The sole leader for the past four rounds, GM M.R. Venkatesh, lost his lead when he was forced to forfeit his 11th round match of the Tata National premier chess for arriving past the scheduled 2.30 p.m. start.
This is first time in any national tournament that a top board player lost by default owing to the ‘zero tolerance’ rule set in place by the All India Chess Federation in 2009.
This was the first loss of the tournament for Venkaesh, who was to play G. Akash of Tamil Nadu on the top board in the 11th round. The loss meant that Venkatesh lost the sole position but remained in the lead along with three others.
G. Akash, Vidit Gujarathi and Deep Sengupta now share the top spot with Venkatesh with 7.5 points each.
Karthikeyan too defaults
Venkatesh’s fate was shared by P. Karthikeyan, who was accompanying the former from the guest house in the southern part of the city where the two are staying.
“The taxi by which we were travelling broke down midway. We boarded another taxi but were caught in the traffic snarls delaying us a lot,” said Venkatesh adding that he and Karthikeyan almost ran a kilometre to reach the venue four minutes past the starting time.
In such a situation, the chief arbiter R. Anantharam was forced to apply the clause 6.6(a) of the FIDE laws of chess to give the walkover to Akash.
In the other important matches young Vidit Gujarathi, playing white, got the better of G.N. Gopal in a rook ending in 57 moves. Deep Sengupta tried hard to win in a rook versus bishop ending against Neelotpal Das, but the latter defended well and the game was drawn in over 134 moves, which is the longest match so far in the tournament.
The results (round 11): M.R. Venkatesh (7.5) w/o G. Akash (7.5); Vidit Gujarathi (7.5) bt G.N. Gopal (6); Deep Sengupta (7.5) drew with Neelotpal Das (6.5); Swapnil Dhopade (6.5) drew with B. Adhiban (6.5); Deepan Chakravarthy (6.5) drew with Abhijit Kunte (6.5); S. Arun Prasad (7) bt Sagar Shah (6); Anurag Mhamal (6) lost to Swayams Mishra (6.5); S.P. Sethuraman (6) drew with Sahaj Grover (6); M.R. Lalith Babu (6.5) bt Praveen Thipsay (5.5); S. Satyapragyan (6) drew with Mary Ann Gomes (5.5); Debashis Das (6) bt S.L. Narayanan (5); Diptayan Ghosh (5.5) drew with K. Praneeth Surya (5.5); P. Karthikeyan (5) w/o Murali Karthikeyan (6); M.L. Abhilash Reddy (4.5) lost to Dibyendu Barua (5.5); Bitan Banerjee (5) drew with Suvrajit Saha (5); Pratik Patil (4.5) lost to C. Praveen Kumar (5.5); B.T. Murali Krishnan (5) drew with Shashikant Kutwal (5); Arindam Mukherjee (3.5) lost to S. Kidambi (5); Ram S. Krishnan (3.5) lost to S. Ravi Teja (4.5); C.R.G. Krishna (4) drew with Sohan Phadke(3).