The days of fiercely-fought decisive battles are back in the National chess championship.

A welcome change in format, from the Swiss league to the round-robin league, has thrown up a series of positives even as the premier event headed for the halfway mark after a rest day on Monday.

In six rounds, K. Sasikiran and Lalith Babu have shown irrepressible form, winning five times each. With seven rounds to go, it is still anybody’s race with B. Adhiban, trailing the two by just half a point.

The most refreshing feature of the event so far is the high percentage of decisive games. Out of the 42 games so far winners, including 16 for those playing with white pieces.

Lalith has emerged as the biggest gainer so far. He has collected 17 rating points by performing at a whopping 2871 against his current rating of 2569.

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