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National Challengers round 11: The battle for nine qualification spots intensifies!

by Gopakumar Sudhakaran - 22 August 2017

The game between two Caro Kann experts Lalith Babu and Swapnil Dhopade was drawn on the top board. Himanshu Sharma also couldn't break through the defences of Aravindh Chithambaram. This meant that Swapnil still leads the tournament with 9.5/11, but four players are on his heels with 8.5 points. Apart from Himanshu and Aravindh, they include Deepan Chakravarthy and Debashis Das. There are only two rounds left for the tournament to end and nine spots at stake for National Premier 2017. It's heating up!

With just two rounds remaining, tournament leader Grandmaster Swapnil Dhopade of Railways is inching closer to secure his second National Challengers title in Ahmedabad. In round 11, he was pitted against the third seed in the tournament, MR Lalith Babu. Going into this ante-penultimate round encounter, Lalith was a full point behind Swapnil and this was his chance to catch Swapnil in the lead.

The battle of two Caro Kann experts of India - Lalith Babu and Swapnil Dhopade

Lalith tried hard to break through his opponent’s defences but the 2015 champion stood firm to ensure he maintained his one point lead. Playing with white pieces in the Symmetrical variation of English Opening, Lalith looked for attacking opportunities on the kingside. But Dhopade too had a number of defenders posted in the war zone. By the 28th move, it was clear that Lalith’s attack wasn’t taking him anywhere and he decided to exchange queens. Just four moves later, the players decided to sign peace and call it a day.

[Event "55 National challengers"]
[Site "ChessKast.com"]
[Date "2017.08.21"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Lalith Babu M R"]
[Black "Swapnil S. Dhopade"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A33"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:07:45"]
[BlackClock "0:12:21"]
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 e6 6. g3 Qb6 7. Ndb5 d5 8.
Bg2 d4 9. Na4 Qa5+ 10. Bd2 Qd8 11. O-O e5 12. Qb3 Be7 13. e3 O-O 14. exd4 a6
15. Nbc3 Nxd4 16. Qb6 Nc2 17. Rac1 Bf5 18. Bg5 Rb8 19. Bxf6 gxf6 20. g4 Bg6 21.
h4 Nd4 22. Rfe1 Qd7 23. Nd5 Bd8 24. Nxf6+ Bxf6 25. Qxf6 Qxg4 26. Nc3 Rfe8 27.
Re3 Re6 28. Qg5 Qxg5 29. hxg5 b6 30. Nd5 Rc8 31. b3 Kg7 32. Nc3 h6 1/2-1/2

 The second board battle between Himanshu Sharma and Aravindh Chithambaram also ended without a decisive result after 56 moves. 

Sharma went for the exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez for the second time in this event. But unlike the first time (which was against Sammed Jaykumar Shete in round 7), Sharma was unable to bring home the full point. Countering this innocuous opening with the Alapin Gambit, Chithambaram was able to trade queens early in the game and although the Haryanvi GM came up with enterprising ways of pressing for an advantage, the tournament’s top seed never really let his position go out of hand. Sharma did have an outside passed pawn in a rook & pawns endgame but the weaknesses in his pawn structure left him no chance of winning the game.

