Khadi India National Premier Round 12: Who will be the Champion?

Report by IA Prof. R. Anantharam

Overnight joint leaders grandmaster MR Lalith Babu and Tamil Nadu’s GM Aravindh Chithambaram scored fluent wins in the twelfth and penultimate round, to be on par with each other, with 8.5 points, heading for an exciting at the Khadi India National Premier Chess Championship, organised by All Bihar Chess Association at Lemon Tree Hotel, Patna today. If both players have a similar result in the final round, Lalith will pip Aravindh at the post, because of the Direct encounter tiebreak. Lalith had beaten Aravindh in the ninth round. For Aravindh to win the title, he has to score half point more than Lalith in the 13th and final round.

Aravindh Chithambaram started dictating terms from the opening phase of the Petroff defence used by Himanshu Sharma, the grandmaster from Railways. By his prophylactic as well as attacking moves, Aravindh offered a pseudo-sacrifice of his bishop on move 18, which was not accepted by Himanshu. Aravindh then sacrificed his knight, leaving the pawns ahead of Himanshu’s castled king in disarray. Himanshu had to give up the rook for a bishop to reduce the size of the artillery on attack. Aravindh slackened a bit to allow some counter play by the opponent, but pulled up his socks by combining his queen and two rooks intelligently to inflict a defeat on Himanshu in 49 moves.

The Modern system of Giuoco Piano between Lalith Babu and SL Narayanan provided no thrill for the first 31 moves and the game was evenly balanced. But Lalith slowly paraded his two rooks and the queen to focus on the weak f2 square. When the knight also joined the party for the attack, Lalith’s advantage grew tremendously. Narayanan moved his f2 pawn to f3 overlooking a simple knight sacrifice by Lalith, which led to the loss of queen or checkmate. Narayanan resigned immediately. Lalith is in good nick and he played with precision today.

Though the game looked like Bird’s opening, the two Railways players GM Deepan Chakkravarthy and IM S Nitin deviated from the opening theory. Nitin seized the initiative by fifth move itself, but his mistake on the tenth move brought him back to the ground zero level. When Deepan castled on the long side, Nitin sacrificed his bishop for two pawns to rip open the castled side. Nitin reached a winning position by 20th move itself. He forced a queen exchange on 32nd move to arrive at a rook and three pawns up position and Deepan declared his resignation.

Untitled Sammed Shete of Maharashtra had a consolation win over International master P. Shyaamnikhil of Railways. The latter played the Najdorf variation of Sicilian defence with an unusual 6th move. A similar opening by the former world championship finalist Boris Gelfand yielded victory over another ever green player Ivanchuk, but Shyaam had an opposite result. Sammed was in attacking mood today to pick up a rook for his knight on 26th move. Shyaam also lost his bishop for the opponent’s queen, which was obtained by pawn promotion. The rest was mere technique.

Railways international master Arghyadip Das with four GM norms to his credit employed the Classical exchange variation of the Slav defence against his team mate, grandmaster RR Laxman. With a periodical procession of all the pieces except the queen from the board to the table, they reached a symmetrical queen and pawn ending, wherein a draw agreement was signed after 25 moves.

World Cup winner Levon Aronian used the the Ragozin defence of Queens Gambit Declined to defeat former world champion Vishy Anand in 2015. But the defending champion Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu had to be satisfied with a draw in a rook vs rook and pawn ending against Railways grandmaster Swapnil Dhopade.

Odisha’s only grandmaster Debashis Das messed up in a completely winning game against former national champion Abhijit Kunte of PSPB missing his pawn’s promotion to settle for a draw.

Round 12 on 2017/11/09 at 10:00 AM
Bo. No. Rtg Name Result Name Rtg No.
1 14 2516 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade ½ – ½ GM Karthikeyan Murali 2578 13
2 1 2392 GM Laxman R.R. ½ – ½ IM Das Arghyadip 2434 12
3 2 2503 GM Kunte Abhijit ½ – ½ GM Debashis Das 2494 11
4 3 2573 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. 1 – 0 GM Himanshu Sharma 2510 10
5 4 2310 Sammed Jaykumar Shete 1 – 0 IM Shyaamnikhil P 2422 9
6 5 2477 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. 0 – 1 IM Nitin S. 2415 8
7 6 2568 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan 0 – 1 GM Lalith Babu M R 2525 7
Round 13 on 2017/11/10 at 10:00 AM
Bo. No. Rtg Name Result Name Rtg No.
1 7 2525 GM Lalith Babu M R GM Swapnil S. Dhopade 2516 14
2 8 2415 IM Nitin S. GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan 2568 6
3 9 2422 IM Shyaamnikhil P GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. 2477 5
4 10 2510 GM Himanshu Sharma Sammed Jaykumar Shete 2310 4
5 11 2494 GM Debashis Das GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. 2573 3
6 12 2434 IM Das Arghyadip GM Kunte Abhijit 2503 2
7 13 2578 GM Karthikeyan Murali GM Laxman R.R. 2392 1