P. Shyamnikhil could only delay the inevitable but not deny K. Sasikiran. After four hours, the second seed ended the suspense by completing a deserving victory and claiming a fourth National title.
Nine days before turning 33, Sasikiran gave himself a nice birthday present claiming the top prize of Rs. 2.50 lakh after some anxious moments during the 13th and final round of the Jain 51st National chess championship here on Monday.
After B. Adhiban needed just 27 moves to stop an in-form Thej Kumar to reach 10 points, Sasikiran faced a must-win situation. A draw with Shyamnikhil would have only helped Sasikiran match Adhiban’s tally.
Such a ‘tie’ suited Adhiban since the title would have come his way based on his last week’s victory over Sasikiran. But Sasikiran was in no mood to let Shyamnikhil get away with a draw. Sasikiran, a Human Resource Manager with ONGC, had enough in the tank for a longer battle.
After giving up a pawn on the 28th move, Sasikiran managed to create weaknesses around Shyamnikhil’s castled king and seized the initiative.
Five moves later, Sasikiran won back the pawn and soon grabbed another queenside pawn to look well on way to victory. Shyamnikhil tried desperately to create some opportunities to draw but Sasikiran tightened the grip with precise play in 54 moves.
“Even after Adhiban won early, I knew I was in no real danger. Though there were times when I thought Shyamnikhil had better continuations, I knew, I was clearly better-placed (to win),” said the champion.
The results (13th and final round): P. Shyamnikhil (TN, 5) lost to K. Sasikiran (ONGC, 10.5); M.S. Thej Kumar (Rlys, 8) lost to B. Adhiban (IOC, 10); M. R. Lalith Babu (IOC, 9.5) bt Debashis Das (Odi, 5.5); Vishnu Prasanna (TN, 5.5) lost to Ashwin Jayaram (TN, 7); K. Ratnakaran (Rlys, 4) drew with Deepan Chakkravarthy (TN, 7); Parimarjan Negi (BPCL, 5) gave a walkover to Akshat Khamparia (Rlys, 4.5); G. Akash (TN, 4) bt G.A. Stany (Kar, 5.5).
Final standings (top five): 1. Sasikiran (Rs. 2.50 lakh), 2. Adhiban (Rs. 1.40 lakh), 3. Lalith Babu (Rs. 1.00 lakh), 4. Thej Kumar (Rs. 80,000), 5. Ashwin Jayaram (Rs. 70,000).