SPORT

Saha still the leader

JALANDHAR OCT. 3. Some fierce battles on the top boards and the sense of urgency displayed by some illustrious players in desperate situations marked the 10th round of the National `B' chess championship at the PAP Complex here on Thursday.

Though seven of the top 10 boards ended in draws, what made them different from the events of the previous evening was the aggressive posture of the contenders.

Though there was not much change in the standings, Asian junior runner-up S. Satyapragyan, M. R. Venkatesh, T. S. Ravi, Satchidanand Soman, Aravinda Shastri and Saptarshi Roy notched up important victories to enhance their chances of qualifying for the National `A'.

Top seed Sandipan Chanda was again involved in a draw. Former Asian junior bronze medallist K. Ratnakaran had Sandipan in a spot of bother for the better part of their French Defence game before sharing the honours.

The day also saw D. V. Prasad and Lanka Ravi, seeded six and seven, breathe easy after winning their matches. In order to justify their seeding and reputation, these veterans, with seven points each, have their task cut out in the remaining three rounds. At present, 13 players are ahead of them, with another 16 for company.

On the top board, former champion Tejas Bakre refused a draw offer from leader Suvrajit Saha but eventually signed the peace-treaty after 52 moves. The result took Saha's tally to 8.5 points. The Railwayman, representing Bengal, managed to maintain his overnight half-point lead over the field as the next four boards also ended in draws.

Prathmesh Mokal and S. Kidambi were involved in a 25-move draw on the second board before G. B. Prakash and Neelotpal Das ended their 34-move battle by signing the peace-treaty on the third.

Before the result of the Sandipan-Ratnakaran match was known, LIC teammates and IMs, Anup Deshmukh and Dinesh Kumar Sharma, tested each other for 23 moves before agreeing to share the point.

The results:

10th round: Tejas Bakre (7.5) drew with Suvrajit Saha (8.5); Prathmesh Mokal (8) drew with S. Kidambi (7.5); G. B. Prakash (7.5) drew with Neelotpal Das (7.5); Sandipan Chanda (7) drew with K. Ratnakaran (7); Anup Deshmukh (7) drew with Dinesh Kumar Sharma (7); Vivek Kumar Shukla (6.5) lost to S. Satyapragyan (7.5); M. R. Venkatesh (7.5) bt Deepan Chakkravarthy (6.5); Arindam Mukherjee (6.5) lost to T. S. Ravi (7.5); Nassir Wajih (7) drew with Atanu Lahiri (7); Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury (7) drew with K. Visweswaran (7); Satchidanand Soman (7.5) bt B. S. Shivanandan (6.5); Aravinda Shastri (7.5) bt Vishal Sareen (6.5); Saptarshi Roy (7.5) bt Jayant Gokhale (6.5).

Preetham Sharma (7) drew with Amit Kumar Medda (7); Lanka Ravi (7) bt Krishan Soni (6.5); Roktim Bandyopadhyay (7) bt M. Srinivasa Rao (6); S. K. Rathore (6) lost to C. S. Gokhale (7); N. Sudhakar Babu (7) bt Kanwarjeet Singh (6); Prasenjit Dutta (6.5) drew with P. Konguvel (6.5); Brajesh Agarwal (6) lost to Shankar Roy (7); R. R. Laxman (6) lost to G. Rohit (7); C. Natarajan (6) lost to Apollosana Mangang (7); K. Ramu (7) bt Valay Parikh (6); Rahul Shetty (6.5) bt Santosh Kumar Sinha (5.5); K. V. Shantaram (6) drew with Nisha Mohota (6); Ravi Hedge (6.5) bt V. Hariharan (5.5); K. Gunasekharan (6.5) bt Yogesh Gore (5.5).

Poobesh Anand (6.5) bt Moti Ram (5.5); N. Sanjay (6.5) bt Virender Singh Negi (5.5); Pankaj Joshi (6) drew with Vikas Sharma (6); Debasish Mukherjee (5.5) lost to Vikramaditya Kamble (6.5); Varugeese Koshy (6) drew with C. Praveen Kumar (6); Gurpreetpal Singh (6) drew with Utpal Baruah (6); K. Nikhilesh Kumar (6) drew with Sharad Tilak (6); C. J. Arvind (6.5) bt Deepak Rajput (5.5); G. N. Gopal (6) drew with Shashikant Kutwal (6); Hemant Kumar Mandhare (5.5) lost to Arghyadip Das (6.5); Rishipal Singh (6.5) bt D. Sai Srinivas (5.5); Sayantan Dutta (6.5) bt Ajay Pande (5.5); G. Srikanth (6) drew with Ravi Kumar (6); P. Phoobalan (6) drew with Akshayraj Kore (6); Mary Ann Gomes (6) drew with G. Balaji (6); Chiraranjan Bhuyan (5.5) lost to G. B. Joshi (6.5); R. Srinivasan (5.5) lost to Neeraj Kumar Mishra (6); Somak Palit (6) bt J. Malleswara Rao (5); B. T. Muralikrishna (6) bt Sriram Sarja (5); Laltu Chatterjee (5) lost to Pratik R. Shriwas (6); Tania Sachdev (5) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (6); Kiran Panditrao (6) bt Vinod Sharma (5).

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