National Team chess: Karan Trivedi lets Ganguly off the hook; Tejas Bakre held

Karan Trivedi put up a spectacular display to nearly knock out Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly but eventually settled for a memorable 74-move draw in the National team chess championship on Thursday.

Gujarat's Karan Trivedi drew with Petroleum's Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly in the first round of National team chess championship in Bhubaneshwar on Thursday.   -  Special Arrangement

Little-known Karan Trivedi punched way above his weight and almost knocked out Surya Shekhar Ganguly but eventually settled for a memorable 74-move draw as Petroleum posted a 3.5-0.5 victory over Gujarat in the opening round of the National team chess championship here on Thursday.

As anticipated, there was no upset in both sections. In fact, among the women, all six matches produced 4-0 verdicts.

Trivedi, a 21-year-old from Mehsana, had never played a Grandmaster rated as high as 2650. Considering Trivedi’s modest rating of 1880 – a massive 770 points below the highest rated player in the competition – none expected a surprise on the top board.

READ: National Team Chess: Petroleum looks to regain lost ground

After gaining a fairly good position against the French Defence, Trivedi sacrificed a rook for knight and a pawn to catch Ganguly off after 27 moves. Two moves later, Ganguly had to give up his queen for a rook and a bishop to escape immediate loss. At this point, Trivedi was eyeing an incredible victory.

Undeterred, Ganguly fought back to capture Trivedi’s queen for a rook on the 42nd move. Thereafter, a series of exchanges left only the kings and a white pawn on the board, resulting in a draw.

Ganguly was not the only Grandmaster to be held. Air-India’s Tejas Bakre, rated 2444, found the going tough on Board Three against local talent Sanjeeban Nayak (1775) and drew in 38 moves in his team’s 3.5-0.5 victory over Odisha–MCF 2.

Leading first round results:

Open: Gujarat lost to Petroleum 0.5-3.5; AAI bt Services 4-0; Odisha-MCF-3 lost to Railways ‘A’ 0-4; Air India bt Odisha MCF-2 3.5-0.5; AP lost to Railways ‘B’ 0-4; LIC bt RBI 4-0; Odisha MCF-4 lost to Bengal ‘A’ 0.5-3.5.

Women: UP lost to Petroleum 0-4; Air India bt Telangana 4-0; Odisha MCF-5 lost to AAI 0-4; Tamil Nadu bt Punjab 4-0; Himachal Pradesh lost to Odisha-KIIT 0-4; LIC bt Himachal Pradesh ‘A’ 4-0.