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Commonwealth Chess: No stopping Abhijeet Gupta

Abhijeet Gupta.   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

Using his endgame-expertise to the hilt, four-time winner Abhijeet Gupta proved stronger to Debashis Das in a minor-piece ending and stayed ahead after six rounds of Commonwealth chess championship here on Thursday.

Abhijeet, at 5.5 points, held a half-point lead over former champion M. R. Lalit Babu and Arjun Erigaisi. Lalit downed R. R. Laxman in a marathon stretching to 87 moves. In contrast, Arjun nailed Ajay Karthikeyan in just 29 moves.

On the top board, Abhijeet and Das fought fiercely till the 63rd move. Draw looked possible until Abhijeet managed to push one of his queen-side pawns to the seventh rank. It was clear, the lone knight of Das was overworked. Soon, Abhijeet’s dark-squared bishop and an advancing king-side pawn made Das give up.

The day also witnessed three other notable performers. Bhakti Kulkarni held second seed S. L. Narayanan, Suyog Wagh scored a rare win over Abhijit Kunte and R. Vaishali surprised M. S. Thej Kumar.

The results:

Sixth round: Abhijeet Gupta (5.5) bt Debashis Das (4.5); Bhakti Kulkarni (4.5) drew with S. L. Narayanan (4.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (4.5) drew with Swapnil Dhopade (4.5); M. R. Lalit Babu (5) bt R. R. Laxman (4); Arjun Erigaisi (5) bt Ajay Karthikeyan (4); Deepan Chakkravarthy (4.5) bt S. Nitin (4); Rahul Sangma (4) drew with P. Iniyan (3.5); Suyog Wagh (4.5) bt Abhijit Kunte (3.5); M. S. Thej Kumar (3.5) lost to R. Vaishali (4.5); Shantanu Bhambure (4) drew with P. Karthikeyan (3.5); P. Saravana Krishnan (4.5) bt P. Shyam Nikhil (3.5).

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 7:56:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/commonwealth-chess-no-stopping-abhijeet-gupta/article28285297.ece

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