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National Premier 2017 Round 11: Aravindh keeps the race alive!

by Sagar Shah - 09/11/2017

Aravindh Chithambaram is not going to give up the race for becoming the national champion so easily! The lad was in grave trouble against P. Shyam Nikhil, but managed to find some key defensive ideas to win his game and join Lalith Babu at the top of the table. The duo are now on 7.5/11 and have a full one point lead over the field. Lalith has a tiebreak edge because he has beaten Aravindh in their personal encounter, but on the other hand Aravindh has relatively easier opposition in the last two rounds than Lalith. It's going to be a fantastic battle to the finish. Round 11 report from Patna.

Lalith Babu and Aravindh Chithambaram lead with 7.5/11

Results of round 11

P. Shyam Nikhil vs Aravindh Chithambaram

Shyam Nikhil moved his knight to g4. Aravindh thought for a while and chopped of the knight on h4. He was expecting his opponent to recapture with gxh4 when he was stunned by Shyam's response...

f6! was a strong move. The threat now is Qh6 and it would be a forced mate on the king. "I was really shocked to see this move", says Aravindh. "I felt really nervous, but showed that I was confident. I thank God that there was the move Kh8 followed by Rg8 with no white rook coming up to deliver the mate after a typical Qxh7+ sacrifice!" Aravindh's position was quite bad at that point as Shyam took back the piece and had control on the entire board.


However, the 18-year-old showed some great defensive skills. Shyam tried hard to break Aravindh's position, but it was not to be. Finally under grave time pressure he blundered, and Chithambaram took home the full point. With this he joined Lalith Babu in the lead.

The tea was nice, but Aravindh's opening play was not! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

After the game I managed to get Aravindh on record on discuss his entire game. It's always a pleasure to see the thought process of such a big talent in such depth:

Aravindh analyzing his game against Shyam Nikhil

S.L. Narayanan vs Swapnil Dhopade

Mikhail Tal would have been proud of S.L. Narayanan. He sacrificed a bishop on e6 and it seemed as if he didn't have sufficient compensation. But he was able to prove it otherwise by making one strong move after another. Swapnil was on his toes and if it was for some lesser player, he would have surely got mated. The game finally ended in a draw, but it was one filled with great excitement and unusual motifs.

After the game Swapnil and Narayanan came to the studio and shared their thoughts about the game. When two players are involved in such an intense fight, it is nice to hear their thoughts about the game:

Swapnil and S.L. Narayanan speak about their game

Abhijit Kunte ensured that Himanshu got no chance to recover as he handed him his seventh defeat at this event! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Himanshu didn't play well from the white side of the Sicilian and Kunte got in all the crucial breaks and ideas in the game. It was a game that every Sicilian lover must look into.

Abhijit Kunte talks about his first win of the event

Debashis Das managed to beat Laxman after the latter overpressed in a round about equal position | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Lalith against Deepan was an entertaining encounter where Deepan got a tangible edge out of the opening but was unable to do much with it. Towards the end he had to play accurate to hold the draw | Photo: Amruta Mokal
This is how games are supposed to be - hard fought over the board and fun after it's over

With this draw Lalith and Aravindh have now 7.5/11. Lalith has an edge in terms of tiebreak. If they both end on the same score then Lalith would be the champion as he had beaten Aravindh in their direct encounter. However, Aravindh has much easier opponents in last two rounds than Lalith. While Lalith is up against Swapnil Dhopade and S.L.Narayanan, Aravindh will face an out of sorts Himanshu and Debashis Das in the last two rounds. It's really going to be a very interesting fight to the finish.

Unique pictures by Amruta Mokal:

Very rarely do you see players wishing each other after the games have begun. Deepan shaking hands with Laxman | Photo: Amruta Mokal

It's not easy when you have your opponent as well as his poster staring at you! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Who is he? Any guesses? | Photo: Amruta Mokal

For Aravindh this tournament is quite easy! He even takes power naps in between his games! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

S. Nitin celebrated his 25th birthday as the organizers arranged for a cake! | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Enjoying birthday celebrations

Dharmendra Kumar is one of those rare people in Indian chess who has made a living out of being an arbiter. We speak to him about his life as an arbiter and his advice to budding young talents!

Replay all the games of round 11

Lalith and Aravindh are now in joint lead

Lalith against S.L. Narayanan and Aravindh vs Himanshu are the games to look forward to

Follow the games live from 10 a.m. onwards

Previous reports:

India's strongest tournament National Premier 2017 is here!

R1: Deepan carries his Challengers form to the Premier

R2: How to beat Ruy Lopez Exchange

R3: Capablanca's theorem helps Aravindh

R4: King is an active piece!

R5: Shete scores a stunning win

R6: Aravindh Chithambaram is the sole leader

R7: Unrest after the rest day

R8: Winning this tournament is not Aravindh's aim

R9: Lalith Babu throws the tournament wide open

R10: Can Lalith win his maiden National Premier title

Hindi coverage by Niklesh Jain:

नेशनल प्रीमियर-R1- दीपन के प्यादों में उलझे हिमांशु

नेशनल प्रीमियर R-2- जब राजा निकला घूमने !

अरविंद - अर्घ्यदीप की पहली जीत

नेशनल प्रीमियर R-4 - अब आया खेल का मजा !

नेशनल प्रीमियर-R-5 : उलटफेर अभिजीत कुंटे हारे

नेशनल प्रीमियर-R-6 -अरविंद निकले सबसे आगे !

नेशनल प्रीमियर-R-7-विश्राम के बाद :जमकर हुए प्रहार

नेशनल प्रीमियर-R-8 -अरविंद के कदम खिताब की ओर

नेशनल प्रीमियर-R-9-ललित के कमाल से अरविंद बेहाल

नेशनल प्रीमियर R10 -ललित का विजयरथ क्या दीपन रोकेंगे !

नेशनल प्रीमियर R11 :रोमांचक हुई खिताब की दौड़