New Delhi, Dec 21 (UNI) Defending champion Vidit Santosh Gujarathi drew his 10th round game with Ankit R Rajpara of Gujarat to virtually assure himself of the title in the Parsavnath 21st National Under-13 Chess Championship here today.
In an uneventful game, both the players employed the safety firstapproach and signed peace treaty in just 15 moves.
Top seed Vidit now has nine points and is half a point clear of his nearest rival. He just needs a draw in the last round to defend his title.
In the final round, he will play against the second placed andstate mate Pranav Shetty, who at 8.5 points is trailing Vidit by just half a point.
Pranav, the second runners-up in this tournament's last edition, bounced back into the second spot by beating Girish A Koushik of Karnataka.
Pranav is being closely followed by a group of three players -- Ankit R Rajpara of Gujarat, P Lokesh and Narayanan Srinath (Tamil Nadu), all of whom have got eight points each.
Playing with black pieces, P Lokesh opted for Sicilian defence and overcame his much fancied opponent and second seeded Asian Under-12 bronze medalist Prasanna Rao of Mahrashtra.
On the other hand, former World Under-12 champion Naryanan Srinath regained his form and defeated Vishwanath Prasad of Andhra Pradesh.
It was another mixed day for the local Delhi lads as Prince Bajaj had to settle for another draw against Srinath Rao of Chattisgarh.
Vaibhav Suri, after having lost his overnight game, bounced back today to beat M Mukesh of Tamil Nadu while Vaibhav Khanna drew his game against Praveen Kumar of Andhra Pradesh. All three have now got 6.5 points out of a possible 10.
Earlier in the ninth round, Vidit Santosh Gujarathi defeated Lokesh while Ankit R Rajpara had to share a point with Prasanna Rao.
Girish Koushik and Pranav Shetty had also managed to win their respective matches against MG Gahan and Adith Jagadish.