Calcutta: GM M.R. Venkatesh continued to lead the fray with seven points after the 9th round of the Tata National Premier Chess Championship at the Khudiram Anushiram Kendra, on Wednesday.
The 13-round meet is being organised by Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy and All Sport Management.
Venkatesh is followed by GM Deep Sengupta, IM Swapnil Dhopade, GM G.N. Gopal and Anurag Mhamal on 6 points each. National U-25 champion Swapnil Dhopade of Railways confirmed his maiden GM norm with a draw with GM Abhijit Kunte in 18 moves.
Bitan Banerjee of Bengal completed his 3rd and final IM norm with a draw against GM MR Latith Babu in a hard-fought double rook ending. Bitan now needs to raise his rating to Elo 2400 to seal his title.
On the second board, GM G.N. Gopal drew against GM S. Arun Prasad in 33 moves in a Cambridge Springs defence.
Diptayan Ghosh held GM Dibyendu Barua to a draw in 44 moves in a Catalan Opening.