Chess: Lalith Babu moves ahead

Harpal Singh Bedi

Lalith Babu

New Delhi: Former Commonwealth Champion M R Lalith Babu nosed ahead of the field defeating young International Master Shahil Dey in the fifth round of the 19th Delhi International open chess tournament here on Friday

With his fifth victory in as many games, Lalith who is coming fresh from winning as many as four international events in different countries, maintained a clean slate at the halfway stage of this 25 Lakh prize money tournament.

Arjun Erigaisi’s winning run was halted by fellow P Iniyan who played out a draw with pieces. Arjun now shares the second spot with Iniyan and seven others with 4.5 points apiece.  With five rounds still to come, as many as 30 players are on the toes of these nine with four points each in their kitty.

Lalith capitalized on a massive oversight by Shahil Dey. Starting out with the Larsen opening, Shahil Dey got an even middle game as Lalith Babu meticulously developed his forces. On the 24th move disaster struck Dey as he thought he was playing the winning move through a Knight sacrifice but overlooked a deft reply that turned the tables immediately. Lalith who has been in exemplary form did not give a second chance and wrapped the issue in 39 moves.

Iniyan employed a topical variation to counter Arjun’s Sicilian Sveshnikov. The middle game was interestingly poised when Iniyan parted with his queen for two rooks but his earlier sacrifice had meant that Arjun also had an extra pawn. 

However with a handful of extra pawns Iniyan made another sacrifice to create a brilliant fortress where Arjun’s Queen was helpless against a lone rook. The game was drawn after 41 moves.

Important Results Round 5 (Indians otherwise stated) :- GM Iniyan P (4.5) drew with GM Arjun Erigaisi (4.5); IM Shahil Dey (4) lost to GM Lalith Babu M R (5); GM Visakh N R (4.5) drew with GM Mirzoev Azer of Azerbaijan (4.5); FM Seyed Kiran Poormosavi of Iran (4) lost to GM Arjun Kalyan (4.5); GM Pavel Ponkratov of Russia (4.5) beat IM Neelash Saha (3.5); GM Neuris Delgado Ramirez of Paraguay (4.5) beat IM Harshvardhan GB (3.5); Gholami Orimi Mahadi of Iran (4) drew with GM Sethuraman S P (4); GM Mitrabha Guha (4) drew with IM Srihari L R (4); GM Harsha Bharathakoti (4.5) beat IM Anuj Shrivatri (3.5); 

GM Karthik Venkataraman (4.5) beat Yashita Rout (3.5); IM Shyaamnikhil P (4) drew with IM Sayantan Das (4); IM Krishna CRG (4) beat FM Liyanage Ranindu Dilshan of Sri Lanka (3.5); GM Gukesh D (4) beat CM Ojasva Singh (3); Manigandan SS (3) lost to Deepan Chakkravarthy J (4); Santu Mondal (3) lost to GM Masoud Mosadeghpour of Iran (4); IM Romesh Weerawardane (3) lost to GM Adham Fawzy of Egypt (4); Shaik Sumer Arsh (3) lost to IM Tahbaz Arash of Iran (4); IM Ortik Nigmatov of Uzbekistan (4) beat Ilamparathi AR (3); Sahib Singh (3) lost to Vignesh N R (4); Ritvik Krishnan (3) lost to IM Abdisalimov Abdimalik (4); Ambesh Pratap Singh (3.5) drew with Himal Gusain (3.5); Sidhant Mohapatra (3.5) drew with Sathvik Adiga (3.5).

HSB

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