| Koneru Humpy moves to the top
Nagpur: Grandmaster Koneru Humpy maintained her position as the joint leader after holding Sriram Jha to a draw in the 12th and penultimate round of the 41st national B chess championship here on Thursday.
Humpy took her tally to 9.5 points and assured herself a berth in the national A championship.
Sriram Jha and R. B. Ramesh joined Humpy on the top of the table in the field of 304 players, and the duo is also assured of selection for the national A meet irrespective of the last round result.
Earlier, in Round XI, Humpy beat Rahul Shetty to share the top spot, while Ramesh drew with M.R. Venkatesh and Jha beat V. Saravanan.
With still 10 berths to be won, the final round Friday is likely to witness some intense battles with several players striving hard to touch the magical figure of 9.5 points.
S. Satyapragyan, Saptarshi Roy, M. Srinivasa Rao and Vishal Sareen enhanced their qualifying prospects by scoring wins over their respective rivals. They are now joint fourth with nine points along with Suvrajit Saha and M. R. Venkatesh.
Though a draw in the last round should be sufficient for these players to secure qualification, it will be the progressive score which will have the final say.
Roktim Bandopadhyay, Vikramjit Singh, Prathamesh Mokal, Himanshu Sharma, Arghaydip Das, Vikramaditya Kamble, P. D. S. Girinath, G. B. Joshi and V. Hariharan are also in contention for a berth in the national A with 8.5 points each and go into the final round in a must-win situation to entertain any hopes of qualification.