Close on the heels of city archers Ch. Jignas and Ritul Chatterjee's silver-medal winning performance in the ongoing Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, International Master M.R. Lalith Babu added lustre to the image of the sports-loving city by winning the national junior boys title at the 40th national (under-19) junior chess championship that concluded at Puri (Orissa) on Saturday.

He hauled 8.5 points out of 11 rounds to emerge champion. Commissioner of Police P.S.R. Anjaneyulu and Municipal Commissioner G. Ravi Babu congratulated Lalith Babu on his achievement.

“Lalith Babu has set a fine example to the youth of Vijayawada and also the nation. I wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” Mr. Anjaneyulu said. Mr. Ravi Babu also had a word of appreciation to Lalith's coach Murali Krishna and his parents, for their contribution to his success.

Speaking to The Hindu, Lalith Babu said he would clinch the elusive GM title this year. “I have already achieved two GM norms and I am waiting for the final one. I will be participating in the national ‘A' chess championship, considered the strongest tourney in the country best of chess brains vie for the honours in New Delhi this December. I stand a fair chance of garnering more points,” he said.

Andhra Pradesh has already produced two Grand Masters in Koneru Humpy and P. Harikrishna.

The likes of Lalith Babu and Dronavalli Harika are also waiting for her final norm to become a Grand Master.

DSDO B. Sudhakar, Krishna District Olympic Association secretary K.P. Rao and Krishna District Chess Association secretary D. Srihari hailed Lalith Babu's performance.

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