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Ramesh softens Sriram

By Rakesh Rao

NEW DELHI: R.B. Ramesh took his time to soften Sriram Jha's aggressive intent and overpowered the defending champion to stay ahead with eight points after nine rounds of the Parsvnath National `B' chess championship at the Bapu Samaj Seva Kendra here on Tuesday.

Ramesh's 56-move victory came after 12-year-old M.R. Lalith Babu capitalised on a blunder from Himanshu Sharma and Valay Parikh gained likewise against Diwakar Prasad Singh to remain half a point behind Ramesh. Seven players, including National women's champion Nisha Mohota and Asian junior boys' champion S. Arun Prasad, were on seven points.

Even as the battle for 14 qualifying spots for the next National `A' championship gained momentum, Ramesh ruled the top board by maintaining his unbeaten streak.

In their Semi Slav game, Sriram pushed a kingside pawn to reveal his intentions but ironically offered a draw on the 13th move. Ramesh, sensing a chance to exploit Sriram's weakness of the kingside pawns, continued.

Later, Sriram gained a rook for a bishop and a pawn but Ramesh was better off with the compensation. After further simplification, the endgame saw Ramesh enjoying a four-versus-two pawn-advantage on the kingside while Sriram had a lone pawn on the queen's side. Ramesh's accurate continuation gave no respite to Jha.

Amazing run

Vijaywada-lad Lalith Babu, with a modest rating of 2209, continued to amaze as he reached 7.5 points and remained within striking distance of a place in the next National `A'.

For Lalith, who took up the game just four years ago, his performance so far is worth 43.5 rating points. Coming into today's round after scalping G. Balaji, G.N. Gopal and G. Rohit, Lalith did not have to work hard as Himanshu overlooked the loss of a rook for a bishop and resigned in just 29 moves.

L. Ishwariya Shobana is another young player who has caught the attention of all by some consistent performances. She defeated International Master Neeraj Kumar Mishra to take her unbeaten sequence to seven rounds. In the previous rounds, she drew with IM Dinesh Sharma, Gurpreet Pal Singh, L. Imocha and defeated D. Sai Srinivas and Prasenjit Dutta. Rated at 2109, Shobana has so far collected 48 rating points.

Former National champion P. Konguvel, Lanka Ravi, D. Harika, G. Rohit and Abhijeet Gupta were among those who kept alive their chances of qualifying by scoring much-needed victories.

The results (ninth round):

Sriram Jha (6.5) lost to R.B. Ramesh (8); Vikramaditya Kamble (7) drew with B.T. Muralikrishna (7); Himanshu Sharma (6.5) lost to M.R. Lalith Babu (7.5); Diwakar Prasad Singh (6.5) lost to Valay Parikh (7.5); Rishi Pal Singh (7) drew with Deepan Chakkravarthy (6.5).

V. Saravanan (6) lost to B. S. Shivanandan (7); Nisha Mohota (7) bt C.S. Gokhale (6); K. Ratnakaran (6) lost to S. Arun Prasad (7); P.D.S. Girinath (7) bt N. Sanjay (6); N. Sudhakar Babu (6.5) drew with Saptarshi Roy (6.5); R. R. Laxman (6.5) drew with Gurpreet Pal Singh (6.5); G. B. Joshi (5.5) lost to Lanka Ravi (6.5); Nassir Wajih (5.5) lost to P. Konguvel (6.5).

T. Abhay (5.5) lost to D. Harika (6.5); Roktim Bandyopadhyay (6) drew with T. Purushothaman (6); G. Rohit (6.5) bt L. Imocha (5.5); Akash Thakur (5.5) lost to M.S. Thej Kumar (6.5); Vishal Sareen (6) drew with M. Vinoth Kumar (6); C.N. Vaidya (6) drew with T.S. Ravi (6); Punit Jaiswal (5.5) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (6.5); K. Nikhilesh Kumar (5.5) lost to D.K. Sharma (6.5); Vikas Sharma (6) drew with Somak Palit (6).

Satchidanand Soman (6) drew with Kiran Manisha Mohanty (6); L. Ishwarya Shobana (6.5) bt N.K. Mishra (5.5); R. Preetham Sharma (6.5) bt Anewash Upadhayay (5.5); R. Ashwath (6.5) bt Shashikant Kutwal (5.5); N.V.S. Ramaraju (5.5) lost to O.T. Anil Kumar (6.5); S. Mari Arul (6.5) bt Ajay Pandey (5.5); Rupesh Kant (5) lost to Arghyadip Das (6); Deep Sengupta (6) bt S. Nitin (5); B. Adhiban (6) bt Prathamesh Mokal (5); Parimarjan Negi (5) lost to Y. Dhanabir (6).

Akashat Khamparia (6) bt Rajesh Upadhyay (5); Sekhar Sahu (6) bt Debaditya Sinha Biswas (5); A.K. Jagadeesh (5) lost to Saurabh Kherdekar (6); Santosh Kumar Sinha (5) lost to Vipal Subhashi (6); Tanmoy Patnayak (6) bt Aditya Udeshi (5); Debashish Chakraborty (5) lost to Aswin Jayaram (6).

J. Malleswara Rao (6) bt R.K. Bhogan Singh (5); D. S. Negi (5) lost to V. Hariharan (6); M.K. Panigrahi (5.5) drew with Pradeep Arora (5.5); Swayams Mishra (5) lost to Suvrajit Saha (6).

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