[Event "55 National challengers"]
[Site "ChessKast.com"]
[Date "2017.08.21"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Himanshu Sharma"]
[Black "Aravindh Chithambaram Vr."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C68"]
[PlyCount "112"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:03:04"]
[BlackClock "0:13:33"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Bg4 6. h3 h5 7. d3 Qf6 8. Be3
Bxf3 9. Qxf3 Qxf3 10. gxf3 Bd6 11. Nd2 Ne7 12. Rfb1 Ng6 13. b4 f6 14. Kf1 Nf8
15. Nc4 Ne6 16. a4 Kd7 17. c3 Rhb8 18. Na5 Be7 19. Ke2 b6 20. Nb3 Rd8 21. Ra2
Kc8 22. d4 exd4 23. Nxd4 Nxd4+ 24. cxd4 Kb7 25. Rc2 Rd7 26. Rbc1 Bxb4 27. Rxc6
Re8 28. d5 Bd6 29. Rb1 Bh2 30. Kf1 Be5 31. f4 Bd6 32. Bxb6 Rxe4 33. Bc5+ Kc8
34. Rxa6 Rd8 35. Ra8+ Kd7 36. Rxd8+ Kxd8 37. Bxd6 cxd6 38. a5 Rxf4 39. a6 Ra4
40. Rb8+ Kc7 41. Rb7+ Kc8 42. Rxg7 Rxa6 43. Rh7 Kd8 44. Rxh5 Ke8 45. Ke2 Kf7
46. Kd3 Ra3+ 47. Kc4 Rf3 48. Kb5 Rc3 49. Kb6 Rc5 50. Rf5 Kg6 51. Rf3 Kg5 52.
h4+ Kxh4 53. Rxf6 Rxd5 54. Kc6 Kg5 55. Kxd5 Kxf6 56. Kxd6 Kf5 1/2-1/2

With this game drawn, players trailing on the third spot got a chance to step up the leaderboard. Making the most of this opportunity, GM Deepan Chakkravarthy of Railways and GM Debashis Das of Odisha moved up to the joint second spot in the company of Lalith and Himanshu.

  "The Battle of the Dases" between Arghyadip and Debashis Das was won by the latter on Board 3 

With the white pieces in hand, GM Debashis Das went for a Maroczy Bind like structure to counter his surnamesake GM Argyadip Das's Sicilian Paulsen. The position looked completely innocuous in the middlegame when an imprecision by Arghyadip on move 30 allowed Debashis an outside passer. Capitalising on this, the Grandmaster from Odisha exchanged pieces and started rolling his pawn down the board and put his opponent in a hopeless position. By the 45th move, not only was Debashis about to queen his pawn but had also trapped Arghyadip's rook.    

[Event "55 National challengers"]
[Site "ChessKast.com"]
[Date "2017.08.21"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Debashis Das"]
[Black "Das Arghyadip"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B44"]
[PlyCount "89"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:38:25"]
[BlackClock "1:45:15"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nb5 d6 6. c4 Nf6 7. N1c3 a6 8. Na3
Be7 9. Be2 b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. Be3 O-O 12. Qd2 Ne5 13. f3 Qc7 14. Rac1 Rac8 15.
Rfd1 Ned7 16. Bf1 Qb8 17. Kh1 Rfe8 18. Nc2 h5 19. Bf2 Ne5 20. b3 Ba8 21. Nb4
Qb7 22. Nd3 Qb8 23. Nxe5 dxe5 24. Na4 Rcd8 25. Qe1 Rxd1 26. Rxd1 b5 27. Nb6 Bc6
28. cxb5 Bxb5 29. Bxb5 axb5 30. a4 bxa4 31. bxa4 Rd8 32. Rb1 Qc7 33. a5 Bc5 34.
Qc1 Bxb6 35. Bxb6 Qxc1+ 36. Rxc1 Ra8 37. Rd1 Kh7 38. Rd8 Ra6 39. Kg1 g5 40. Kf2
g4 41. Ke3 h4 42. fxg4 Nxg4+ 43. Kd3 Nxh2 44. Kc4 Ng4 45. Kb5 1-0

GM Deepan Chakkravarthy also made it to the joint second spot with his win against Satyapragyan on board 4

GM RR Laxman also made it into the top boards with his win against Sameer Kathmale. He will be playing on the third board against Lalith Babu in Round 12

Eight players including top two seeds Aravindh Chithamabram and S L Narayanan are at the joint sixth place with 8 points. In the penultimate round tomorrow, Dhopade takes on Das while Deepan and Lalith face Himanshu and RR Laxman, respectively.

Results of Round 11

Bo.

No.

 

Name

Rtg

Pts.

Result

Pts.

