Nitin, Mary Ann suffer shocking losses; three share lead

Swapnil Dhopade, Himanshu Sharma and Sammed Shete shared the lead at the end of the sixth round in the National Challengers chess championship.

Sammed Shete, who drew with Abhijit Kunte in 26 moves in the morning, went one better against another GM Debashis Das in 41 moves and joined the leaders.   -  Rakesh Rao

Railway Grandmasters Swapnil Dhopade and Himanshu Sharma marked their fortuitous victories of the fifth round with a 25-move draw in the sixth before being joined in the lead by a triumphant Sammed Shete in the National Challengers chess championship here on Wednesday.

The double-round day had its share of surprise outcomes but none was as dramatic as the ones seen on the top two boards in the afternoon.

Dhopade’s Railway team-mate S. Nitin had a ‘brain-fade’ of sorts when draw looked a fair result. Nitin innocuously pushed a pawn, found his lone bishop waiting to be ‘forked’ by Dhopade’s knight and resigned.

At the adjacent table, where a draw looked a possibility with Himanshu expected to resort to perpetual checks, Mary Ann Gomes overlooked a one-move checkmate. Unable to come to terms with the devastating loss, the Kolkata-based Woman Grandmaster went on to draw with Kerala’s lower-rated M. R. Sooraj, the conqueror of two-time former champion Varugheese Koshy earlier in the day.

Shete, who drew with Abhijit Kunte in 26 moves in the morning, went one better against another GM Debashis Das in 41 moves and joined the leaders.

Local talent Fenil Shah, returning to domestic competition after completing his education in the US, had a fruitful day when he came out undefeated against GMs S. L. Narayanan and M. R. Lalith Babu, seeded two and three, respectively.

Important results:

Sixth round: Swapnil Dhopade (5.5) drew with Himanshu Sharma (5.5); Arghyadip Das (5) drew with Abhijit Kunte (5); Sammed Shete (5.5) bt Debashis Das (4.5); P. Shyam Nikhil (4.5) drew with Akash Iyer (5); Niranjan Navalgund (4) lost to Aravindh Chithambaram (5); Chakravarthy Reddy (4.5) drew with S. L. Narayanan (4.5); M. R. Lalith Babu (4.5) drew with Fenil Shah (4.5); Arjun Tiwari (4) lost to Swayams Mishra (5); Ram S. Krishnan (4.5) drew with S. Nitin (4.5); Raja Rithvik (4.5) drew with S. Satyapragyan (4.5); Udit Kamdar (5) bt C. R. G. Krishna (4); S. Ravi Teja (4.5) drew with Shashikant Kutwal (4.5); Hemant Sharma (4.5) drew with S. Jayakumaar (4.5); Mary Ann Gomes (4.5) drew with M. R. Sooraj (4.5).

Fifth round: S. Nitin lost to Swapnil Dhopade; Himanshu Sharma bt Mary Ann Gomes; Abhijit Kunte drew with Sammed Shete; S. L. Narayanan drew with Fenil Shah; Debashis Das bt Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury; Akash Iyer bt Tejas Bakre; Swayams Mishra drew with Ram S. Krishnan; V. Pranavananda lost to Arghyadip Das; Kushagra Mohan lost to M. R. Lalith Babu; Aravindh Chithambaram bt Moksh Doshi; Deepan Chakkravarthy bt L. Imocha; G. B. Joshi lost to P. Shyamnikhil.