National Premier 2017 Round 6: Aravindh Chithambaram is the sole leader
We are nearing the halfway stage of the Khadi India National Premier 2017 and we finally have a sole leader - Aravindh Chithambaram. Just like round five he played a fine rook endgame, this time to down the debutant Sammed Shete. But the game which took the limelight today was definitely Karthikeyan Murali's win over Lalith Babu. The two time national champion showed tremendous mastery over the dynamics of the position as he sacrificed a piece and then finished off the game with surgeon like precision. A detailed report from Patna with video impressions, analysis and high quality pictures.
Karthikeyan Murali plays à la Bronstein
As a chess player I have been fortunate to travel across the country, visit different cities and meet different kinds of people. However, never had I visited the city of Patna or the state of Bihar. Hence, when we (Amruta and I) were invited by the organizers to cover the event from round six onwards, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Bihar has no real chess culture. There are instances of talents sprouting once in a while, but as compared to states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, and others they still lag behind by a considerable margin. They have one International Master in the form of Rahul Sangma, who also spent a lot of his time in Delhi. Considering the situation in the state, I wasn't expecting a grand show by the organizers. But I was pleasantly surprised.
One of things that I noticed as I entered the playing hall was the pictures of the players set up on walls. "We want this to be a celebration of the players," says Arvind Kumar Sinha, the secretary of All Bihar Chess Association (ABCA). Considering that the national premier in 2016 was a complete debacle, this was a welcome change for all the participants. All the players have rated the playing hall and organization very highly at this event.
The rounds of the tournament are being held in morning and start at 10 a.m. We reached the tournament hall early and setup our equipment for reporting. The players started pouring in one by one. Here's a video that gives you the feel of the initial moments before and after the start of the round.
The way Karthikeyan sacrificed a piece was impressive, but the way he finished off the opponent with accurate calculations towards the end was even more.
Aravindh couldn't get much out of the opening against Sammed Shete. In fact in the middlegame we reached a situation where it was Sammed who was slightly better. But the boy from Kolhapur couldn't hold his nerve and Aravindh managed to convert the drawish looking endgame into a full point.
Ranking crosstable after Round 6
|1||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||2573||IND||*||½||1||½||½||1||1||4,5||0,0||13,25||3,0|
|3||GM||Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan||2568||IND||½||*||½||1||½||½||1||4,0||0,5||11,25||2,0|
|4||GM||Lalith Babu M R||2525||IND||0||*||½||1||½||1||½||3,5||0,0||9,25||2,0|
|10||Sammed Jaykumar Shete||2310||IND||0||½||0||½||1||*||½||2,5||0,0||7,25||1,0|
|12||GM||Swapnil S. Dhopade||2516||IND||0||½||0||½||1||*||½||2,5||0,0||6,50||1,0|
|13||GM||Deepan Chakkravarthy J.||2477||IND||0||0||0||½||½||*||1||2,0||1,0||4,50||1,0|
3rd of November is a rest day and the organizers have arranged an excursion to Bodh Gaya. The tournament will resume from the 4th of November and these are the games to look forward to: