There is no stopping the Petroleum juggernaut but the battles for lesser places on the podium, both sections, became fierce in the National team chess championship here on Monday.

Leaving nothing to chance, Petroleum recorded emphatic victories and moved closer to sweeping the titles with a round to spare.

With two rounds to go, Petroleum men (14 match-points) enjoyed a three-point lead after thumping second seed Airports Authority of India (AAI) 3.5-0.5. The Petroleum women (10) were less impressive in taming Life Insurance Corporation 2.5-1-5, with Soumya Swaminathan surrendering to Swati Ghate on the top board.

As things stand, Petroleum plays Odisha-KIIT in both sections on Tuesday. The much-expected triumphs should give Petroleum an insurmountable lead before the final round on Wednesday.

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For Petroleum, Surya Shekhar Ganguly and B. Adhiban completed a hat-trick of wins on the top two boards while Padmini Rout and Nisha Mohota emerged victorious on the lower boards to play major roles in their teams’ triumphs.

Usually, the clash between the top two seeds produces a close clash but given Petroleum’s all-conquering form, AAI began as rank underdog.

Ganguly’s clinical victory over G. A. Stany in 34 moves and M. Karthikeyan’s 37-move win against N. R. Visakh pulled the tie Petroleum’s way. With G.N. Gopal drawing with M. Shyam Sundar, Petroleum gained a winning lead.

In the last game to finish, Adhiban was lucky to win, after S.L. Narayanan missed a forced draw in the closing stages of their 60-move battle.

Meanwhile, the two Railway teams, with 11 match-points each, firmed up their chances of joining Petroleum on the podium.

The women section produced one-sided results in all matches. Though Petroleum won by the narrowest of margins, Swati’s lone win for LIC came after the top seed had ensured triumph. For LIC, Swati and Kiran Manisha Mohanty contributed to the tally while lowly-rated S. Jayaseeli and Bindu Saritha lost, as expected, to Padmini and Nisha.

Important results:

Open (seventh round):   Airports Authority of India (10) lost to Petroleum (14) 0.5-3.5; Life Insurance Corporation (10) lost to Railways ‘A’ (11) 0-4; Railways ‘B’ bt Bengal ‘A’ (8) 3-1; Air India (9) drew with Bengal ‘B’ 2-2; Odisha-KIIT (10) bt Odisha ‘A’ 2.5-1.5.

Women (fifth round): LIC (1.5) lost to Petroleum (12); AAI (8) bt Odisha-KIIT (5) 3.5-0.5; Air India (7) bt Odisha-MCF-5 (5) 3.5-0.5; Telangana (4) lost to Tamil Nadu (6) 0-4; Karnataka (3) lost to Uttar Pradesh (5) 0-4; Himachal Pradesh (3) bt Himachal Pradesh ‘A’ (1) 3-1.