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National Challengers round 10: Watch out for Lalith Babu!

by Gopakumar Sudhakaran - 21 August 2017

After scoring eight wins out of his nine games, Swapnil Dhopade decided to make a quick draw in the 10th round of the 55th National Challengers, Ahmedabad. Two of his other teammates from Railways, Ravi Teja and Himanshu Sharma, were pitted against one another on board two. They also drew their game exactly after 25 moves as Dhopade had done. On one hand, this result let Dhopade get away with his quick draw and maintain his lead, while on the other, it gave Lalith Babu MR the opportunity to join Himanshu in the second place. After sweating blood against Mary Ann Gomes in an 85 move long battle, Lalith succeeded. We have a report with games and pictures. 

Grandmaster Swapnil Dhopade of Railways has steadily maintained a lead over the rest of the field so far in the 55th National Challengers, Ahmedabad. Thanks to his unbeaten run of eight wins and a draw in nine games, Swapnil’s nearest rival, his teammate, GM Himanshu Sharma was one-point behind before the start of round 10.

With four rounds to go, the Amravati GM decided to slow down and reserve some fire power for the finale in round 10.

Playing safe on the top board, Dhopade signed the peace with S Satyapragyan of Air India in a Queen’s Indian defense. By what we have seen so far from him in this tournament, this was a rather tepid game.  

 

IM Ravi Teja also settled things peacefully...
...against his teammate and round-10 opponent, GM Himanshu Sharma

The second board encounter between railway men Himanshu Sharma and S Ravi Teja also ended in the same fashion, and believe it or not, in the same number of moves! Almost immediately out of the opening, GM Sharma was able to trade a set of minor pieces and break out in the center. As a consequence of this central break, he was left with an isolated pawn. Players could have continued to fight on in this more or less equal position but they chose to repeat moves and shook hands. 

Third seed M R Lalith Babu had to work his finger to the bone to get the better of WGM Mary Ann Gomes.

Kicking off with a Symmetrical English, Lalith pushed hard for an edge all through the middlegame and the endgame. Finally on move 38, just by the end of the first time control, the Bengali WGM fumbled and pushed her pawn to c4. This gave Lalith a target to go after and was able to gobble up the pawn quite quickly. Despite losing the pawn, Mary tried to put up a strong fight and made her opponent sweat it out in a queen endgame. The two played for more than five and half hours before Gomes threw in the towel on the 85th move.

This crucial victory took Lalith to the second spot with 8 points along with Himanshu Sharma.
[Event "55 National challengers"]
[Site "ChessKast.com"]
[Date "2017.08.20"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Lalith Babu M R"]
[Black "Gomes Mary Ann"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A37"]
[PlyCount "169"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "1:01:06"]
[BlackClock "1:22:49"]

