Calcutta: Grandmaster M.R. Venkatesh continued to lead the fray with 6.5 points after the end of the 8 th round of the Tata National Premier Chess Championship at Khudiram Anushiram Kendra, on Tuesday.
Playing against P. Karikeyan on the top board drew he had little difficulty in putting it across International Master P. Kartikeyan in a Scotch defence.
Venkatesh is followed by GM Deep Sengupta, International Master Swapnil Dhopade, GM G.N. Gopal and GM Sahaj Grover- all on 5.5 points.
National U-25 champion Swapnil Dhopade of Railways drew against GM Deep Sengupta with the black pieces in a 38 moves in a Sicilian defence.
Deep drew by perpetual check when Swapnil threatened a mating against him. Swapnil now needs a draw in the next round to get his maiden GM norm.
GM G.N. Gopal made short work of IM S. Satyapragyan in a sharp tactical game which arose from the Sicilian defence.
Fide Master Anurag Mhamal of Goa held Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte to draw with the black pieces as his threat of winning a piece forced Kunte to draw by perpetual check.
GM Sahaj Grover showed his class by shattering G. Akash’s kingside with a bishop sacrifice on move 14 in a closed Sicilian.