Chennai: Double round days take most of the energy out of players. Saturday was one of them.
Second seed B.T. Muralikrishnan of Southern Railway (Madurai) and R. Siddharth of Anna University, representing Chennai district, scored double wins in rounds eight and nine to wrest the lead with 7.5 points each in the Tamil Nadu State chess championship at the Nehru Stadium, here on Saturday.
In the eighth round, Muralikrishnan defended well to win after top seed Prakash went for an ambitious queen sacrifice for a piece and two pawns on the sixth rank.
In the ninth round, Muralikrishnan won a one-sided contest picking up a pawn in the opening against P. Maheswaran.
Siddharth of Chennai played the Sicilian defence with the black pieces and sacrificed a rook for knight in typical classical fashion. He won a central pawn and the game against Phoobalan of Coimbatore to be among the two leaders.
In the morning, Siddharth had defeated Narayanan of Sivagangai with the white.
The third place is shared by three players, G.B. Prakash, Arun Karthik, and V.A.V. Rajesh with seven points.
Two rounds remain to be played.
Earlier, in the morning session, second seed Muralikrishnan returned some of the sacrificed material to defeat G.B. Prakash with black. He shared the lead with P. Maheswaran, P. Phoobalan, Vinoth Kumar and Siddharth with 6.5/8 points mid-way through the day.
Important results: Round nine: B.T. Muralikrishnan (Rly) 7.5 bt P. Maheswaran (Vir) 6.5, P. Phoobalan (Cbe) 6.5 lost to R. Siddharth (Che) 7.5, Vinoth Kumar (Che) 6.5 lost to G.B. Prakash (IB) 7, R. Balasubramaniam (ICF) 6.5 drew with Shyam Nikhil (Mdu) 6.5, Arun Karthik (Che) 7 bt S.A. Shazuli (Kan) 6, V.A.V. Rajesh (Che) 7 bt T.U. Navin Kanna (Tvlr) 6, Sudhakar Babu (IB) 6.5 bt P. Saravanakrishnan (SJE) 6, K. Narayanan (Siv) 6 drew with D.P. Singh (Rly) 6.
Round eight: G.B. Prakash lost to B.T. Muralikrishnan, Shyam Nikhil drew with P. Maheswaran, D.P. Singh lost to P. Phoobalan, R. Ashwath lost to Vinoth Kumar, R. Siddharth bt K. Narayanan.