Surya Sekhar Ganguly remains in lead, draws with Venkatesh

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Chennai, Feb 9 (UNI) Reigning champion Surya Shekhar Ganguly, the Kolkata GM, representing Oil India remained in the lead with 5.5 points at the end of the seventh round of the 45th Velammal National 'A' chess championship here today.

Ganguly's team mate MR Venkatesh played a novel 14th move Be6, deviating from the regular theory in a Sicilian defence game. After exchanging the Queens on the 20th move, it looked as if Ganguly had a slight advantage. But five moves later, they split the point and deep analysis by Ganguly revealed that the game would have ended in an equal rook and pawn ending, leading only to a draw.

In a Guicco Piano game opted by his rival Barua, Sudhakar Babu exchanged the Queens on the 21st move, leading to same colour Bishops and equal pawns ending. Barua, equipped with a better end game technique, mopped up two pawns to register a win.

Kunte combined his Queen and Rook beautifully towards the end and handed a defeat to Sathyapragyan in 38 moves.

In a Sicilian defence game, R B Ramesh, former British open champion was poised to get a draw against K Rathnakaran of Railways. Later, he made a few weak moves, allowing Rathnakaran to queen his c- pawn and get away with a win.

Playing the Ruy Lopez opening against the young international master B Adhiban of Tamil Nadu, the Kerela grandmaster G N Gopal, playing for BPCL, sacrificed his knight on the 18th move. Adhiban, well versed with the continuation of the line, accepted the sacrifice and answered correctly. Unable to penetrate Adhiban's defence, Gopal offered to share the point, which was promptly accepted by Adhiban.

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