Negi catches up with Ganguly

P.K. Ajith Kumar

MANGALORE: Finally, Surya Shekhar Ganguly has company at the top. The second-seeded Parimarjan Negi caught up with the defending champion at the pole position following his victory over M.S. Thejkumar in the seventh round of the 46th National ‘A’ chess championship at the Karnataka Bank Auditorium here on Tuesday.

With another six rounds left, Ganguly, who was held to a draw by fellow-Kolkatan and third seed Neelotpal Das, and Negi are on 4.5 points.

Negi, however, has played a game more than the top seed. K. Ratnakaran, who had finished runner-up to Ganguly at the last National ‘A’ in Chennai, is in the sole second position with four points, after beating Sriram Jha.

Decisive boards

As many as four boards proved decisive, with Praveen Thipsay and B. Adhiban posting their maiden wins in the competition, against Akshayraj Kore and S. Satyapragyan respectively. The game between Deepan Chakravarthy and P. Konguvel was drawn.

Negi, playing from the white side of a Karo-Cann Defence, enjoyed an advantage in space from early on and picked up a king-side pawn in a minor-piece ending. He held on to his advantage to post a nice win in 37 moves.

The Sicilian Richter-Rauzer game between Ganguly and Neelotpal lasted just 23 moves (19 of those moves had been played in a European Championship game between Alexander Mista of Poland and Yuri Yakovichof Russia in Dresden last year).

After a flurry of exchanges, that saw Neelotpal going up in material but faced with mating threats, the game was drawn with a repetition of moves.

Ratnakaran employed Modern Benoni Defence against Jha, sacrificed a pawn and won a piece before romping home in 53 moves. Adhiban beat Satyapragyan in 53 moves of a Queen’s Indian Defence, while Thipsay defeated Kore in 74 moves of a Spanish Game.

Wednesday is a rest day.

The results (seventh round):

B. Adhiban 2.5 bt S. Satyapragyan 3; Parimarjan Negi 4.5 bt M.S. Thejkumar 3; Akshayraj Kore 3 lost to Praveen Thipsay 2.5; J. Deepan Chakravarthy 3.5 drew with P. Konguvel 3; Sriram Jha 2 lost to K. Ratnakaran 4; Surya Shekhar Ganguly 4.5 drew with Neelotpal Das 3; M. Shyam Sundar 3 bye.

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