Murali Karthikeyan in sole lead

Grandmaster and national champion Murali Karthikeyan continued with his winning ways and downed highest rated Indian in the fray – M R Lalith Babu to jump in to sole lead in the 15th Parsvnath Delhi International Chess Tournament now underway here.

Scoring his fifth victory in as many games, Karthikeyan edged ahead of the field and will take on Grandmaster Andrei Deviatkin of Russia in the important sixth round game. Lalith Babu went for unwarranted complications out of a symmetrical structure in the opening and Karthikeyan took his chances with black pieces to enter wild complexities. The game was already in Karthikeyan’s favour in the early middle game and the Chennai-based ensured nothing went wrong for him. Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy of Vietnam drew with top seed Amonatov Farrukh of Tajikistan in what turned out to be a little less absorbing contest. Both these players were joined at the second spot by seven other players having 4.5 points apiece.

Local hopeful Sahaj Grover made sure he remained in reckoning and reached 4.5 points after a fine victory over Akash Thakur while N R Visakh defeated Grandmaster Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury to also reach 4.5 points. The day yet again belonged to Niranjan Navalgund who continued with his smashing form and also reached 4.5. On the receiving end was International Master P Shyaamnikhil. The way he is playing, Navalgund looks within striking distance of what might be his maiden Grandmaster norm. The aspiring novelist is still an untitled player.

The B Group of the big festival ended today with Sairaj Chittal of Maharashtra bagging the first prize of Rs. 200000/- (Rupees Two Lakhs). Udit Kamdar of Gujrat finished second and won 1.5 lakhs while Sradhanjali Jena of Odisha was declared third that was worth one lakh rupees.

The Delhi open is country’s biggest ever prize money event that is being organised in three categories. The ‘C’ category will begin on Friday and will have over 1000 players competing in it. The International open carries a total prize money of Rs. 1800000/- (Rupees Eighteen Lakhs).

Important results round 5: Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy (Vie, 4.5) drew with Amonatov Farrukh (Tjk, 4.5); M R Lalith Babu (3.5) lost to Murali Karthikeyan (5); S L Narayanan (4) drew with S Nitin (4); Vitaly Sivuk (Ukr, 4) drew with S Ravi Teja (4); Andrei Deviatkin (Rus, 4.5) beat Sayantan Das (3.5); Czebe Attila (Hun, 4.5) beat Rahul Sangma (3.5); P Iniyan (3.5) lost to Swayams Mishra (4.5); Nouri Hamed (Phi, 3.5) lost to Valeriy Neverov (Ukr, 4.5); Sahaj Grover (4.5) beat Akash Thakur (3.5); Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury (3.5) lost to N R Visakh (4.5); Niranjan Navalgund (4.5) beat P Shyaamnikhil (3.5); Atanu Lahiri (3) lost to Diptayan Ghosh (4); Ankit Gajwa (4) beat Vitaliy Bernadskiy (Ukr, 3); Vadim Malakhatko (Bel, 3.5) drew with Arjun Kalyan (3.5); Jacek Stopa (Pol, 3.5) drew with R A Harikrishnan (3.5); K Rathnakaran (3) lost to PC Akash Iyer (4).

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