The three overnight leaders, Grandmasters G.N. Gopal and M.R. Venkatesh and International Master Swapnil Dhopade, continued to lead the field with 4.5 points at the end of the sixth round of the Tata National premier chess championship at the Khudiram Indoor Hall here on Saturday.
Seven players were in the joint second position with four points each in the 13-round Swiss event that is being organised by the Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy and All Sport Management.
On the top board, Venkatesh and Gopal drew in 44 moves after a hard fought battle in a Reti opening. Swapnil kept alive his chances of a maiden GM norm when he drew with IM Vidit Gujarati in 28 moves in a Queen’s pawn opening.
Aravindh causes stir
The youngest player of the tournament, Aravindh Chithambaram, caused another stir when he overpowered Swayams Mishra. The 13-year-old began the tournament by defeating Barua and later annihilated WGM Mary Ann Gomes. The Madurai player is truly having a roller-coaster ride.
Meanwhile, IM P. Kartikeyan held GM Deepan Chakkravarthy to a 33-move draw in a Grunfeld defence, while GM Deep Sengupta of Petroleum won an impressive game against GM Sundarajan Kidambi, also of Petroleum, to take his tally to four points. Sengupta captured a piece on the 21st move and won the game in 46 moves.
The results: Sixth round: M.R. Venkatesh (4.5) drew with G.N. Gopal (4.5); Swapnil Dhopade (4.5) drew with Vidit Gujarati (4); P. Kartikeyan (4) drew with Deepan Chakkravarthy (4); B. Adhiban (4) bt S. Arun Prasad (3.5); Deep Sengupta (4) bt S. Kidambi (3); Abhijit Kunte (3.5) drew with S. Satyapragyan (3); G. Akash (4) bt Neelotpal Das (3); Sahaj Grover (4) bt M.R. Lalith Babu (2.5); Sagar Shah (2.5) lost to S.P. Sethuraman (3.5); C. Praveen Kumar (3) drew with Debashis Das (3); Dibyendu Barua (3) drew with Bitan Banerjee (3); Anurag Mhamal (3.5) bt Saptarshi Roy (2.5); Praveen Thipsay (3) drew with C.R.G. Krishna (3); S.L. Narayanan (3.5) bt Diptayan Ghosh (2.5); B.T. Murali Krishnan (2.5) lost to V.A.V. Rajesh (3.5); Swayams Mishra (2.5) lost to Aravindh Chithambaram (3.5); M.L. Abhilash Reddy (3) bt Sashikant Kutwal (2); Mary Ann Gomes (2) drew with K Praneeth Surya (2.5); Suvrajit Saha (2) drew with S. Ravi Teja (2); Arindam Mukherjee (2) drew with Murali Kartikeyan (2); Pratik Patil (2) drew Ram S. Krishnan (1.5); Sohan Phadke (1) got a bye.