1. c4 c5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. Nf3 d6 6. O-O e5 7. a3 Nge7 8. b4
O-O 9. Rb1 Rb8 10. d3 h6 11. e3 {A37: Symmetrical English vs ...g6: 4 Bg2 Bg7
5 Nf3} (11. Bd2 Be6 12. Ne1 f5 13. Qa4 f4 14. e3 g5 15. b5 Na5 16. Ne2 b6 17.
exf4 gxf4 18. gxf4 Ng6 19. fxe5 dxe5 {1-0 (41) Kramnik,V (2788)-Alekseev,E
(2708) Moscow 2008}) 11... Be6 {LiveBook: 3 Games} 12. b5 Na5 13. Qc2 {White
is slightly better.} b6 14. Bb2 f5 $146 ({Predecessor:} 14... Qc7 15. Nd2 Rbd8
16. Nd5 Qd7 17. Bc3 Nb7 18. a4 Rb8 {1/2-1/2 (51) Talla,V (2388)-Volodin,A
(2498) Pardubice 2012}) 15. Nd2 Qd7 16. Nd5 g5 17. Qa4 f4 18. Bc3 Bxd5 19.
Bxd5+ (19. cxd5 $16 Nf5 20. Bh3) 19... Nxd5 $14 20. cxd5 {[#]} a6 $1 21. Rb2 (
21. bxa6 Qxa4) 21... fxe3 22. fxe3 Rxf1+ 23. Nxf1 Rf8 24. e4 {Black must now
prevent Ne3.} Qf7 25. Qd1 {Bxa5 is the strong threat.} axb5 26. Ne3 {Hoping
for Nf5.} c4 27. Nf5 Nb3 28. Rf2 (28. dxc4 $16 bxc4 29. Nxd6) 28... Kh7 {
next ...Nc5 is good for Black.} 29. Bb4 $36 {White is pushing.} Nc5 30. Bxc5 $1
bxc5 31. dxc4 bxc4 32. Qa4 c3 33. Qb3 Qa7 34. Qxc3 Qa6 35. Kg2 Rf7 36. Qf3 Qa4
37. Re2 Bf8 38. Rb2 c4 {[#]} 39. Qc3 $1 Rc7 40. Ne3 Be7 41. Rb4 Qa7 42. Rxc4
Rxc4 43. Nxc4 Qc5 44. Qd3 Bd8 45. Qe2 Kg7 46. a4 Bb6 47. Nxb6 Qxb6 $18 {
Endgame KQ-KQ} 48. h4 Qb4 (48... gxh4 $142 49. Qg4+ (49. gxh4 Qb4 $16) 49...
Kh7) 49. hxg5 hxg5 $2 (49... Qxa4 50. Qg4 hxg5 51. Qxg5+ Kh7) 50. Qg4 Qxa4 51.
Qxg5+ Kf7 52. Qf5+ Kg7 53. Kh3 Qa1 54. Qd7+ Kg6 {( -> ...Qh1+)} 55. Qf5+ (55.
Qe6+ $142 Kg7 56. Qxd6) 55... Kg7 56. Kg4 Qd1+ {[#]} 57. Qf3 $1 Qc1 58. Kh4 Qc2
59. Qg4+ Kf7 60. Qd7+ Kg8 61. Qxd6 Qxe4+ 62. Kg5 Qe3+ 63. Kf6 Qf3+ 64. Kxe5
Qxg3+ 65. Ke6 Qg4+ 66. Ke7 {Threatens to win with Qe6+.} Qh4+ 67. Qf6 {White
is clearly winning.} Qh7+ 68. Kd8 Qb1 {intending ...Qb8+.} 69. d6 Qb6+ 70. Ke7
Qb4 71. Qg5+ Kh7 72. Kf7 Qc4+ 73. Ke8 Qc8+ 74. Ke7 Qb7+ 75. d7 Qe4+ 76. Kf8
Qf3+ 77. Ke8 Qc6 78. Qf5+ Kg7 79. Ke7 Qb7 80. Qg5+ Kh7 81. Qh4+ Kg7 82. Qg4+
Kh7 83. Qc4 {White wants to mate with Ke8.} Qa7 84. Qe4+ Kg7 85. Ke8 1-0

Top seed, Aravindh Chithambaram beat Fenil Shah of Gujarat to join the seven-way tie for fourth place
[Event "55 National challengers"]
[Site "ChessKast.com"]
[Date "2017.08.20"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Fenil Shah"]
[Black "Aravindh Chithambaram Vr."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D00"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:35:26"]
[BlackClock "0:26:22"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bf4 Bg7 4. e3 O-O 5. Be2 d5 6. O-O c5 7. Nc3 cxd4 8.
exd4 Bg4 {LiveBook: 5 Games. D00: 1 d4 d5: Unusual lines} (8... Nc6 9. Ne5 Bf5
10. Re1 Rc8 11. Nxc6 Rxc6 12. Bb5 Rc8 13. Bd3 Bxd3 14. Qxd3 Qb6 15. Rab1 e6 16.
Be5 Qc6 17. Re2 a6 {1/2-1/2 (44) Wegerle,J (2438)-Seel,C (2471) Germany 2017})
9. Ne5 Bxe2 10. Qxe2 Nc6 {The position is equal.} 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Be5 e6 13.
Na4 Nd7 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. c4 $146 ({Predecessor:} 15. Qa6 Qc7 {1/2-1/2 (15)
Stevanovic,V (2305)-Marinkovic,S (2320) Belgrade 1989}) 15... Qf6 16. Rad1 Nb6
17. Nxb6 axb6 18. a3 Rfd8 19. Rfe1 ({White should try} 19. Qc2 $15) 19... Ra4
$17 20. c5 (20. Qd2 $17) 20... bxc5 $19 (20... Rxd4 21. cxb6 Rb8 22. b4 $17)
21. dxc5 Rb8 22. Rd2 Re4 23. Qd1 Rxe1+ ({Not} 23... Rxb2 24. Rxe4 dxe4 25. Rxb2
$17) 24. Qxe1 Rxb2 25. Rxb2 Qxb2 {Endgame KQ-KQ} 26. h3 Kf6 27. a4 d4 28. Qd1
Qc3 29. a5 d3 {[#] aiming for ...d2.} ({Don't take} 29... Qxc5 30. a6 $17) 30.
Kf1 (30. a6 {was forced.}) 30... Qxa5 31. Qf3+ Ke7 {( -> ...Qa1+)} 32. Qxd3 Qb5
0-1

The seven-player pack tied for fourth with 7.5/10 includes  Debashis Das, Arghyadip Das, Deepan Chakkravarthy, S Satyapragyan, Nitin S and S Ravi Teja.

Results of round 10

Bo.

No.

 

Name

Rtg

Pts.

Result

Pts.

 

Name

Rtg

No.

