Nagpur: GM and top seed Koneru Humpy roared back to form with a crushing victory over P. Konguvel in the 41st National B chess championship on Sunday.
With only 12 qualifying slots for the National A meet up for grabs with more than 300 in fray, it is going to be the survival of the fittest. Humpy now leads the pack with 5.5 points after six rounds. Keeping her company on top are R.B. Ramesh and M.R. Venkatesh.
Ramesh, who had to settle for a draw against T.S. Ravi in the previous round, showed his class and temperament by making short work of defending champion Suvrajit Saha (4.5). Venkatesh beat Prathamesh Mokal.
Fourteen players — second seed Sriram Jha, Deepan Chakravarthy, Ravi, S. Satyapragyan, D.V. Prasad, Rahul Shetty, B.S. Shivanandan, Rishipal Singh, Amit Pal Singh, Roktim Bandopadhyay, C.S. Gokhale, Himanshu Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Maras and Vikram Jeet Singh — are half-a-point behind the leaders.
Among Bengal players, Roktim beat Jayant Katdare, Saptarshi Roy (4.5) shared the point with Pratik Shriwas, while Atanu Lahiri (4.5) held Anand Awadhia.
On the top board, Humpy opted for the modern variation of Sicilian Defence. The players were on equal terms but in the middle game Humpy made a breakthrough by spoiling Konguvel’s pawn structure.
In return, Konguvel managed to get two queenside passers but in a complicated rook and double minor piece ending, made an incorrect pawn thrust under time pressure, which allowed Humpy to pocket the point. (PTI)