There was no stopping M.R. Lalith Babu as he crushed P. Shyamnikhil in just 27 moves to maintain his winning sequence for a half-point lead after three rounds of the Jain National chess championship here on Thursday.

Playing white, Lalith came up with a fine tactical stroke, sacrificing a bishop, to hasten the end for a hat-trick of victories.

K. Sasikiran scored his second victory, dismissing defending champion G. Akash, to stay in the second place.

Top seed Parimarjan Negi settled for a third straight draw after facing Deepan Chakkravarthy for 28 moves.

National challengers’ champion M.S. Thej Kumar’s second victory in succession resulted in consecutive losses for K. Ratnakaran.

The results: Third round: Akshat Khamparia (1.5) drew with Debashis Das (1); Ashwin Jayaram (1.5) drew with G.A. Stany (2); K. Sasikiran (2.5) bt G. Akash (0.5); Deepan Chakkravarthy (2) drew with Parimarjan Negi (1.5); B. Adhiban (2) bt Vishnu Prasanna (0.5); M.R. Lalith Babu (3) bt P. Shyamnikhil (0.5); M.S. Thejkumar (2) bt K. Ratnakaran (0.5).

Fourth round pairings: Debashis-Ratnakaran; Shyamnikhil-Thej; Vishnu-Lalith; Negi-Adhiban; Akash-Deepan; Stany-Sasikiran; Akshat-Ashwin.

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