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Press Release – Final Day

karthikeyanmuraliwinner2Sixteen year old Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu was crowned as the national champion, irrespective of the final roundloss to IM Arghyadip Das in the ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship, organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association at Kasi’s Inn, Tiruvarur, today. Things went in his favour, as Vidit drew his game to be on par with him, each having 8.5 points in the final tally. As direct encounter was the first tiebreak, the tenth round victory by Karthikeyan over Vidit stood in the former’s favour. Besides winning a purse of two and a half lakh rupees, Karhtikeyan has become an automatic choice for the 2016 Olympiad. The 2015 edition of National Premier Championship is his second attempt and for the first time, he has played under the round robin format.

In a tense encounter, Karthikeyan Murali, playing with black pieces, opted for the Pirc defence. Leading the charge with Austrian attack, IM Arghyadip Das of Railways played an attacking game with his rook stationed on seventh rank, supported by his knight. As a result, Karthikeyan had to play with a handicap of having one pawn less in the rook and pawns ending. Clever handling of his rook fetched the lone pawn of Karthikeyan to Arghyadip. Arghyadip’s two connected pawns delivered the verdict in his favour.

When Vidit enjoyed a slight advantage with two extra pawns in the middle game of a Catalan opening, his opponent M. Shyam Sundar of AAI made a surprise bishop sacrifice offer under time pressure. In the process, Vidit lost the additional pawns and after exchanging the dark coloured bishop, each had two pawns on the board. Both kings were in perfect positions to force a draw after 52 moves. The draw ended the hopes of Vidit to clinch the title, after having led for most part of the championship.

In the Bf4 variation of queen’s gambit by GM elect Swapnil Dhopade of Railways, the double bishop advantage of Neelotpal Das of PSPB failed to generate any advantage to him in the end game. Swapnil’s light coloured bishop and knight combined effectively and his three chain pawns on the king side paved way for Swapnil to post a win in 60 moves.

Rathnakaran of Railways had a resounding win over PSPB grandmaster MR Venkatesh in a Sicilian defence adopted by the latter, to push him into sixth rank, a criterion to be in included in the Indian team for various tournaments.

Sethuraman’s title chances vanished in the air, when he had to concede a draw to Railways international master P. Karthikeyan in 30 moves of a Closed Ruy Lopez opening.

After scoring a meagre half a point in five rounds, IM P. Shyaam Nikhil of Tamil Nadu found his touch to outwit Telangana’s K . Praneeth Surya in the Moscow variation of Sicilian defence. Shyaam tried to checkmate Praneeth by repeated knight sacrifice offers. Though Praneeth did not accept them, it culminated in the loss of two pawns to him. Shyaam needed 46 moves to win the game.

Twice national champion Abhijit Kunte of PSPB split the point with his team mate Deep Sengupta, when Kunte had a bishop and Deep had a knight with five pawns each on the board.

Shri Rajesh Saxena, Chief Manager (HR), Cauvery Asset, Karaikkal, was the chief guest and distributed the prizes in the presence of Sri V. Hariharan, Hon. Secretary of All India Chess Federation.

Results of Thirteenth Round

Rathnakaran K. Rlys 6.5 beat Venkatesh M.R. PSPB 4.5
Shyaamnikhil P TN 4.5 beat K. Praneeth Surya TEL 6.5
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB 8.5 drew with Shyam Sundar M. AAI 6.5
Kunte Abhijit PSPB 6 drew with Sengupta Deep PSPB 5.5
Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys 5.5 beat Neelotpal Das PSPB 6
Das Arghyadip Rlys 7 beat Karthikeyan Murali TN 8.5
Sethuraman S.P. PSPB 8 drew with Karthikeyan P. Rlys 7.5
Final Ranking
1 Karthikeyan Murali TN
2 Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB
3 Sethuraman S.P. PSPB 8
4 Karthikeyan P. Rlys
5 Das Arghyadip Rlys 7
6 Rathnakaran K. Rlys
7 K. Praneeth Surya TEL
8 Shyam Sundar M. AAI
9 Kunte Abhijit PSPB 6
10 Neelotpal Das PSPB 6
11 Sengupta Deep PSPB
12 Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys
13 Shyaamnikhil P TN
14 Venkatesh M.R. PSPB

Press Release – Round 12

GM Abhijit Kunte had a lucky win over his team mate GM Neelotpal DasSixteen year old KarthikeyanMurali of Tamil Nadu emerged sole leader with 8.5 points beating Swapnil Dhopade of Railways in the twelfth and penultimate round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship, organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association at Kasi’s Inn, Tiruvarur, today. An intense fight is on the cards tomorrow, as the trio KarthikeyanMurali, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and defending champion SP Sethuraman of PSPB have theoretical chances to win the title. Vidit could make a draw only today to reach 8 points and Sethuraman came back into reckoning by collecting 7.5 points. KarthikeyanMuralihas an edge over the other two as he needs only a draw to clinch the title.

