Arvind Aaron

Chennai: Third seed G.N. Gopal of Bharat Petroleum, Aluva, trapped the queen of defending champion and top seed Surya Shekhar Ganguly of Kolkata before beating him in the tenth round of the Velammal National ‘A’ chess championship being played at the M.A.C. Stadium here on Tuesday.

Ganguly, who was forced to cede a knight and save his queen and continue, suffered his first defeat of the tournament on the 40th move. Though jolted, Ganguly leads the 44-player event by half a point on 7.5/10. In the second place on seven points are two Bharat Petroleum players, M.R.Venkatesh of Chennai and Gopal. Three rounds remain to be played. In the inconclusive post-game analysis, it was found that Ganguly could save his position with an alternate knight move on move 18. Gopal’s win had opened up the title race in this event.

Decisive games at the top drastically reduced the number of undefeated players in the meet to just Gopal. In the previous edition at Valsad, seven players remained undefeated and dull draws were the order of many rounds. Younger fighters like Parimarjan Negi of Delhi and others who stand for uncompromising play have considerably warmed the field.

Venkatesh excels

International Master M.R. Venkatesh did what six grandmasters could not achieve by defeating M.S. Thejkumar of Mysore. Venkatesh showed the respect for Thejkumar and offered a draw on the 24th turn with the white pieces.

Thejkumar who had beaten all previous International Masters tried to defeat one more with the Caro-Kann and failed in his mission when he overstepped the time limit in a lost position.

Abhijit Kunte of Indian Oil, Pune, sacrificed two rooks for queen and pawn to obtain a winning ending that forced Neelotpal Das of Kolkata to resign on the 33rd move. Neelotpal had earlier gone for a Keres attack in the opening with the white pieces.

Important results (round ten): G.N. Gopal 7 bt S.S. Ganguly 7.5, M.R. Venkatesh 7 bt M.S. Thejkumar 6, Neelotpal Das 5.5 lost to A. Kunte 6.5, D. Barua 5.5 lost to Arun Prasad 6.5, P. Negi 5.5 drew with S.P. Sethuraman 6, R.B. Ramesh 5.5 drew with Roktim Bandyopadyay 5.5, Vidit Gujrathi 5.5 drew with Tejas Bakre 5.5, K. Ratnakaran 6 bt S. Saha 5, Sudhakar Babu 5.5 drew with Saptarshi Roy 5.5, P.M. Thipsay 5 drew with S.R. Chowdhury 5.5, Deepan Chakkravarthy 5 drew with Shashikant Kutwal 5, Prathamesh Mokal 5 drew with Nisha Mohota 5.

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