Saravanan holds Campora, Ramesh posts win

BENASQUE, JULY 12. International Master V. Saravanan of India held experienced Grandmaster Sivori Campora to a draw to be joint second with compatriot R.B. Ramesh after the sixth round of the Benasque Open chess tournament here.

Saravanan and Ramesh, who defeated Volman Horassio by playing an attacking game, have five points each - half a point behind the joint leaders.

Top seed GM Lev Psakhis (5) of Israel lost his first game since October last year in a controversial match against lowly rated Gonzalez Rodriguez. Psakhis protested against arbiter's decision of awarding an extra minute to his opponent and quit the tournament.

Four players - Silvio Damakov, Komljenovk, Mihail Marin and Martin Gonzalez - share the lead with 5.5 points each.

Saravanan followed the recommendations of legendary GM Mikhael Tal from the black side of the Sicilian Rossolino variation and appeared to land in a mini trouble in the opening against Campora.

Later in a complicated middlegame, both players had their chances and in mutual time trouble the game drifted to a rook and pawn endgame where Saravanan was a pawn down. The Indian put up a good defence and drew the game.

IM Ramesh won an attacking game against Volman from the black side of an irregular opening. Ramesh got easy equality in the opening and went for an attack on the white's king.

He manoeuvred both the rooks to the fifth and sixth rank and sacrificed a rook and a knight to win white's queen in a neat combination of attack. Ramesh won the game in 40 moves to boost his points tally.

Vedant Goswami, the third Indian in the fray, survived many anxious moments in his game against Rebole Arbea before managing a draw. Vedant played a faulty opening and landed in a mating attack quite early in the game. He defended stoutly and got a draw in the endgame.

Meanwhile, there were lot of fighting draws on the top boards, which left GM Komljenovic, Marin, Danailov and Martin Gonzalez lead the table with 5.5 points.

Psakhis failed to get to an equality from the opening in the game against Rodriguez Gonzalez after losing his queen early on. Psakhis then played a masterly queenless middlegame to wrest the initiative and get near the winning position.

In the sudden death time control, Psakhis had 15 minutes on his clock while his opponent had just under a minute. The Israeli top seed blundered his rook at this point and stopped writing the scoresheet.

The arbiter interfered and awarded one minute extra to his opponent as he had only 10 seconds remaining on the clock. Psakhis resigned immediately protesting that he should have been warned in the first instance and walked out of the tournament.

``I will never play in Benasque again,'' fumed Psakhis before leaving the venue.