Praneeth facing the camera missed his GM norm by losing to IM RathnakaranIn the advanced variation against the Caro Kann defence by Swapnil Dhopade of Railways, former under 16 world champion played a steady middle game to get advantage slowly. Swapnil lost his knight to prevent Karthikeyan’sa- file pawn moving to eighth rank. Karthikeyan dashed the hopes of Swapnil in the rook and bishop vs rook end game, with each having one pawn.

Vidit employed Grunfeld defence against former under 12 world champion Deep Sengupta, also from PSPB. Though Vidit won two pawns, he had to struggle to obtain a superior position, because of Deep’s two well placed bishops in the open position against Vidit’s two knights. Vidit fought tooth and nail in the exciting end game, witnessed by a large crowd, but Deep had a strong defence to force a draw.

The third successive win by defending champion SP Sethuraman has put him back into the contention for title. In the reversed Kings Indian defence against team mate and grandmaster MR Venkatesh, Sethuraman’s two knights played havoc at the opponent’s ranks, leading to win a pawn and exchange also. Once the queens were traded, Sethuraman’s win became a reality.

Praneeth Surya of Telangana could not repeat the form he exhibited in earlier rounds and went down meekly to IM K Rathnakaran of Railways, who played the French defence. After castling on the long side, Rathnakaran made in road into the enemy’s camp, by pushing the king side pawns rapidly. Controlling the h- file with queen and rook, Rathnakaran destroyed Praneeth’s king side by mopping all the pawns off. It took just 33 moves for Rathnakaran to decimate Praneeth.

GM Neelotpal Das of PSPB was cruising comfortably, after his opponent Abhijit Kunte gave up his knight to break open the former’s king side. Disaster struck, when Neelotpal missed a winning combination and donated the point to Kunte.

Loss of two pawns in the middle game by IM P. Shyaam Nikhil of Tamil Nadu enabled GM M ShyamSundar of AAI to register a comfortable win in a game of English opening.

The Kings Indian attack by IM P. Karthikeyan of Railways against his team mate IM Arghyadip Das ended in a passive draw after the formal 25 moves.

Results of Twelfth Round

Venkatesh M.R. PSPB 4.5 lost to Sethuraman S.P. PSPB 7.5
Karthikeyan P. Rlys 7 drew with Das Arghyadip Rlys 6
KarthikeyanMurali TN 8.5 beat Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys 4.5
Neelotpal Das PSPB 6 lost to Kunte Abhijit PSPB 5.5
Sengupta Deep PSPB 5  drew with Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB  8
ShyamSundar M. AAI 6 beat Shyaamnikhil P TN 3.5
K. Praneeth Surya TEL 6.5 lost to Rathnakaran K. Rlys 5.5

Press Release – Round – 11

Overnight leaders GM Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu and GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi of PSPB drew their respective games to keep the lead between them at the end of the eleventh round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship, organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association at Kasi’s Inn today. They have scored 7.5 points each and three players defending champion SP Sethuraman of PSPB, new comer to National Premier K Praneeth Surya of Telangana and IM P. Karthikeyan of Railways are behind by one point.

Vidit, playing the Classical variation against his team mate Neelotpal Das’s Nimzo Indian defence, gave up his rook for a knight and pawn. Later, Neelotpal gave back the exchange to mount pressure on Vidit’s king, but could not maintain the tempo, irrespective of the fact that he won exchange again. The truce was signed after 48 moves.

Defending champion GM Sethuraman of PSPB is back to winning ways and today, playing black, he triumphed by overcoming the challenge of IM Arghyadip Das of Railways in a Pirc defence game. The exchange sacrifice by Das on 25th move was not wise enough. Though he launched a series of attacks on Sethuraman’s king, Sethuraman forced exchange of his queen and rook for Das’s queen and bishop. With plenty of pawns on hand, win for Sethuraman was much easier.

