National Challengers: Ravi Teja stops Jha for one-point lead

Ravi’s victory, after gaining a knight in the middle-game, raised his tally to 8.5 points. One point behind are R. R. Laxman, S. L.Narayanan and Utkal Ranjan Sahoo.

Ravi Teja has 8.5 points in his kitty after his victory on Saturday.   -  Sandeep Saxena

International Master S. Ravi Teja enlarged his lead to one point following a tactical victory over Sriram Jha even as draws on the leading boards remained the norm in the 10th round of the Amity National Challengers chess championship here on Saturday. Ravi’s victory, after gaining a knight in the middle-game, raised his tally to 8.5 points. One point behind are R. R. Laxman, S. L.Narayanan and Utkal Ranjan Sahoo. Importantly, 18 people formed the third score-group at seven points.

Six of the top nine boards ended in draws as players tended to keep alive their chances of grabbing one of the nine qualifying spots for the National championship. Grandmasters Aravindh Chithambaram and Vishnu Prasanna, seeded one and three, continued to make a steady comeback with consecutive victories against lower-rated rivals. With three rounds remaining, some of the stronger players are expected to come back into contention despite their poor starts.

Leading results:

10th round: Sriram Jha (7) lost to S. Ravi Teja (8.5); Tejas Bakre (7) drew with S. L. Narayanan (7.5); Neeraj Kumar Mishra (7) drew with Abhijit Kunte (7); Vikramaditya Kulkarni (7) drew with Himal Gusain (7); Chandra Prasad (7) drew with Surya Praneeth (7); Utkal Ranjan Sahoo (7.5) bt S. Nitin (6.5); R. R. Laxman (7.5) bt Hemal Thanki (6.5); Abhishek Kelkar (7) drew with Mary Ann Gomes (7); V. A. V. Rajesh (7) drew with Sidhant Mohapatra (7);Aravindh Chithambaram (7) bt Rahul Sangma (6); Vishnu Prasanna (7) bt Dinesh Kumar Sharma (6); G. Akash (7) bt Arjun Kalyan (6); Ram Krishnan (6) lost to Mehar Chinna Reddy (7); Somak Palit (7) bt Baivab Mishra (6); B. Harsha (7) bt Sai Vishwesh (6); Arjun Tiwari (6.5) drew with Ramnath Bhuvanesh (6.5).