Grandmaster M.R. Venkatesh of Petroleum registered his second successive win to join overnight leader Swapnil Dhopade of Railways at the top with 3.5 points on the fourth day of the Tata National premier chess here on Thursday.

While Venkatesh beat Petroleum colleague Neelotpal Das, Swapnil drew his game against GM G.N. Gopal of Petroleum in 26 moves of Slav defence.

Venkatesh got the better of Neelotpal, going for an irregular opening which arose from a Reti opening.

In a queen and bishop versus queen and opposite-coloured bishop ending, Venkatesh had two extra pawns which went on to decide the fate of the game.

In another game between two Petroleum Grandmasters, top-seeded GM B. Adhiban and Sundararajan Kidambi drew after a prolonged battle which lasted 64 moves.

Kidambi had the advantage in the endgame as he had a rook, bishop and two pawns against Adhiban’s lone queen. But, Adhiban nullified his opponent’s advantage and forced a draw by giving perpetual checks with his queen.

Grover, Kunte post wins

GM Sahaj Grover of Delhi had little difficulty in getting the better of M.L. Abhilash Reddy of Andhra Pradesh in a rook versus knight endgame. GM Abhijit Kunte of Petroleum picked up his first full point of the tournament by beating young Aravindh Chithambaran of Tamil Nadu in 25 moves in a Catalan opening.

GM Dibyendu Barua, whose academy is co-hosting the tournament, squandered an overwhelming position in a Sicilian Paulsen against FM Anurag Mhamal of Goa and shared the honours.

The results (fourth round):

Swapnil Dhopade (3.5) drew with G.N. Gopal (3); M.R. Venkatesh (3.5) bt Neelotpal Das (2.5); B. Adhiban (2.5) drew with S. Kidambi (2.5); Debashis Das (2) lost to Deepan Chakkravarthy (3); M.L. Abhilash Reddy (2) lost to Sahaj Grover (3); P. Kartikeyan (2.5) drew with S. Arun Prasad (2.5); Vidit Gujrathi (3) bt Saptarshi Roy (2); Swayams Mishra (2.5) drew with S. Satyapragyan (2.5).

S. Ravi Teja (1.5) lost to M.R. Lalith Babu (2.5); Deep Sengupta (2.5) bt Bitan Banerjee (1.5); Abhijit Kunte (2.5) bt Aravindh Chithambaram (1.5); Dibyendu Barua (2) drew with Anurag Mhamal (2); Praveen Thipsay (2) drew with S.L. Narayanan (2); Sagar Shah (2) drew with Diptayan Ghosh (2); Mary Ann Gomes (1.5) drew with Murali Kartikeyan (1.5); C. Praveen Kumar (2) bt Sohan Phadke (1); B.T. Murali Krishnan (1.5) drew with K. Praneeth Surya (1.5).

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