K Praneeth Surya, the find of the tournament attacked with Rossolimo variation to the Sicilian defence by his opponent GM MR Venkatesh of PSPB. Consuming a very long time on his clock during the middle game, Praneeth played most of the latter half of the game under time pressure. It did not deter him and he played accurately, sacrificing his bishop. Venkatesh’s dormant queen came alive in the finishing stage and that too only to be exchanged for a rook. A fine win has put Praneeth, the lowest ranked player in the tournament, in a good position and is poised to stand high in the ranking. A win in the next round will fetch him the coveted GM norm.

When Abhijit Kunte of PSPB began with king side fianchetto, Karthikeyan Murali counter balanced it with the reversed King’s Indian attack. Keeping safety in mind, Karthikeyan accepted the draw offer by Kunte to raise his tally to 7.5 points. Handling the black side of Queens Indian defence,IM P. Karthikeyan of Railways also agreed for a quick draw with his team mate IM Swapnil Dhopade, after completing the stipulated 25 number of moves to offer or accept a draw.

IM K Rathnakaran of Railways answered with the two knight variation to the Caro Kann defence by GM M Shyam Sundar of AAI. After exchanging all pieces except opposite coloured bishops, they settled for a draw after 48 moves.

IM P. Shyaam Nikhil of Tamil Nadu chose the Rubinstein variation against the Nimzo Indian defence by former under 12 world champion Deep Sengupta of PSPB. In the knight and pawn ending, Shyaam sacrificed his knight to extricate half a point.

Results of eleventh Round

K. Praneeth Surya TEL 6.5 beat Venkatesh M.R. PSPB 4.5
Rathnakaran K. Rlys 4.5 drew with Shyam Sundar M. AAI 5
Shyaamnikhil P TN 3.5 drew with Sengupta Deep PSPB  4.5
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB 7.5 drew with Neelotpal Das PSPB 6
Kunte Abhijit PSPB 4.5 drew with Karthikeyan Murali TN 7.5
Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys 4.5 drew with Karthikeyan P. Rlys 6.5
Das Arghyadip Rlys 5.5 lost to Sethuraman S.P. PSPB 6.5

Press Release – Round – 10

Game between IM P. Karthikeyan and GM Abhijit Kunte ended in a drawFormer under 16 World Champion Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu dealt a blow to the title aspirations of former under 14 World Champion Vidit Santosh Gujrathi of PSPB by beating him in the tenth round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship, organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association, today. Karthikeyan and Vidit jointly lead with seven points each and the tournament has become wide open.

In the fight between the top two rankers of the previous round, Vidit adopted the c5 linein theTarrasch variation of French defence against Karthikeyan Murali. His decision to exchange the queens on 21st move was not wise enough, only to lose his rook for a knight after four more moves.Karthikeyan held on the advantage and gave back the rook for a bishop to wipe Vidit’s one pawn off the board. It culminated in a passer pawn to Karthikeyan Murali, which could not be stopped. Vidit resigned on 63rd move, paving way to Karthikeyan to reach cloud nine, along with him.

Debutant K Praneeth Surya of Telangana, playing like a seasoned player opted the Najdorf variation of Sicilian defence for the second time in the championship, to score a win against GM M Shyam Sundar of AAI. Shyam made an inappropriate queen move in the middle game and paid penalty for it, as his king side completely collapsed. When Praneeth played Qxa4, Shyam envisaged the checkmate on the next move and resigned.

After two successive losses and three continuous draws in the last five games, defending champion SP Sethuraman recovered slightly to score a clinical win over GM elect Swapnil Dhopade of Railways in the Moscow variation of Sicilian defence. Generally, three pawns on a single file is considered to be a weak pawn structure. But, Sethuraman overcame the weakness to script a win, as one of them was on the seventh rank threatening to be promoted.

GM Neelotpal Das of PSPB gained Tamil Nadu IM Shyaam Nikhil’s queen losing his rook and knight in turn in the g6 variation of Ruy Lopez game. Shyaam tried to defend the position, but could not prolong the game, as Neelotpal combined his queen and bishop to steal advantage. Shyaam lost three games on a trot and remains at the bottom in the ranking.

Playing the Nc6 line in the Tarrasch variation of French defence, IM K Rathnakran castled on the queen side on 17th move. Rathnakaran’s heavy attack on the king side yielded him an extra outside passer pawn on the h- file. But, the rook and pawn ending led only to a draw in 63 moves.

