Swati docked one point

Swati Ghate ruminates her next move as K. Sasikiran watches in the National `A' chess championship at Nagpur on Thursday. - Photo: R.V. Moorthy

Swati Ghate ruminates her next move as K. Sasikiran watches in the National `A' chess championship at Nagpur on Thursday. - Photo: R.V. Moorthy  

NAGPUR, JAN. 31. An unprecedented penalty for Swati Ghate, a miraculous escape for Dibyendu Barua and a narrow lead for K. Sasikiran. All this and more happened in the 15th round of the BPCL National `A' chess championship here on Thursday.

For the last seven months, the diminutive Swati may have grown in stature after becoming the first woman to qualify for the men's National `A'. But today, she faced the ignominy of being the first player in the country's chess history to be docked a point for being the beneficiary of a `fixed' match.

It may be recalled that Swati had `gained' a point from her 12th round match against Surya Sekhar Ganguly following a mockery. Today, the result of this match was nullified to reduce Swati's tally to 5.5 points. Swati, who lost to Sasikiran today, began the day with 6.5 points but was apprised of the decision of the Chief Arbiter, Mr. T.N. Bahadure, after the round.

At the behest of the AICF secretary, Mr. P.T. Ummer Koya, Mr. Bahadure arrived at the decision after consulting the senior players here on Wednesday evening. But the bigger blow for Swati was that her 13-round Woman Grandmaster norm, which she presumably made, also stood invalidated.

Coming back to the on-board action, Hari was left regretting one false move in the rook-and-pawn ending which helped Barua get into a stalemate position. Barua, who had declined Hari's draw-offer during their 85-move battle, had only seconds remaining on his clock when Hari faltered to give Barua a theoretically drawn ending. Hari, despite having 38 minutes on his clock, paid for his haste and failed to match Sasikiran's tally at the top of the table.

As things stand, with four rounds remaining, Sasikiran leads with 11.5 points, followed by Hari (11) and Barua (10.5).

Ganguly moved to 10 points after an easy victory over P. Magesh Chandran. V. Saravanan (9) was next, just ahead of Abhijit Kunte and Sriram Jha.

The results (15th round): N. Sudhakar Babu (7.5) drew with Varugeese Koshy (5.5); P. Magesh Chandran (7) lost to Surya Sekhar Ganguly (10); K. Sasikiran (11.5) bt Swati Ghate (5.5); S. Vijayalakshmi (6) bt B.T. Muralikrishnan (2.5); Dibyendu Barua (10.5) drew with P. Hari Krishna (11); Chandrashekhar Gokhale (8) drew with V. Saravanan (9); D.V. Prasad (6.5) drew with Sriram Jha (8.5); R.B. Ramesh (7) drew with Abhijit Kunte (8.5); Vishal Sareen (7.5) bt Neeraj Kumar Mishra (4.5); Pravin Thipsay (7) bt P. Konguvel (5.5).

16th round pairings: Koshy-Konguvel; Mishra-Thipsay; Kunte-Sareen; Saravanan-Prasad; Hari-Gokhale; Muralikrishnan-Barua; Swati-Vijayalakshmi; Ganguly-Sasikiran and Babu-Magesh.

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