Karthikeyan, Shyam Sundar Win Round One

Karthikeyan, Shyam Sundar Win Round One
By Arvind Aaron

Two players, International Master P Karthikeyan (Rly) and Shyam Sundar (PSPB) won against higher rated opponents in the opening round of the ONGC National Premier Chess Championship that got off to a nice start at Tiruvarur in Tamil Nadu.

Twelve rounds remain in this 14-player single all-play-all. Five of the seven games were decisive. The event is organised by the Tiruvarur District Chess Association.

Top seeds, defending champion Sethuraman and Vidit Gujrathi meant business from the word go, winning with the black pieces against Karthikeyan Murali and Praneeth Surya.

Karthikeyan Murali’s attack against the Sicilian died out once Sethuraman got the queens exchanged off. In a rook and minor piece ending, Sethuraman’s advanced king ensured a 43-move win.

Praneeth’s early attack was well repulsed by Vidit Gujrathi in a 36-move game from a Caro-Kann. Vidit won two knights for a rook in a wildly complicated game to win with the black pieces. The Hyderabad player who remained undefeated in the National Challenger at Nagpur would be expected to make a comeback. He is the only player who is not yet an IM in this strong field.

Shyam Sundar caught Kunte’s king in the corner and was threatening mate after 51 moves to seal the game in his favour. Last year’s GM norm maker Karthikeyan beat Venkatesh in 50 moves after winning material as early as move 13.

The results (round one): IM P Karthikeyan (Rly) bt GM M.R. Venkatesh (PSPB); GM Karthikeyan Murali (PSPB) lost to GM S.P. Sethuraman (PSPB); GM Neelotpal Das (PSPB) drew with IM Arghyadip Das (Rly); GM Deep Sengupta (PSPB) drew with IM Swapnil Dhopade (Rly); GM M Shyam Sundar (PSPB) bt GM Abhijit Kunte (PSPB); FM K Praneeth Surya (Tel) lost to GM Vidit Gujrathi (PSPB); IM K. Rathnakaran (Rly) bt IM P Shyaamnikhil (TN).