IM Arghyadip of Railways held the upper hand for most of the time against PSPB Grandmaster M.R. Venkatesh, only to falter in the end game. The rook and bishop vs rook ending extending to a marathon 130 moves did not produce any favour to Arghyadip Das.  Venkatesh claimed a draw under 50 move rule and got away with it.

Former National champion Abhijit Kunte of PSPB played the hedgehog set up of Sicilian defence to obtain a draw against former Asian Junior champion IM P.Karthikeyan of Railways in 32 moves.

Results of tenth round

Venkatesh M.R. PSPB 4.5 drew with IM Das Arghyadip Rlys 5.5
Sethuraman S.P. PSPB 5.5 beat IM Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys 4
Karthikeyan P. Rlys 6 drew with GM Kunte Abhijit PSPB 4
KarthikeyanMurali TN 7 beat GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB 7
Neelotpal Das PSPB 5.5 beat IM Shyaamnikhil P TN 3
Sengupta Deep PSPB 4 drew with IM Rathnakaran K. Rlys 4
ShyamSundar M. AAI 4.5 lost to FM K. Praneeth Surya TEL 5.5

Press Release – Round 9

Vidit Santosh Gujrathi of PSPB maintained his unbeaten record and a lead by full point, beating the second placed P. Karthikeyan of Railways in the ninth round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship, organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association, today.KarthikeyanMurali of Tamil Nadu moved ahead of Karthikeyan to second place with six points, winning over his team mate P. Shyaam Nikhil.

In the Closed Catalan game, both Vidit and Karthikeyan played a cautious and error free middle game. A good combination of pieces led to the loss of exchange to Karthikeyan on 25th move. Though Karthikeyan won a pawn on the 32nd move, Vidit’s control of long diagonal by his queen and bishop daunted him. Karthikeyan resigned on 36th move, when he was about to lose his knight.

KarthikeyanMurali is on a roll, as he has secured five wins and two draws, after first two rounds loss. The victim in this round was his team mate P. Shyaam Nikhil, who preferred to play Modern defence. In the middle game, Shyaam lost two valuable pawns and when Karthikeyan won one more pawn, Shyaam did not hesitate to resign on the 36th move.

In a wild game, IM Arghyadip Das of Railways accepted the queen’s gambit by IM Swapnil Dhopade also of Railways and both had premature pawn movements. On the 16th move, Swapnil made a wrong knight manoeuvre, resulting in the loss of two pawns.Swapnil posed threats to Arghyadip’s king with rook and bishops. Once the king reached a safe position protected by his pawns, Arghyadip counter attacked and grabbed another pawn to win the game.

GM Neelotpal Das of PSPB started his defence against IM K Rathnakaran of Railways with the Kopec system of Sicilian defence. Rathnakaran gave up his rook for a knight, hoping to push the two connected centre pawns. Neelotpal had a completely commanding position and was about to march his pawn to eighth rank, but moved his rook, allowing Rathnakaran to make perpetual check and escape with a draw.

Employing neo-Grunfeld defence, defending champion GM SP Sethuraman of PSPB played out a formal 25 move draw with former national champion and his team mate GM Abhijit Kunte. In the Bishop’s opening encounter between the two Tamil Nadu GMs M ShyamSundar of AAI and MR Venkatesh of PSPB, the former played an attacking game. But, Venkatesh defended patiently to get away with half a point. K Praneeth Surya, playing against the third highest rated player Deep Sengupta was on par with his opponent throughout the game. He drew the game comfortably by constantly threatening Deep’s king in a queen and pawns ending.

Sri DV Sundar, Vice President of World Chess Federation inaugurated the ninth round.

Results of ninth round

ShyamSundar M. AAI 4.5 drew with Venkatesh M.R. PSPB 4
K. Praneeth Surya TEL 4.5 drew with Sengupta Deep PSPB 3.5
Rathnakaran K. Rlys 3.5 drew with Neelotpal Das PSPB 4.5
Shyaamnikhil P TN 3 lost to KarthikeyanMurali TN 6
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB 7 beat Karthikeyan P. Rlys 5.5
Kunte Abhijit PSPB 3.5 drew with Sethuraman S.P. PSPB 4.5
Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys 4 lost to Das Arghyadip Rlys 5

Press Release – Round – 8

Vidit Santosh Gujrathi maintained his sole lead with, raising his tally to six points at the end of the eighth round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship, organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association at Kasi’s Inn, today. IM P. Karthikeyan also continued with good form to remain on second spot, half a point behind.

