Kozhikode: Two players from Bengal, Commonwealth champion GM Dibyendu Barua representing the state and GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly playing for Petroleum Sports Promotion Board recorded comfortable victories to emerge joint leaders after three rounds of the 41st National A Chess Championship here on Friday.
Barua outwitted GM P. Harikrishna while IM Sriram Jha had no answer to Surya’s onslaught in a day that saw a spate of short draws.
Barua and Surya now have 2.5 points and are followed closely by a pack of seven — GM Pravin Thipsay, Sandipan Chanda, GM Koneru Humpy, double GM-norm holder Tejas Bakre, Vishal Sareen, Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury and S. Vikramjit Singh — with two points each.
Harikrishna, who had lost to Saptarshi in the earlier round, is languishing at the bottom of the table with just half a point.
Barua, who had also beaten Harikrishna en route to his title triumph at the Tata International Open in October, appeared well armed in the Sicilian Sveshnikov that prompted his opponent to deviate from well analysed systems in the Sicilian Sveshnikov.
But with Harikrishna coming back by the 26th move, Barua hung on determinedly looking for a breakthrough and was rewarded ten moves later as his opponent erred to get his king caught in a mating net.
Barua spotted the sequence of moves that forced Harikrishna to part with a piece and the rest was easy. The game lasted 60 moves.
Of the three decisive games of these rounds, Surya played the best outclassing Jha who played the black side of a Sicilian Defence.
For Jha the opening itself proved a bad choice as Surya seized some advantage through his better placed pieces.