National Chess Championship: Karthik snatches sole lead before the final round

January 3, 2023

ChessNational Chess Championship


Asecond successive top-board victory with the dark pieces brightened Karthik Venkataraman’s prospects of winning the National chess title here on Tuesday.

A day after upstaging Abhijeet Gupta in an unusual finish, Karthik benefited from a dubious rook-for-knight trade-off by country’s latest Grandmaster Koustav Chatterjee on Monday and won in 35 moves.

On a day when the top-four boards saw decisive verdicts, the triumph gave Karthik (9.5 points) a half-point lead ahead of his 13th and final round clash with N. R. Visakh (9). Abhijeet and Sayantan Das are the other two players with 9 points.

Koustav, Aronyak Ghosh, N. B. Hari Madhavan, L. R. Srihari, Mitrabha Guha and P. Shyaamnikhil follow at 8.5 points.

Abhijeet, who plays Sayantan in the final round, needs a victory to challenge for the title. Ahead of the final round, this former champion enjoys the best tie-break score.

Facing Aronyak, Abhijeet capitalized on a weak defence and eventually threatened to capture a knight before the youngster resigned on the 34th move.

Sayantan ended the nine-round unbeaten run of N. B. Hari Madhavan in just 27 moves. After Madhavan’s premature aggression on the kingside, Sayantan launched a measured counter-attack and threatened to gain a knight. Sensing more damage, Madhavan gave up.

Visakh’s superior understanding of an endgame involving a bishop each and pawns came handy in ending Deepan Chakkravarthy’s resistance in 46 moves.

12th Round Results
Koustav Chatterjee (8.5) lost to Karthik Venkataraman (9.5); Abhijeet Gupta (9) bt Aronyak Ghosh (8.5); N. B. Hari Madhavan (8.5) lost to Sayantan Das (9); Deepak Chakkravarthy (8) lost to N. R. Vishakh (9); G. B. Harshavardhan (8) drew with L. R. Srihari (8.5); Anuj Shrivatri (8) drew with S. P. Sethuraman (8); Vedant Panesar (8) drew with P. Iniyan (8); N. R. Vignesh (8) drew with Sandipan Chanda (8); R. R. Laxman (7.5) lost to P. Shyaamnikhil (8.5); Mehar Chinna Reddy (7.5) lost to Mitrabha Guha (8.5); M. R. Venkatesh (7.5) drew with S. Nitin (7.5); Leon Mendonca (7.5) drew with Subhayan Kundu (7.5); Deep Sengupta (7.5) drew with V. A. V. Rajesh (7.5); Arghyadip Das (7.5) drew with Utkal Ranjan Sahoo (7.5); Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh (7.5) drew with Soham Kamotra (7.5); Audi Ameya (8) v K. Ratnakaran (7); Sanket Chakravarty (7.5) drew with Kushagra Mohan (7.5); Ajay Krishna (8) bt S. Badrinath (7).

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