In the much awaited clash between the joint top two seeds, friends and foes from PSPB, former under 16 world champion SP Sethuraman and former under 14 world champion Vidit Santosh Gujrathi , the latter applied classical variation of French defence. Sethuraman, handling the white pieces, castled on the long side. Vidit tried to exploit it by forwarding the queen side pawns and Sethuraman did the same on the king side. But, Vidit seized the initiative first and went for a kill on 28th move, forcing Sethuraman to lose his queen for a bishop and knight, definitely a meagre compensation. But, under time pressure, both, especially Vidit made serious mistakes to level the game with equal pieces towards the end. An exciting game had a tame draw after 48 moves.

Karthikeyan shattered the pawn structure of IM P Shyaam Nikhil of Tamil Nadu in a centre counter defence game by the latter and had three connected pawns in the end game. Karthikeyan combined his rook and two knights efficiently to win the game without any ado.

Another game with French defence ended in favour of another former under 16 world champion Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu against IM K Rathnakaran of Railways. In the Tarrasch variation, Karthikeyan lost a pawn on 30th move, but doubled his agile rooks on e- file to win exchange. Only a few more moves were required for Karthikeyan to strike it rich.

Third highest rated player of the tournament, Deep Sengupta of PSPB scored his first win of the tournament, at the expense of GM M Shyam Sundar of Airport Authority of India in a closed variation of Spanish opening. Shyam made an exchange sacrifice at a wrong moment, which was not wasted by Deep. Shyam’s desperate attacks were of no use and he resigned on the 44th move.

Kunte adopted the Paulsen variation of Sicilian defence against IM Arghyadip Das of Railways and set up a hedgehog position in the early part of the game. When there was a smooth flow in the middle game, Kunte won a pawn and the exchange by exchanging queens on 33rd move. Kunte won the game comfortably in 39 moves.

Both GM MR Venkatesh and PSPB and GM elect Swapnil Dhopade of Railways sacrificed minor pieces to control the game arising from Catalan opening. But Venkatesh’s advanced pawns and king were helpful to pocket a point for him.

The Najdorf variation of Sicilian defence played by GM Neelotpal Das of PSPB against FM K Praneeth Surya of Telangana yielded half point to each player after 33 moves.

Venkatesh M.R. PSPB 3.5 beat Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys 4
Das Arghyadip Rlys 4 lost to Kunte Abhijit PSPB 3
Sethuraman S.P. PSPB 4 drew with Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB 6
Karthikeyan P. Rlys 5.5 beat Shyaamnikhil P TN 3
Karthikeyan Murali TN 5 beat Rathnakaran K. Rlys 3
Neelotpal Das PSPB 4 drew with K. Praneeth Surya TEL 4
Sengupta Deep PSPB 3 beat Shyam Sundar M. AAI 4

Press Release – Round – 7

IM Rathnakaran missed a good position and drew with IM P. KarthikeyanVidit Santosh Gujrathi of PSPB, former under 14 world championextended his sole lead with 5.5 points by beating IM Arghyadip Das of Railways for the only decisive result in the seventh round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship 2015, organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association at Kasi’s Inn today. He is one point ahead of IM P. Karthikeyan of Railways, who remained on second spot.

Giant killer Praneeth Surya drew with GM Karthikeyan MuraliIn a Slav defence played by Arghyadip, Vidit gained a slight advantage on the 33rd move by forking his opponent’s king and rook. The two rooks vs rook and knight ending looked like a draw, when Arghyadip committed a minor mistake of moving his rook instead of knight on the 43rd move. Another mistake on the very next move cost the game to Arghyadip.

In an intense struggle of Ruy Lopez opening game, IM P Shyaam Nikhil of Tamil Nadu fought gallantly against former under 16 world champion and defending champion SP Sethuraman of PSPB. He capitalised on a couple of mistakes by Sethuraman and was in a commanding position. Shyaam blundered on 53rd move forcing an exchange of queens and could not regain the advantage to settle for a draw after 83 moves. Thus, Sethuraman avoided the embarrassing hat trick of losses.

