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Barua, Thipsay & Sasikiran stunned

By Raghunandan Gokhale

MUMBAI, MAY 20. On a day of unprecedented upsets, three Grandmasters suffered bewildering defeats in the fourth Round of Reliance Industries Sponsored 37th National `A' chess championship, organised by the Maharashtra Chess Association, at Andheri Sports Complex today.

Grandmasters Dibyendu Barua (TISCO), Pravin Thipsay (Banks Sports Board) and K. Sasikiran (Petroleum Sports Control Board) were outwitted by 17 year old S. Kidambi (TN), IM G. B. Prakash (BSB) and GM Abhijit Kunte (PSCB) respectively.

Kidambi and Abhijit have now dethroned the overnight trio of leaders and now occupy the pride of place at the head of tables with 3 points each.

Kidambi comes off age

Former National junior champion Kidambi was the main destroyer of the Grandmasters' supremacy over the Championship. He outwitted legendary Barua in a manner which would make any player proud of his achievements. The Chennai teenager was well prepared to meet Barua in the latter's favourite Queen's Gambit Accepted. Both the players reached a level position after following well analysed theory.

The genius from Kolkata, at this moment decided to take chances against teenager Kidambi. He played 15) - f5, a move he will not think under normal circumstances. Kidambi followed the exact move order and came out of the complications with an iron grip over the central pawn. Barua was left with a passive position, undeveloped Bishop and a weak central pawn.

Kidambi exerted terrific pressure against the weak pawn by employing all of his forces. Barua had no alternative but to give up the pawn on 27th move.

According to the experts, Barua should have opted for an endgame at this stage; but he tried to complicate the matters looking for illusive win. Kidambi wrapped up the game in 43 moves.

Sasi's stunning loss

Second seed Sasi ,too played listlessly against fellow Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte from the White side of Kings' Indian Attack. ``Yes, it was an unusual plan of Queen side play,'' agreed IM Sharad Tilak. Instead of attacking the King's wing, Sasi tried an offensive on the other wing. He diverted all of his forces towards the weak 'b' pawn and in the process, neglected the safety of his own King.

Abhijit did not require any invitation for the attack. He opened the `f' file and threw his pieces on the hapless White monarch. Sasikiran's famed ability of rock solid defence could not get him out of trouble. He managed to bring his Queen for the defence but it was too late. Abhijit's pieces had already surrounded the White King and Sasi was forced to resign on 44th move. ``I took lost of risk and paid for it,'' admitted Sasikiran after the game. ``I should not have gone for the Queen side,'' he repented.

Prakash comes back

After losing two games out of three, former National junior champion G. B. Prakash (BSB) had to face Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay in the fourth round and that too from the disadvantage of Black pieces. It provided the Grandmaster norm holder from Chennai with a golden opportunity to display his mettle. Prakash passed this acid test with flying colours when he outplayed Thipsay in just 28 moves of Caro Kann Defence.

Thipsay has various weapons against the solid Caro Kann. He decided to launch Panov- Botwinnik Attack without playing 2)d4. It was he who got confused by this unorthodox order of moves.Thipsay committed an unpardonable error of keeping his own King in Center and paid dearly when Prakash played 16) - Qe7 forcing Thipsay to abandon a right to castle.

Thereafter Prakash played an attacking game and destroyed the White pawn structure. His final sacrifice of the Rook was the icing on the cake. Thipsay saw the writing on the wall and kept the arms down.

Meanwhile V. Sarvanan (2.5) maintained his steady march by outplaying tailender Atanu Lahiri (0.5) in 35 moves of French Defence. Sarvanan just ran through Atanu's defences to score an easy win. Sarvanan's PSCB teammate T. S. Ravi (2.5) soon joined him with an emphatic win over IM Ravi Hegde from the Black side of Reti Opening. Hegde overlooked a cunning trap set by Ravi and fell headlong into it. He lost pawns after pawns and surrendered in 43 moves.

lThe results (Fourth round):P. P. Harikrishna (AP) 1.5 drew with Sandipan Chanda (GNCA) 1.5, K. Sasikiran (PSCB) 2.5 lost to Abhijit Kunte (PSCB) 3, S. Kidambi (TN) 3 bt Dibyendu Barua (TISCO) 2.5, Sriram Jha (LIC) 2.5 drew with D. V. Prasad (PSCB) 1.5, V. Sarvanan (PSCB) 2.5 bt Atanu Lahiri (LIC) 0.5, Pravin Thipsay (BSB) 2.5 lost to G. B. Prakash (BSB) 1.5, Neelotpal Das (GNCA) 1.5 drew with Vishal Sareen (LIC) 2, Ravi Hegde (BSB) 1 lost to T. S. Ravi (PSCB) 2.5, Lanka Ravi (PSCB) 2 drew with K. Murugan (NLC) 1.5, S. S. Ganguly (GNCA) .5 bye.

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