 

Name

Rtg

No.

1

3

GM

Lalith Babu M R

2529

8

½ - ½

9

GM

Swapnil S. Dhopade

2516

5

2

6

GM

Himanshu Sharma

2514

8

½ - ½

GM

Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.

2579

1

3

8

GM

Debashis Das

2493

1 - 0

IM

Das Arghyadip

2419

15

4

10

GM

Deepan Chakkravarthy J.

2466

1 - 0

IM

Satyapragyan Swayangsu

2410

16

5

14

IM

Nitin S.

2421

½ - ½

IM

Ravi Teja S.

2383

19

6

24

FM

Erigaisi Arjun

2342

7

0 - 1

7

GM

Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan

2564

2

7

7

GM

Kunte Abhijit

2505

7

½ - ½

7

GM

Roy Chowdhury Saptarshi

2317

29

8

26

IM

Padmini Rout

2327

7

½ - ½

7

IM

Shyaamnikhil P

2447

13

9

35

IM

Kathmale Sameer

2275

7

0 - 1

7

GM

Laxman R.R.

2397

17

10

20

GM

Sriram Jha

2375

7

½ - ½

7

 

Akash Pc Iyer

2304

30

Rank after Round 11

Rk.

SNo

 

Name

sex

FED

Rtg

Club/City

Pts.

 TB1 

 TB2 

 TB3 

 TB4 

 TB5 

1

5

GM

Swapnil S. Dhopade

 

IND

2516

RSPB

9,5

0,0

75,0

80,5

68,25

8,0

2

6

GM

Himanshu Sharma

 

IND

2514

RSPB

8,5

0,0

77,0

83,0

61,75

7,0

3

3

GM

Lalith Babu M R

 

IND

2529

PSPB

8,5

0,0

74,0

79,0

60,00

6,0

4

8

GM

Debashis Das

 

IND

2493

ODI

8,5

0,0

73,0

78,5

59,75

7,0

5

10

GM

Deepan Chakkravarthy J.

 

IND

2466

RSPB

8,5

0,0

71,0

76,0

57,25

8,0

6

1

GM

Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.

 

IND

2579

TN

8,0

0,0

73,5

78,5

54,00

6,0

7

2

GM

Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan

 

IND

2564

KER

8,0

0,0

71,5

77,0

53,00

6,0

8

34

 

Sammed Jaykumar Shete

 

IND

2277

MAH

8,0

0,0

71,0

75,5

51,75

7,0

9

19

IM

Ravi Teja S.

 

IND

2383

RSPB

8,0

0,0

70,5

75,0

53,00

5,0

10

14

IM

Nitin S.

 

IND

2421

RSPB

8,0

0,0

69,5

75,5

52,00

6,0

Round 12 Pairing

Bo.

No.

 

Name

Rtg

Pts.

Result

Pts.

 

Name

Rtg

No.

1

5

GM

Swapnil S. Dhopade

2516

 

GM

Debashis Das

2493

8

2

10

GM

Deepan Chakkravarthy J.

2466

 

GM

Himanshu Sharma

2514

6

3

17

GM

Laxman R.R.

2397

8

 

GM

Lalith Babu M R

2529

3

4

1

GM

Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.

2579

8

 

8

IM

Nitin S.

2421

14

5

19

IM

Ravi Teja S.

2383

8

 

8

GM

Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan

2564

2

6

15

IM

Das Arghyadip

2419

 

8

 

Sammed Jaykumar Shete

2277

34

7

33

IM

Chakravarthi Reddy M

2277

 

GM

Kunte Abhijit

2505

7

8

29

GM

Roy Chowdhury Saptarshi

2317

 

IM

Swayams Mishra

2455

12

9

13

IM

Shyaamnikhil P

2447

 

 

Nayak Rajesh

2211

44

10

16

IM

Satyapragyan Swayangsu

2410

 

 

Dhananjay S

2206

46

 

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

National Challengers round 10: Watch out for Lalith Babu!


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