The English opening between grandmasters M. ShyamSundar of AAI and Neelotpal Das of PSPB ended peacefully, each getting the share of half point after 35 moves.

After two successive losses in the previous rounds, former Commonwealth champion salvaged a draw against GM elect Swapnil Dhopade of Railways. Swapnil could not get a full point in the rook vs rook and pawn ending, leading to a Philidor position.

In a promising position arising from Bishop’s opening, IM K Rathnakaran of Railways did not continue correctly to slip to a draw with his team mate IM P. Karthikeyan.

After exchanging the queens on 19th move, Praneeth made a steady progress and he had a good advantage until 34th move, irrespective of Karthikeyanhaving a double bishop. At this juncture, Praneeth went into shell, deciding to stop the advancement of Karthikeyan’sa- and b- pawns and lost his advantage. The game petered out to a draw after 56 moves. The half point was enough for Praneeth to secure his first nine game IM norm.

Playing the black side of Ruy Lopez opening, GM MR Venkatesh of PSPB held his team mate and former under 12 world champion Deep Sengupta in a rook and pawn end game.

Results of Seventh Round

Sengupta Deep PSPB 2 drew with Venkatesh M.R. PSPB 2.5
ShyamSundar M. AAI 4 drew with Neelotpal Das PSPB 3.5
K. Praneeth Surya TEL 3.5 drew with KarthikeyanMurali TN 4
Rathnakaran K. Rlys 3 drew with Karthikeyan P. Rlys 4.5
Shyaamnikhil P TN 3 drew with Sethuraman S.P. PSPB 3.5
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB 5.5 beat Das Arghyadip Rlys 4
Kunte Abhijit PSPB 2 drew with Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys 4

Standings after Round 7

1 Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB
2 Karthikeyan P. Rlys
3 ShyamSundar M. AAI 4
4 Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys 4
5 Das Arghyadip Rlys 4
6 KarthikeyanMurali TN 4
7 Neelotpal Das PSPB
8 K. Praneeth Surya TEL
9 Sethuraman S.P. PSPB
10 Rathnakaran K. Rlys 3
11 Shyaamnikhil P TN 3
12 Venkatesh M.R. PSPB
13 Sengupta Deep PSPB 2
14 Kunte Abhijit PSPB 2

Press Release

GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi played a safe draw against GM elect Swapnil DhopadeDefending champion SP Sethuraman of PSPB suffered second consecutive shock defeat, this time at the hands of IM K Rathnakaran of Railways in the sixth round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship, organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association, at Kasi’s Inn, Tiruvarur today.Vidit Santosh Gujrathi of PSPB continues to lead with 4.5 points, after splitting the point Swapnil Dhopade of Railways, followed by IM P. Karthikeyan and IM Arghyadip Das of Railways with 4 points each. Seven more rounds remain to be played and tomorrow is a rest day.

Arghyadip - PraneethjpgSurprisingly, when IM Rathnakaran played with Black pieces thrice so far in the tournament, all his opponents had opted for English opening; the former had used the same variation and his game against SP Sethuraman is no exception. More surprisingly, Rathnakaran reversed the trend by winning against the formidable opponent, whereas he lost the other two games. When Sethuraman captured Rathnakaran’s pawn on 22nd move, he was expecting exchange of pieces and was planning to win with the help of two extra pawns. But, Rathnakaran ripped open the king side and brought the active rook to the centre. Sethuraman blundered to exchange the minor pieces, hoping to minimise the hovering of opponent’s pieces around his king. Rathnakaran, instead, put the last nail by a rook sacrifice, forcingSethuramaneither getting checkmated or losing his queen. The second consecutive loss to Sethuraman has diminished his chances to retain the title, but one can hope that he will bounce back in the second half of the tournament. The game needed only 24 moves to yield the result.

Adopting Grunfeld defence, Vidit decided to play it safe and agreed for a draw with Swapnil after 25 moves, the minimum number of moves required to be played (to offer/agree a draw), as per the tournament regulations. The Bishop opening game between IM Arghyadip Das of Railways and IM P. Shyaam Nikhil of Tamil Nadu also concluded with a draw, agreed after 25 moves.

Praneeth Surya playing the sharp Najdorf variation of Sicilian defence against P. Karthikeyan of Railways could not reproduce the form he exhibited in earlier rounds. When the queens were exchanged on the 35th move, Karthikeyan began to dictate. Though both promoted their pawns to queen, Karthikeyan‘s better positioned rook won the game for him in 69 moves.

