Calcutta: The maddening afternoon traffic forced Grandmaster MR Venkatesh and P Karthikeyan to give walk-overs to their respective rivals, here, on Friday.
Both Venkatesh, the overnight leader of the Tata National Premier Chess Championship, and Karthikeyan reached the venue, Khudiram Anushilan Kendra, barely a kilometre from the MLA Hostel at Kyd Street where they are currently staying, three minutes late.
While Venkatesh conceded his 11th–round match G Akash, Karthikeyan gave walk-over to Murali Kartikeyan.
Akash, who was paired against Venkatesh, took his tally to 7.5 after he ‘won’ the game.
Venkatesh, Akash, Vidit Gujrathi and Deep Sengupta lead the pack with 7.5 points each. It remains to be seen how Venkatesh recovers from the setback in the last two rounds.
Vidit, playing with White, got the better of G.N. Gopal in a rook ending in 57 moves. Deep Sengupta tried hard to win in a rook versus bishop ending against Neelotpal Das, but the latter defended well and the game was drawn in over 134 moves.
GM Deepan Chakraborty and GM Abhijit Kunte drew in 18 moves by repetition of moves in a Sicilian Defence. Anurag Mhamal of Goa lost IM Swayams Mishra of Odisha in an English Opening.
IM Swapnil Dhopade drew a long game in 85 moves against top seed, GM B Adhiban in a King’s Indian Defence.