1

5

GM

Swapnil S. Dhopade

2516

½ - ½

7

IM

Satyapragyan Swayangsu

2410

16

2

19

IM

Ravi Teja S.

2383

7

½ - ½

GM

Himanshu Sharma

2514

6

3

3

GM

Lalith Babu M R

2529

7

1 - 0

7

WGM

Gomes Mary Ann

2344

23

4

27

 

Fenil Shah

2326

0 - 1

GM

Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.

2579

1

5

7

GM

Kunte Abhijit

2505

½ - ½

IM

Padmini Rout

2327

26

6

25

 

Navalgund Niranjan

2335

0 - 1

GM

Debashis Das

2493

8

7

65

 

Koustav Chatterjee

2108

0 - 1

GM

Deepan Chakkravarthy J.

2466

10

8

13

IM

Shyaamnikhil P

2447

½ - ½

GM

Sriram Jha

2375

20

9

96

 

Kamdar Udit

1947

0 - 1

IM

Nitin S.

2421

14

10

15

IM

Das Arghyadip

2419

1 - 0

 

Jayakumaar S

2197

48

Rank after round 10

Rk.

SNo

 

Name

sex

FED

Rtg

Club/City

Pts.

 TB1 

 TB2 

 TB3 

 TB4 

 TB5 

1

5

GM

Swapnil S. Dhopade

 

IND

2516

RSPB

9,0

0,0

62,5

67,0

59,25

8,0

2

3

GM

Lalith Babu M R

 

IND

2529

PSPB

8,0

1,0

58,5

63,5

51,00

6,0

3

6

GM

Himanshu Sharma

 

IND

2514

RSPB

8,0

0,0

63,0

69,0

52,75

7,0

4

1

GM

Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.

 

IND

2579

TN

7,5

0,0

60,0

64,5

45,50

6,0

5

15

IM

Das Arghyadip

 

IND

2419

RSPB

7,5

0,0

59,5

64,5

47,00

5,0

6

8

GM

Debashis Das

 

IND

2493

ODI

7,5

0,0

59,5

64,0

47,25

6,0

7

10

GM

Deepan Chakkravarthy J.

 

IND

2466

RSPB

7,5

0,0

59,0

63,0

45,75

7,0

8

16

IM

Satyapragyan Swayangsu

 

IND

2410

AI

7,5

0,0

58,5

63,5

46,75

5,0

9

14

IM

Nitin S.

 

IND

2421

RSPB

7,5

0,0

57,5

62,5

44,25

6,0

10

19

IM

Ravi Teja S.

 

IND

2383

RSPB

7,5

0,0

55,0

59,0

43,00

5,0

Round 11 Pairing

Bo.

No.

 

Name

Rtg

Pts.

Result

Pts.

 

Name

Rtg

No.

1

3

GM

Lalith Babu M R

2529

8

 

9

GM

Swapnil S. Dhopade

2516

5

2

6

GM

Himanshu Sharma

2514

8

 

GM

Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.

2579

1

3

8

GM

Debashis Das

2493

 

IM

Das Arghyadip

2419

15

4

10

GM

Deepan Chakkravarthy J.

2466

 

IM

Satyapragyan Swayangsu

2410

16

5

14

IM

Nitin S.

2421

 

IM

Ravi Teja S.

2383

19

6

24

FM

Erigaisi Arjun

2342

7

 

7

GM

Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan

2564

2

7

7

GM

Kunte Abhijit

2505

7

 

7

GM

Roy Chowdhury Saptarshi

2317

29

8

26

IM

Padmini Rout

2327

7

 

7

IM

Shyaamnikhil P

2447

13

9

35

IM

Kathmale Sameer

2275

7

 

7

GM

Laxman R.R.

2397

17

10

20

GM

Sriram Jha

2375

7

 

7

 

Akash Pc Iyer

2304

30

About the author:

Image result for Gopakumar ChessBase India

Gopakumar became an A-grade International Arbiter during the FIDE Arbiter's Commission meeting. He is only the fifth Indian to achieve this feat. He was the chief arbiter at two 2600+ double round-robin events, Asian Youth Chief Arbiter at South Korea, Deputy chief arbiter at Asian Youth and Asian Junior at New Delhi. He dedicates his success to the Air Force background that he comes from. 

Previous reports on National Challengers 2017:

Parthiv Patel at the opening ceremony

14-year-old holds Sriram Jha to a draw

National Challengers 2017 Round 2+3: Day of underdogs!

Mary Ann Gomes wins an instructive rook endgame

National Challengers Round 5+6: Swapnil, Himanshu, Sammed lead with 5.5/6

National challengers round 7: Railway GMs Swapnil and Himanshu maintain their stronghold

National challengers round 8: Himanshu's fumble catapults Swapnil into sole lead

National Challengers round 9: Swapnil Dhopade is unstoppable


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