Grandmaster M.R. Venkatesh consolidated his position at the top, beating Petroleum colleague and International Master P. Karthikeyan to net 6.5 points after eighth rounds of the Tata National premier chess here on Tuesday.

Playing on the top board, Venkatesh had little difficulty in putting it across Kartikeyan in a Scotch defence. With five more rounds to go, Venkatesh is followed by four players — GM Deep Sengupta, GM G.N. Gopal (both Petroleum), IM Swapnil Dhopade (Railways) and GM Sahaj Grover (Delhi) – with 5.5 points each.

Swapnil Dhopade employed Sicilian defence with black pieces and drew against GM Deep Sengupta in 38 moves.

Swapnil needs a draw

Deep drew by perpetual check when Swapnil threatened to reach a mating position against the former. Swapnil now needs a draw in the next round to get his maiden GM norm.

Grandmaster G.N. Gopal made short work of IM S. Satyapragyan in a sharp tactical game which arose from the Sicilian defence. FM Anurag Mhamal held GM Abhijit Kunte to a draw with the black pieces. Sahaj Grover showed his class by shattering G. Akash’s kingside with a bishop sacrifice on move 14 in a closed Sicilian.

Grover won three pawns for the pieces after which Akash struggled to defend the king and went down in 28 moves.

IM Vidit Santosh Gujarathi continued his impressive run when he drew against GM S. Arun Prasad in 27 moves.

The results (eighth round): M.R. Venkatesh (6.5) bt P. Karthikeyan (5); Deep Sengupta (5.5) drew with Swapnil Dhopade (5.5); G.N. Gopal (5.5) bt S. Satyapragyan (4.5); Abhijit Kunte (5) drew with Anurag Mhamal (5); Sahaj Grover (5.5) drew with G. Akash (4.5); Vidit Santosh Gujarathi (5) drew with S. Arun Prasad (5); B. Adhiban (4.5) drew with Debashis Das (4.5); Dibyendu Barua (4) lost to Deepan Chakraborthy (5); S.P. Sethuraman (4.5) bt S. Kidambi (4); Bitan Banerjee (4) drew with Neelotpal Das (4); Praveen Thipsay (4.5) bt V.A.V. Rajesh (3.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (4) drew with Diptayan Ghosh (4); Swayams Mishra (3.5) drew with S.L. Narayanan (4); M.L. Abhilash Reddy (3) lost to M.R. Lalith Babu (4); Saptarshi Roy (4) bt C.R.G. Krishna (3); Sagar Shah (3.5) bt Pratik Patil (2); C. Praveen Kumar (3) lost to K. Praneeth Surya (4); Suvrajit Saha (3) drew with Sashikant Kutwal (3.5); B.T. Murali Krishnan (3) drew with Ram S. Krishnan (3); S. Ravi Teja (3) drew with Murali Kartikeyan (3); Mary Ann Gomes (3.5) bt Sohan Phadke (2).

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