GM M.R. Venkatesh of Petroleum continued to enjoy a point’s lead after nine rounds even after playing a draw with GM Deep Sengupta in the Tata National premier chess championship on Wednesday. Those in second position overnight either lost or drew their matches, allowing Venkatesh the sole lead.
Deep Sengupta was joined by Petroleum colleague GM G.N. Gopal, IM Swapnil Dhopade (Railways) and FM Anurag Mhamal (Goa) in second position with six points each.
National under-25 champion Swapnil Dhopade, who has remained unbeaten while holding a host of Grandmasters, confirmed his maiden GM norm with a draw against GM Abhijit Kunte in 18 moves.
Anurag Mhamal also achieved his maiden GM norm by getting the better of GM Sahaj Grover of Delhi in a sharp tactical game in an English opening.
The results (Round 9):
Deep Sengupta (6) drew with M.R. Venkatesh (7); S. Arun Prasad (5.5) drew with G.N. Gopal (6); Anurag Mhamal (6) bt Sahaj Grover (5.5); Swapnil Dhopade (6) drew with Abhijit Kunte (5.5).
P. Kartikeyan (5) lost to Vidit Santosh Gujarathi (6); Deepan Chakraborthy (5) lost to B. Adhiban (5.5); S. Satyapragyan (5) drew with Praveen Thipsay (5); S. Kidambi (4) lost to G. Akash (5.5).
M.R. Lalith Babu (4.5) drew with Bitan Banerjee (4.5); Neelotpal Das (5) bt Aravindh Chithambaram (4); Diptayan Ghosh (4.5) drew with Dibyendu Barua (4.5); K. Praneeth Surya (5) bt Saptarshi Roy (4); S.L. Narayanan (4) lost to Sagar Shah (5); V.A.V. Rajesh (3.5) lost to Mary Ann Gomes (4.5).
Sashikant Kutwal (3.5) lost to Swayams Mishra (4.5); Ram S. Krishnan (3.5) drew with Suvrajit Saha (3.5).
Arindam Mukherjee (3) lost to C. Praveen Kumar (4); Pratik Patil (3.5) drew with B.T. Murali Krishnan (3.5).
C.R.G. Krishna (3.5) drew S. Ravi Teja (3.5); Sohan Phadke (2) lost to M.L. Abhilash Reddy (4).