Former World junior champion Abhijeet Gupta battled for 66 moves to down M.R. Venkatesh and maintained his half-a-point lead over G.N. Gopal and Deepan Chakkravarthy in the eighth round of the National chess championship at the MIT campus, here on Sunday.

On a day when 17 out of 24 boards provided decisive contests, Abhijeet reached 6.5 points. Gopal and Venkatesh (six points each) also won with black pieces.

The day's biggest upset was once again provided by Padmini Rout. This diminutive Bhubaneswar-girl brought down former champion B. Adhiban in 58 moves, following her victories over defending champion Parimarjan Negi and M.R. Lalith Babu.

The results: Eighth round: M.R. Venkatesh (5) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (6.5); S.P. Sethuraman (5) lost to G.N. Gopal (6); Deep Sengupta (5) lost to Deepan Chakkravarthy (6); Sriram Jha (5) drew with Abhijit Kunte (5); S. Arun Prasad (5) drew with P. Karthikeyan (5); Tejas Bakre (5.5) bt Shyam Sundar (4.5) Shyam Nikhil (5.5) bt Vikramditya Kulkarni (4.5); Padmini Rout (5) bt B. Adhiban (4); Pravin Thipsay (4) lost to M.R. Lalith Babu (5); Saptarshi Roy (4) lost to Ashwin Jayaram (5); S. Satyapragyan (3.5) lost to Parimarjan Negi (3.5); Girish Koushik (4) drew with Vidit Gujarathi (4); Neelotpal Das (3.5) lost to G. Akash (4.5).

R.R. Laxman (4) drew with B.T. Murali Krishnan (4); Swapnil Dhopade (4.5) bt Himanshu Sharma (3.5); N. Srinath (3) lost to S. Kidambi (4); K. Ratnakaran (4) bt Dinesh Sharma (3); Diptayan Ghosh (3.5) drew with P. Konguvel (3.5); Varugeese Koshy (3) lost to Aditya Udeshi (4); Shashikant Kutwal (3.5) bt Rahul Sangma (2.5); N. Sudhakar Babu (3) drew with Anup Deshmukh (3); C.R.G. Krishna (3.5) bt Swati Ghate (2.5); Soumya Swaminathan (2.5) bt Ravi Teja (2); Suvrajit Saha (2.5) drew with Arjun Tiwari (1.5).

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