ravi Teja in 55 moves.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

For once, the big guns fired in keeping with their reputation as the National chess championship moved into the second half without surprises here on Wednesday.

After Tuesday’s tough going, the top two seeds Vidit Gujarathi and B. Adhiban were expected to come hard at their rivals. And they did.

Vidit proved too strong for D. B. Chandra Prasad - the only untitled player in the fray - in 38 moves before Adhiban thwarted the designs of Ravi Teja following 55 moves, in the last two games to finish. Defending champion M. Karthikeyan needed just 30 moves to end the resistance of Sriram Jha, who crashed to his fifth defeat in a week.

R. R. Laxman scored his second successive victory after facing S. Nitin in a 41-move encounter. Abhijit Kunte and Abhishek Kelkar played out a draw in 25 moves that left the players with a bishop and five pawns each.

With six rounds to go, Aravindh Chithambaram leads with six points, including one for the bye he received on this day.

In control

Vidit was relentless after the opening lines of Ruy Lopez and always looked better off. All credit to Prasad for defending the way he did but Vidit slowly improved his position and won without being threatened at any point.

Adhiban, too, was in control against Teja, who launched a furious attack on the black king, castled on the queenside. But the offensive was easily handled by Adhiban.

After a series of exchanges, Adhiban had a rook, bishop and a knight for Teja’s queen. Thereafter, it was only a matter of time before Adhiban finished the job.

Jha and Karthikeyan fought on an even keel till the 21st move and it was difficult to imagine the game ending in the next nine moves. Jha’s sense of danger let him down when he pushed a kingside pawn that allowed Karthikeyan to trigger off a series of exchanges for an overwhelming position. The sudden turn of events left Jha with a bishop and a knight against Karthikeyan’s well-positioned rook and bishop. At this stage, Jha gave up.

For the second successive day, Nitin looked better placed to win but mishandled the position after gaining the initiative. Laxman managed to wriggle out of trouble as Nitin allowed him plenty of counter-play. Though Nitin had a rook-pair against Laxman’s rook and knight, the two connected white pawns on the queenside clinched it for the Grandmaster.

The results:

Seventh round: Vidit Gujarathi (4) bt D. B. Chandra Prasad (3); R. R. Laxman (5) bt S. Nitin (3.5); Abhijit Kunte (3) drew with Abhishek Kelkar (2); S. Ravi Teja (4) lost to B. Adhiban (4); Sriram Jha (1.5) lost to M. Karthikeyan (4.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (6) and Tejas Bakre (4) bye.

Eighth-round pairings: Adhiban-Jha; Kelkar-Chithambaram; Nitin-Kunte; Prasad-Laxman; Bakre-Vidit; Karthikeyan and Teja bye.