Grandmaster MR Venkatesh of PSPB recorded his first win of the tournament, beating his team mate and former British champion Abhijit Kunte in a Scotch game. Kunte committed a mistake by playing c5 on 32nd move, which led to a loss of pawn and exchange. Abhjit resigned the game, when he had a bishop and pawn to that of rook and pawn to Venkatesh.

Bishop vs knight ending with equal pawns, originating from a Spanish opening between two Tamil Nadu players GM M Shyam Sundar representing AAI and GM Karthikeyan Murali resulted in a draw with half a point to each player.

Deep Sengupta of PSPB gave up two knights for a rook in the Queens Indian defence against his state and team mate from West Bengal and PSPB, but could not get a promising position out of it. Both had to be content with a draw after fighting for 56 moves.

Results of Sixth Round

Venkatesh M.R. 2 PSPB beat Kunte Abhijit PSPB 1.5
Swapnil S. Dhopade 3.5 Rlys drew with Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB 4.5
Das Arghyadip 4 Rlys drew with Shyaamnikhil P TN 2.5
Sethuraman S.P. 3 PSPB lost to Rathnakaran K. Rlys 2.5
Karthikeyan P. 4 Rlys beat K. Praneeth Surya TEL 3
Karthikeyan Murali 3.5 TN drew with Shyam Sundar M. AAI 3.5
Neelotpal Das 3 PSPB drew with Sengupta Deep PSPB 1.5

Press Release – Round 5

Underdog K Praneeth Surya of Telangana, the lowest ranked player caused the biggest upset of the tournament, beating the defending champion and joint top rated player SP Sethuraman of PSPB in the fifth round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship, organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association, at Kasi’s Inn, Tiruvarur today. This helped PSPB grandmaster Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, who defeated his team mate Abhijit Kunte to emerge sole leader with four points. IM Arghyadip Das of Railways is the only player with 3.5 points, as another joint leader P. Karthikeyan of Railways lost to GM M ShyamSundar of AAI.

Probably Praneeth might have been inspired by Pelletier of Sweden who stunned world champion Magnus Carlsen, who is placed 284 points above him in the rating list, in the European Team Championship yesterday. The 238 rating points difference between Sethuraman and Praneeth did not cause any panic to Praneeth in the Kings Indian attack. Praneeth ventured into attack from 22nd move, by opting a pawn break with f4 and boldly threw open his king side. Sethuraman underestimated his ploy and preferred to encash it with his queen manoeuvre. Six moves later, Praneeth not only regained the pawn, but won the exchange also. Sethuraman tried to defend the position, but another rook sacrifice by Praneeth for a knight, tilted the game in his favour. Praneeth’s first win over a player rated above 2650 is bound to take him to greater heights.

Twice national champion Abhijit Kunte of PSPB adopted the Nimzo Indian defence against former under 14 national champion Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and the latter’s piece development was better than that of the former. Vidit gained a pawn on 29th move and his powerful d- pawn on the seventh rank forced a win for him six moves later.

Joint leader P Karthikeyan of Railways used the hedgehog against the Maroczy Bind formation of pawns by GM M ShyamSundarof AAI. But, Karthikeyan could not use it effectively as he could not play the theoretical b5 or d5, leading to a cramped position for him. In a span of two moves, Shyam grabbed two pawns in the middle game, coasting to a victory in 32 moves.

Tamil Nadu grandmaster KarthikeyanMurali recorded the first hat trick of wins of the tournament and that too after a setback of two successive losses. The fierce battle between the former under 16 world champion and Deep Sengupta, a former under 12 world champion from PSPB was an entertaining one. Karthikeyan won a pawn on 24th move and four moves later, Deep had to lose the exchange to avoid a checkmate. By then, Karthikeyangrew with confidence and won the rook vs knight ending comfortably.

In the Classical variation of Caro Kann defence, IM Shyaam Nikhil of Tamil Nadu lost the same colour bishop ending to IM Swapnil Dhopade of Railways.

Former Bronze medallist in World under 10 championship, GM MR Venkatesh of PSPB played Nge7 line of Ruy Lopez opening played by his team mate GM Neelotpal Das. Though he had an extra pawn he cannot convert the opposite colour bishop ending to a win. IM K Rathnakaran of Railways answered with the Kopec system to the Sicilian defence by his team mate IM Arghyadip Das, but both could not make any break through and the game ended in a draw after 36 moves.

Neelotpal Das PSPB 2.5 drew with GM Venkatesh M.R. PSPB 1
Sengupta Deep PSPB 1 lost to GM KarthikeyanMurali TN 3
ShyamSundar M. AAI 3 beat IM Karthikeyan P. Rlys 3
K. Praneeth Surya TEL 3 beat GM Sethuraman S.P. PSPB 3
Rathnakaran K. Rlys 1.5 drwe with IM Das Arghyadip Rlys 3.5
Shyaamnikhil P TN 2 lost to IM Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys 3
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB 4 beat GM Kunte Abhijit PSPB 1.5

 

Four players, grandmaster SP Sethuraman and Vidit Santosh Gujrathiof PSPB, international masters P. Karthikeyan and Arghyadip Das of Railways shared the lead with three points each

IM P Karthikeyan drew with GM Deep Sengupta on first board, defending champion SP Sethuraman outwitted GM M Shyam Sundar
IM P Karthikeyan drew with GM Deep Sengupta on first board, defending champion SP Sethuraman outwitted GM M Shyam Sundar

Four players, grandmaster SP Sethuraman and Vidit Santosh Gujrathiof PSPB, international masters P. Karthikeyan and Arghyadip Das of Railways shared the lead with three points each at the end of the fourth round of the 53rd National Premier Chess Championship organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association, at Kasi’s Inn, Tiruvarur today. As hitherto co-leader Vidit Santosh Gujrathi was indisposed in the morning, his game with MR Venkatesh started three hours later.

In an absorbing struggle arising from Catalan opening, both Sethuraman and GM M ShyamSundarof AAI played an attacking game. After exchanging the queens,Sethuraman managed to win a pawn on 34th move, resulting three chain pawns to him, compared to that of two isolated pawns to Shyam. In a rook and knight ending, Shyam committed hara-kiri by exchanging the rooks and the extra pawn helped Sethuraman to secure a valuable point in 57 moves.

Two games had connected pawns on a- and b- files in the end game, both of them producing victories. IM Arghyadip of Railways, who is in good nick, threatened to queen his a– pawn and Praneeth transferred the attack to king side by sacrificing his knight. Unperturbed Arghyadip accepted it; sacrificed his bishop and posted his rook on seventh rank, leading to a winning combination. The game ended after 37 moves in Arghyadip’s favour.

IM Swapnil Dhopade of Railways held the upper hand against his team mate IM K Rathnakaran in an English opening, lasting 47 moves. His connected pawns on a- and b- files had a decisive advantage, in addition to a knight outpost. When Rathnakaran had to lose his knight to stop the marching a- pawn of Swapnil, the end in favour of the latter was not far off.

Likewise, pawns on a- and b- files could not produce a win for P. Karthikeyan in a Reti opening against GM Deep Sengupta of PSPB. Though Karthikeyan had an extra pawn, Deep had a stout defence in the opposite colour bishop ending and repeated the position to get away with a draw.

Sixteen year old grandmaster KarthikeyanMurali of Tamil Nadu recorded his second successive win in the tournament by beating GM Neelotpal Das of PSPB in the exchange variation of Spanish opening. Karthikeyan played an enterprising end game, pocketing a pawn on an unexpected 31st move. When Neelotpal doubled his rooks on g- file, planning for a lethal attack, Karthikeyan sacrificed his rook for a knight to obtain an unassailable position and Neelotpal had no hesitation to resign immediately.

In the fast paced Neo Grunfeld defence between former Commonwealth champion GM Abhijit Kunte of PSPB and international master P. Shyaam Nikhil of Tamil Nadu, the players exchanged all the pieces except opposite colour bishops to reach a draw position after 26 moves.

Results of Fourth Round:

Kunte Abhijit PSPB 1.5 drew with Shyaamnikhil P TN 2
Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys 2 beat Rathnakaran K. Rlys 1
Das Arghyadip Rlys 3 beat K. Praneeth Surya TEL 2
Sethuraman S.P. PSPB 3 beat ShyamSundar M. AAI 2
Karthikeyan P. Rlys 3 drew with Sengupta Deep PSPB 1
KarthikeyanMurali TN 2 beat Neelotpal Das PSPB 2
Venkatesh M.R. PSPB 0.5 drew with Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB 3